Tag Archives: press

The Elephant Who Cried “Scandal!”

21 May
That's supposed to be MY White House!

That’s supposed to be MY White House!

Poor President Obama. If you looked at the headlines or the Congressional calendar last week, it was his worst week ever, as his administration was bogged down in scandal after scandal. Or was it?

First, there was the ongoing attempt to politicize the attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi. (Dick Cheney Wannabe) Rep. Darrell Issa (R – Nastyville) held more pointless hearings to get exactly the same information. There was some understandable confusion right after the attacks. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice repeated some partially incorrect CIA talking points to the media. The White House and State Department have been very forthcoming with all the information Congress demands. There are some real security lessons to learn, but the GOP would rather try to smear the very popular Hillary Clinton and attack the President. ABC’s Jon Karl screamed scandal as he revealed “new” White House emails. The only problem? They were old, incomplete emails — provided to Karl by Republicans.

Next, the mess at the IRS. A branch office (in Cincinnati) used the term “Tea Party” to analyze tax exempt applications for “social welfare” agencies. “Political targeting!” cried the GOP. Well, maybe. But since the dreadful Citizens United decision, the number of organizations trying to get such status has gone from under 700 to over 2400 a year. Republicans have slashed the IRS budget and refused to craft legislation that would give the agency guidelines for implementing Citizens United. One office made a poor decision, but NO APPLICANT WAS REFUSED THE STATUS — except for one liberal organization. It must be a scandal, though! (Curiously, although the record clearly shows that the White House learned about the problem about a month ago, long after the practice was stopped and an internal investigation launched, at least one person DID know about it way back in July — Rep. Darrell Issa.)

Finally, the Justice Department demanded hundreds of phone records from the AP. This is actually disappointing, fitting into the pattern of domestic spying and privacy infringements that have been part of the Holder DoJ for years. From drones to wiretaps, it’s a blemish on Obama’s potential legacy. Oh, but so far his administration, however foolishly, IS FOLLOWING THE LAW. A law shoved down Congress by a Republican president (Remember good old W? ¬†If you want someone to blame for this law, then blame W, trampling rights as he lied his way into Iraq.). Oh, and the GOP actually likes spying on the press, so never mind, no real pressure here.

Bad news for the GOP: all their screaming and hearings aren’t getting much traction. Sure, the Sunday talk shows (aka the McCain hour–always a pleasure trip into insanity) and the newspaper headlines are parroting their points in the name of “objectivity.” The real impact though? Not so much.

A new Gallup shows the President’s favorables at 53-45, up 11 points from March. GOP ratings for the same period? Down 13, to the lowest since 1992. Maybe Republicans in Congress should focus on creating jobs and actually passing some bills for a change. Clearly, their obstructionist ways along with their “Get off my lawn” ranting is not working.

Romney, Man of Mittstery!

1 Nov

Presto! Changeo! Pay no attention to the candidate in front of the curtain…

With less than a week to go before Election Day, you would think that the challenger would be doing everything he could to clarify and push his positions. Not the mysterious Mr. Romney! In the past month he has given precisely one interview (a five-minute puff piece with Newsmax); he has answered exactly ZERO questions from the press pool that travels with him. All his statements are carefully prepared and scripted. The situation became so absurd during this week’s FEMA questions that a frustrated reporter exclaimed:

Governor, you’ve been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?

Of course, in that case silence probably made more sense than admitting that he would gut the Agency that was actually helping millions of people…

Another reasonable explanation is that he simply isn’t able to remember what he’s supposed to say anymore without a script. Romney (destroyer of civil rights and social justice) has changed his positions on so many things so many times during his campaign that keeping track of what he’s pandering this week must be a real struggle. And imagine if he told folks in Ohio the lies he was saving for Florida. How embarrassing would that be? Bless his little heart.

Romney’s reticence coupled with his debate duplicity has journalists (finally) calling him out on a regular basis. His lies about Chrysler’s plans to offshore Jeep production brought howls of derision from reporters and flat, substantiated denials from the company. Even on script he’s still getting into trouble.

Sadly, even his spokespeople can’t be counted on. When former Sen. Norm Coleman (R – MN) stumped for Romney at the Republican Jewish Coalition, he tried to reassure them that a Romney administration wouldn’t be ruled by GOP right-wing fundamentalists. His example? Romney’s stand on abortion, you know, the one that he only expresses when another Republican says something insane about rape. Poor ol’ Norm, however, got caught in the standard speaking for Romney trap and had to walk back his vague comments, reminding reporters that he was “speaking for Norm Coleman” while he campaigned…(wait for it)…for Mitt Romney.

The only way we will ever know what a President Romney would actually do is if by some misfortune we get stuck with one. I think I can live with the mystery.

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