Why Rightbloggers Should Drop Benghazi, IRS, and AP, Focus on Umbrellagate and Bulworth
We think this shows a disappointing lack of imagination. In the far-flung meth labs of the right, fresher outrages are cooking that Americans can better understand: Outrages that involve the humiliation of American servicemen by a racial minority, and the President's admission of what rightbloggers have been saying all along: That he's a Socialist. Hunt where the ducks are, fellas!
The Benghazi tsimmis that had the brethren dreaming of impeachment last week has hit a rough patch as the allegedly damning "talking points" they'd been waving turned out, after the White House released emails relating to their creation, not to be all that, and what had been portrayed in the press as the content of the emails turned out to be spin dished to a reporter.
Rightbloggers struggled valiantly to keep hope alive. "White House's Benghazi email dump shows critical two-day gap, CIA objection," headlined The Daily Caller -- surely that must be worth something. "Where Was President During Benghazi Attack?" demanded The Ulsterman Report. PJ Media's Roger L. Simon thought answers might lie in the director's cut of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula's allegedly incendiary film Innocence of Muslims, though anyone who's seen the trailer would probably prefer to remain indefinitely in ignorance.
Some even got into the old "Obama said act of terror which is not the same thing as terrorist act" routine that was pissed out by the second 2012 Presidential debate when the moderator straightened Mitt Romney out (or, as Fire Andrea Mitchell put it, "That fat cow on CNN Candy Crowley who lied in front of millions of people"). Others promoted the Benghazi cluckings of noted conservative moral authorities such as Dick Cheney ("Thanks goodness this man is still with us" cried Tammy Bruce).
Democrats got dismissive, and rightbloggers became enraged. When Obama referred to the controversy as a "sideshow," Erika Johnsen of Hot Air malkinned, "that's only the case because of Democrats' clownish antics attempting to downplay and dismiss the issue." "Obama's protests don't square with millions of Americans," ass-pulled Bob Beauprez of Townhall.
National Review's Andrew C. McCarthy, who had previously claimed that the State Department was full of Islamic terror agents, now suggested that the "administration's lies" on Benghazi were all that had kept Mitt Romney from taking his rightful place as President: "The video fraud enabled the administration and Obama's reelection campaign to stay on offense - aggressively pummeling the strawman of 'Islamophobia' - rather than in the defensive crouch required to explain, or try to explain, the Obama administration's performance in Egypt, Libya, and the broader Middle East," he wrote. "It worked: The Romney campaign was cowed and accountability for the Benghazi massacre would have to wait many months." Think what we all missed!
And so it went. Conservative and alt-conservative outlets groused about "the most transparent administration in history"; Newsbusters' Kyle Drennen got mad that Matt Lauer asked Donald Rumsfeld what Drennen apparently thought was an insolent question about Benghazi. All told, it's beginning to look like they aren't going to get the Benghazi bon-bons they've been praying for.
As it happened, a couple of other scandalettes stirred last week, and some of the brethren yet have high hopes for them.
First it was revealed that the Justice Department had secretly (but apparently legally, alas) subpoenaed and collected communications from the news organization The Associated Press in pursuit of an Al Qaeda case -- which excited rightbloggers enough that they actually pretended to care about the rights of the media, at least for a few seconds.
For instance, the Wall Street Journal gravely intoned things like "if the AP story did contribute to compromising a source inside al Qaeda, news of a foiled plot hardly seems worth the price," and "such blanket subpoenas and secrecy can have an intimidating effect on the press," etc., before basically admitting that it had nothing except its general hatred of Obama ("Whatever the motive, this overreach is typical of the Obama Administration's attitude toward the law in many areas--non-recess recess appointments... EPA regulation..."), and that whatever Washington did about this state of affairs, it certainly shouldn't revive any press shield laws, because that might "undermine the balance of rights (such as a free press vs. fair trial) that are inherent in the Constitution," blah blah.
The more popular response from rightbloggers was to mock the MSM for not acknowledging as rightbloggers always had that Obama is Hitler. "OBAMA'S MEDIA CAN'T IGNORE BRAND-NEW SCANDAL," cried Chelsea Schilling of WorldNetDaily. "Maybe [reporters] should stop rolling their eyes when the likes of Texas senator Ted Cruz talk of the Constitution," said Rich Lowry of National Review.
National security concerns that made such snoopings cool for rightbloggers in the Bush era suddenly became inoperative, too. "The notorious national-security leaks that were featured on page one of the [New York] Times during the Bush administration seem to me to have done vastly greater harm than the leaks involved in the AP story," scoffed Scott Johnson of Power Line. There was real terrorism in those days!
If at first you don't succeed...
Attorney General Eric Holder feigned ignorance and defended his office with War on Terror arghblargh; liberals called for that reporter shield law WSJ was so worried about, and out in the hinterlands there was no sign that ordinary Americans were any more concerned with freedom of the press than they were in the early days of the Patriot Act, for better or worse.
Then there was the revelation that, in checking out organizations claiming to be primarily social service institutions for tax purposes, the IRS paid especially close attention to those with "Tea Party" and "patriot" in the title. Though the Tea Party is widely known as a political organization, singling out the tricorner folks was, rightbloggers said, tyranny, and they blamed Obama ("The Obama Administration Used Alinsky Tactics & IRS To Ensure Tea Party Was Not a Factor in 2012" -- Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit), though his direct involvement with the IRS investigations remains unproven.
WorldNetDaily said the investigations had "KNOCKED TEA PARTY OFF ITS MISSION" during the late election season; WSJ's James Taranto even suggested that Obama had only won in 2012 because some people in revolutionary war costumes thought they might have to pay taxes and therefore withdrew from what was sure to be a successful battle to save America from the Kenyan Pretender.
As the achievements of Lance Armstrong and Mark McGuire "are forever tainted by their use of banned performance-enhancing drugs," said Taranto, so "the use of the Internal Revenue Service's coercive power to suppress dissent against Obama is the political equivalent of steroids. The history books should record Obama's re-election with an asterisk to indicate that it was achieved with the help of illicit means." Between Taranto's and Andrew C. McCarthy's displays of loyalty, Romney's sure to be deeply touched in whichever of the dozen or so government-in-exile statehouses he happens to occupy at present.
Things being what they are, Obama was forced to act like he too was outraged, and got a few IRS officials to quit. Readers with some acquaintance of rightblogger psychology will not be surprised to learn this did not appease them.
Some of the brethren found significance in the fact that Obama had once made a joke about auditing his enemies at a commencement in 2009; no, they didn't think it was ironic in the traditional sense -- they thought it was some sort of deliberate Machiavellian fuck-you on Obama's part, because they also believe, apparently, that Obama has actually been using the IRS against them all along. A video of Obama's joke was picked up by The Daily Bail ("HOLY SHITE FLASHBACK"), Weasel Zippers, and others. The Free Beacon used the joke the preface its "Six times the IRS has been accused of punishing President Obama's political opponents" listicle (example #3: "Austan Goolsbee, Then Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, Divulged on a Conference Call Confidential IRS Information on How Koch Industries Was Organized." Why patriots haven't started a new revolution by now, we can't -- oh, right, tax breaks).
When White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer said the IRS' actions were wrong whether or not they were illegal ("I can't speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant. The activity was outrageous and inexcusable..."), the brethren labored mightily to misunderstand him. E.g., The Lonely Conservative: "The new talking point is that the legality of the IRS targeting conservatives for extra scrutiny is 'irrelevant,' because, well they're outraged no matter what." "Obama Aide Pfeiffer On IRS Scandal: 'Law Is Irrelevant'" headlined Tammy Bruce ("Sorta like when the president does it, that means it's not illegal?... these people are insane"). "Looks like the Obama moron hacks have invented yet another word to defend their corrupt Chicago thug," yammered Fire Andrea Mitchell. "[Pfeiffer] defended the IRS while claiming the law is 'Irrelevant' to the IRS. Try telling that the people who are bullied by the IRS if they miss a tax payment." Etc.
Some of them really think they can go all the way with this one. "While this doesn't yet place the matter inside the West Wing," deep-breathed Steven Hayward of Power Line, "it assures another leg to the scandal at least." "I don't contend that President Obama was involved in the decision to target conservative groups for harassment by the IRS," said his colleague Paul Mirengoff. "...I do contend, however, that Obama has little appreciation for the democratic process, including the right to dissent from his agenda without suffering for it. In my view, he regards democracy and dissent as hindrances to the march of history he fancies himself leading. And I suspect that his assertion of outrage over the IRS scandal is feigned..."
In other words, they have shit and they want you to think it's shinola. The ones who are capable of multitasking are trying to keep all three scandalettes in play, hoping to maintain a general air of impropriety (e.g., "Amidst Three Scandals (IRS, Benghazi & AP) Barack Obama Goes Golfing, Again"), but the polls indicate that it hasn't gotten them anywhere yet.
Some rightbloggers have tumbled to this; in fast, Da Tech Guy actually suggested that liberals have been trying to trick rightbloggers into talking about impeachment now in order to mess up the real impeachment that can have if they only show a little patience. "The left understand that talk of impeachment now would be a disaster, not to the president, but to those building the case against him," he whispered. "...The White House and their allies will do their best to wave the red flag in the hope we charge, instead we should sit back and let this scandal and the investigation cook." And blog ceaselessly about ObamaHitler, of course.
(Gabor Zolna of The Western Center for Journalism agrees, by the way, that many fellow travelers are going the wrong way on impeachment, but for a different reason: "He needs to be charged as a citizen and not as a president; impeachment proceedings are only for presidents," explained Zolna. "He is not a president since he was never eligible to hold office.")
We sympathize with them, and offer, as partial recompense for the many gifts of laughter they've given us over the years, a solution: Quit working on these alleged bombshells, which the White House has already defused, and attend to some of the fresher, potentially more fruitful scandalettes some of the brethren have found elsewhere.
For example: A Marine held an umbrella for Obama the other day.