In Case You Needed More Reminding that Republicans Are Flaming Hypocrites
It looks like the three “scandals” brewing for the last week are, by any objective standard, petering out. The IRS scandal was at low levels, and neither Obama nor his staff knew anything at a time when it was relevant, nor tried to cover anything up. There is no evidence that Obama could realistically have been expected to do anything that would have prevented the violence in Benghazi, and the editing of the talking points was an interagency scuffle which did not involve him, nor did it really have any significant impact in real life. And the AP phone record incident, while reprehensible, was pretty pedestrian as far as national security snooping has been for the past decade; ironically, it’s the kind of thing Republicans have been pushing for, and which the administration has, at least in principle, been trying to weaken.
None of this will stop Republicans and their PR machine from claiming they are scandals worse than Watergate-times-infinity-plus-one, however. Republicans desperately want a scandal to be there, and will never stop investigating, will never stop reacting in false outrage, and will never stop making baseless accusations which they claim are high crimes and misdemeanors.
Now, remember back in 2004, when the Bush administration was drowning in scandals—actual, real-life scandals, scandals which caused real and significant damage to our country and its principles—and the Republicans in Congress steadfastly refused to investigate?
Republican leaders in Congress have refused to investigate who exposed covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked after her husband, Joe Wilson, challenged the administration’s claims that Iraq sought nuclear weapons. They have held virtually no public hearings on the hundreds of misleading claims made by administration officials about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda.
They have failed to probe allegations that administration officials misled Congress about the costs of the Medicare prescription drug bill. And they have ignored the ethical lapses of administration officials, such as the senior Medicare official who negotiated future employment representing drug companies while drafting the prescription drug bill. …
There is a simple but deplorable principle at work. In both the Clinton and Bush eras, oversight has been driven by raw partisanship. Congressional leaders have vacillated between the extremes of abusing their investigative powers and ignoring them, depending on the party affiliation of the president.
Nor were they really trying that hard to hide why:
Republican Rep. Ray LaHood aptly characterized recent congressional oversight of the administration: “Our party controls the levers of government. We’re not about to go out and look beneath a bunch of rocks to try to cause heartburn.”
In fact, they not only avoided investigations, they deplored them as unpatriotic and damaging to the nation. They went so far as to make the claim that any such investigations would derail the business of government and cause us to plummet into an abyss of anarchy and terror. And no, I’m not really exaggerating here. They claimed that such investigations would literally cause terror attacks. Starting in early 2006, Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the RNC, sent out multiple fundraising letters which warned that Democrats would try to investigate, censure and impeach Bush if they took back Congress. This warning, for example, went out in March:
The Democrats’ plan for 2006? Take the House and Senate, and impeach the President. With our nation at war, is this the kind of Congress you want?
Here’s another from May:
This year, we face another momentous choice. Fight and defeat the terrorists, or retreat from the central front in the War on Terror. Live up to our calling as Americans to stand for freedom, or choose Democrats, who are being as clear as they possibly can that they will censure and impeach the President if they win back Congress.
Republicans continued to use this scare tactic even after Pelosi specifically ruled out any attempt at impeachment should Democrats take back Congress.
Of course, Democrats did win back both houses in 2006—and did not try to investigate, censure, or impeach Bush, despite having a long list of offenses which richly merited such attention.
So here we are, with Republicans in control of the House… and they are doing exactly what they said would ruin the country if Democrats did it, and for reasons far more spurious and illegitimate.
Like the post’s title said, this is nothing new. However, it does bear repeating from time to time when it is at peak tide.