What if They Held a Kangaroo Court and Nobody Came?

Just when you thought that an electoral mandate to end the gridlock and deal with the real economic issues was enough to get things rolling…enter the parade of distractions that have marked the past 4 years. The list of obstructionist grand distractions has now grown so long that it would take up far too much space to innumerate them. Add to these Benghazi and General Petraeus’ infidelity. As  put it in her Sunday Roundup:

The media bears plenty of culpability. If our failed military strategy in Afghanistan had gotten half the airtime of Petraeus’ failed marital strategy in Tampa, there would be far fewer families mourning the loss of a truly fallen soldier. This Onion headline perfectly sums up our country’s perverted priorities: “Nation Horrified To Learn About War In Afghanistan While Reading Up On Petraeus Sex Scandal.”

McCarthyism Isn’t Dead…It Just Smells Funny

Ever the opportunist, John Mccain has found a new way to maintain his relevance in Washington, as revealed in the Huffington Post article: John McCain’s Benghazi Committee Plan Would Give Senator New Relevance:

Just four years ago, John McCain was the leader of the GOP. Today, he’s the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee…But in January, the Arizona senator will lose his top-ranking committee seat due to term limits. The only ranking Republican spot available to him next session will be on the Indian Affairs Committee. Unless, that is, the Senate creates a brand-new select committee. On Wednesday, McCain, flanked by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), proposed just that: a select committee with extensive authority to investigate the Benghazi, Libya, attack and the U.S. government’s response. The Republican most likely to hold the ranking spot on such a panel would be, of course, John McCain, giving the Arizona senator a new burst of relevance.

McCain, who famously skipped a private congressional briefing on Benghazi to hold a press event to complain about not being briefed enough on Benghazi became quite aggressive with a reporter who questioned him about it. And despite a complete lack of evidence of any wrongdoing on Benghazi, and the obvious fallacy of finding fault with United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, McCain is becoming increasingly irrational:

McCain has repeatedly vowed on Wednesday to block Rice’s possible nomination to secretary of state for telling several Sunday chat shows on Sept. 16 that the attack was not believed to be a pre-planned act of terrorism — a fact that the administration later admitted was incorrect but that was, at the time, supported by CIA talking points provided to Rice prior to her appearances. A White House official also told The Huffington Post that Rice was asked to do the interviews because of her job as a top diplomat, not because of any specific knowledge of the incident.

Benghazi In Perspective

Needless to say, the man who nominated Sarah Palin as his Vice President running mate yet accused Rice  of “not being very bright,and supported Condoleezza Rice’s misrepresentations on WMD has no moral ground to stand on. On September 8, 2002, while there was no proof that Iraq had nuclear weapons and, in fact, intelligence to the contrary, Condoleezza Rice made the case for war with Iraq :

BLITZER: Dr. Rice, is there any hard evidence directly linking the Iraqi government to al Qaeda and the 9/11 terror attacks against the United States?

RICE: There is certainly evidence that al Qaeda people have been in Iraq. There is certainly evidence that Saddam Hussein cavorts with terrorists… We know that he is acquiring weapons of mass destruction, that he has extreme animous against the United States.

CIA Director George Tenet had reported to Rice and other administration officials that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program, courtesy of Iraq’s foreign minister (who agreed to act as a spy for the United States). Thousands died in the needless Iraq War, and Republicans are still denying that they misled us on Iraq, while they now trump up charges against Susan Rice and the Obama administration for political gain and to deny the reality of a public mandate to govern in a bipartisan way. With the Benghazi “issue,” not only is there no smoking gun, but a convenient hypocrisy, since under the Bush Administration:

  • 11 U.S. Embassies were attacked.
  • This resulted in 54 deaths and 90 injuries.

Dumb and Dumber Distractions

Is it any coincidence that a long list of dumb distractions and investigations that go nowhere has been the hallmark of the Republican controlled congress? In the Clinton administration there was the impeachment attempt over an infidelity, and rumors of Vice Foster having been killed by the Clinton administration for some reason (three official investigations all concluded that he committed suicide.) During the Obama administration, there have been too many fake issues to keep track of, ranging from birth control to birth certificates.  Add to these Benghazi.

Meanwhile, House Leader John Boehner continues to try to avoid facing the core economic issues that caused the Great Recession and continue to depress the economy by attempting to kick the fiscal cliff ball further down field. It’s clear that the Republicans are happy with the status quo. The budget deficit suits their purposes just fine; otherwise, they wouldn’t have created and then deepened it. It gives them something to express indignation about while distracting attention from the fact that a tax code and economic policies that favor the wealthy while hollowing out the middle class are their real agenda. But this time, the public has begun to catch on.

Honoring A Mandate: It’s the Economy, Stupid!

The electorate embraced President Obama’s fiscal plan, and said in exit interviews that the Bush tax cuts for the rich have to stop. 47% told exit pollsters that anyone earning more than a quarter million should pay more taxes, while an additional 13% said everyone’s taxes should be raised. Still, on the Wednesday following the election, after speaking with fellow Republicans on a conference call, Boehner announced that he would refuse to allow the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire. The Republican stance has so far been “To hell with fiscal responsibility. Let’s create more distractions.”

The news cycle will no doubt continue to churn up pseudo issues that play to the ignorant lowest common denominator, like Benghazi and Petraeus, but, as an informed consumer, I will be boycotting the coverage to focus on economics. Bringing a balanced approach to the fiscal deficit while promoting policies for economic growth was the mandate, and it’s time the politicos – and the media – honored the will of the electorate.