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The Utter Hypocrisy of Republican “Investigations”

So, what are Republicans doing, since they’re certainly not passing laws to help the American people?

House Republicans on Wednesday will take the first in a series of steps intended to spotlight what they are convinced is a pattern of cover-up and political whitewashing by the White House, but what Democrats contend is an election-year stunt.

The House will vote late on Wednesday to hold in contempt Lois Lerner, a former Internal Revenue Service official who is at the center of multiple investigations into possible acts of political retribution.

Then, on Thursday, the House is expected to formally approve a resolution to establish a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

Through multiple congressional investigations in both chambers, Republicans have sought to link President Obama and his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to a politically motivated effort to obscure what really happened in Benghazi when the American ambassador to Libya and three others were killed.

At the same time, parallel investigations on Capitol Hill have tried to show that the president and his aides used the I.R.S. to persecute Tea Party groups in the hopes of muting their political effectiveness during the 2012 elections.

Hmmm… the IRS “scandal” in which the IRS actually targeted liberal organizations more than conservative ones? Yes, what a terrible scandal. And we know that when political favoritism is in evidence, Republicans always begin years-long investigations.

Like in the following cases from ten years ago:

In 2004, before the election, a liberal-leaning church in California called Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive war a “failed doctrine,” and urged parishioners to take all they knew about Jesus into the voting booth. The IRS responded by threatening the church with taxation, that it would lose its tax-exempt status and be virtually destroyed by the IRS if it did not apologize and cease any such talk in the future. …

In fact, a Baptist pastor in Arkansas praised Bush for his performance while slamming Kerry for his views, while showing photos of both candidates on the church’s AV system–the Bush portrait flattering, the photo of Kerry degrading. The IRS declined to investigate or take any action. Furthermore, the progressive church in California which is under siege by the IRS did not endorse either candidate, nor did the man who gave the sermon, who was just a guest speaker and not formally attached to the church. The Arkansas pastor was formally attached to the church and was far more blatant in his politicization. So why leave the Arkansas church alone, and go full-blast after the California church? According to reports, the California church was not even given the usual obligatory initial warning; the IRS came after them, guns blazing, from the very start.

In fact, the IRS has gone after other left-leaning churches as well as the NAACP for political speech, but not Pat Robertson or a host of other tax-exempt conservatives. Even the Catholics, famous for their intervention against Kerry during the 2004 elections, at the very same time called for the IRS to go after a liberal church in Florida. This article [link broken] demonstrates two churches with heavily political speakers, one liberal (with Bill Clinton), one conservative (with Jerry Falwell and invited Republican representatives)–but only the liberal church was investigated by the IRS. Falwell was not investigated or punished even though he openly endorsed George Bush in a ministry newsletter.

Republicans, who ran Congress back then, despite open evidence of IRS political targeting, did not even consider an investigation.

And how about after 9/11, when there was clear evidence of massive failures by the Bush administration to detect and stop the terror attacks? Republicans dragged their heels for years before allowing even a ridiculously gentle investigation, which treated the president and vice-president with kid gloves. How about the staggeringly disastrous and knowing lies the administration told to sell the Iraq War, which cost untold amounts of money, lives, and damage to the country’s reputation? The massive intelligence failures involved in that debacle? The use of torture? The unwarranted wiretapping of American citizens? The political retribution exposing a national security agent when some of these lies were exposed? Did the Republicans investigate any of these?

I will let a Republican from 2004 explain:

When President Clinton was in office, Congress exercised its oversight powers with no sense of proportionality. But oversight of the Bush administration has been even worse: With few exceptions, Congress has abdicated oversight responsibility altogether.

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, when the 2006 midterm elections loomed, Republicans started issuing hysterical warnings about what Democrats would do if they gained control of Congress—from the Republican National Committee:

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? … Democrats should to be focused on winning the War on Terror, not undermining it with political axe-grinding of the ugliest kind.

And:

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.

That’s right: Republicans’ greatest fears for the security of the United States was that Democrats, if given power over the Senate or House, would start partisan investigations of the president, which would lead the country to ruin.

Did the Democrats, who in fact gained power of both houses in 2006, do that? No. They utterly failed to start any such investigations, despite a constellation of powerfully convincing reasons to do so, in the name of calming inter-party enmity.

But now? With Republicans controlling only the House, and that despite losing the popular vote, only having control because they clearly gerrymandered their way into office? Are they showing restraint of any kind?

Of course not. They doggedly investigate the IRS despite evidence that the opposite of what they charge is actually true.

And Benghazi? There is little question that if Hillary Clinton were not the clear Democratic front-runner for 2016, Republicans would not be so interested (although any chance to smear Obama is hard for them to pass up). Even at that, it has been clear for some time that Republican charges of al Qaeda being behind the attacks are patently false, and while it was a security failure, it pales before the monumental failures of the previous administration, and does not seem to have any of the elements Republicans charge—including the charges of a cover-up. It was a tragic situation that happened more than a dozen times under Bush, when none of the incidents were ever investigated like Benghazi is now. Did Republicans investigate after clear evidence emerged that Bush used terror warnings to undermine Kerry’s momentum in 2004? Did Republicans investigate when the Bush administration failed utterly to provide U.S. soldiers with sufficient armor and protection when we sent them to Iraq? Hell, no.

Both Benghazi and the IRS are, without any doubt whatsoever, patently political attacks being carried out by Republicans in hopes of gaining advantages in the next two elections.

It is an absolutely hypocritical abuse of government power for rankly partisan attacks.

Which, of course, Democrats will never even consider investigating. Because that would cause enmity.

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  1. kensensei
    May 8th, 2014 at 10:35 | #1

    Nice analysis, Luis.

    The GOP is really knocking its head against the wall trying to find a way to defeat Hillary Clinton. They so desperately need a “win” at this point, that they are clutching a political straws. Very few other options exist for them now, so…

    This kind of delusional behavior is reminiscent of what we saw in Congress last year when the House tried fifty times to repeal the ACA. It is a pattern of infantile temper tantrums; they are loud, annoying, expensive and time-consuming, and never seem to lead to anything productive (other than putting the GOP’s foot back into its gaping hole).

    The GOP sees its base shrinking, and so these tantrums are a political equivalent of the older sibling yelling, “Hey, look what I can do…!” whenever the adults fond over the younger sibling in the crib.

    I say, lets allow them another tantrums as the American people will eventually become bored and intolerant of the GOP and, hopefully, walk away. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end of the GOP’s wasting our time on their pointless witch hunts.

    Keep it up, GOP! You’re consistent logical failures are starting to make an impact (on you!).

    –kensensei

  2. Troy
    May 10th, 2014 at 12:17 | #2

    I’d like to think the GOP is shooting themselves in the foot, but then again ‘nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people’.

    The GOP apparently has 195 solid seats in the House

    http://cookpolitical.com/house/charts/race-ratings

    and is a coin-flip away from taking the Senate (thanks to the nature of the 2008 election).

    Their alternate reality is a shared hallucination that encompasses tens of millions of our fellow citizens.

    This is the same electorate that sent Ronnie Raygun to the White House, twice, then his ex-CIA VP, then the idiot son, twice.

    Nobody understands what is going on, and outside of Warren, not too many Dems are offering much of a significant difference to the GOP.

    While the GOP has been actively malicious since 1980 if not earlier, the Dems have been passively cooperative with their program of national destruction.

  3. Troy
    May 11th, 2014 at 05:50 | #3

    This is what we’re dealing with:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/05/10/misleading-fox-chart-shows-only-2-years-to-hide/199255

    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/february-2014-ratings-fox-news-only-network-to-grow-in-primetime_b214929

    Luis’ solution to run screaming from the US in the 1990s was right. While the Japanese electorate has yet to demonstrate any higher collective intelligence compared to the US, I think the Japanese “System” is a bit less idiotically run.

    a bit.

    ISTM the US is cruising for a very big bruising this decade and next.

    Japan, with its outright depopulation, is in a different boat entirely.

    http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/yen-for-living/labor-shortage-cutting-across-all-industries/

    was an interesting article on it.

  4. Troy
    May 11th, 2014 at 14:55 | #4

    re from 7 years ago Is There Anything? [that Bush did right]

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=Alh

    shows the Bush Recovery peaked at 138M jobs in mid-2007, with the Great Recession:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=Ali

    lurking just around the corner, waiting to take us back down under 130M, which was 1999-level employment.

    And that was with the GOP expansion of government spending 50%:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FGEXPND

    from $2T to $3T+!

    The 8 years of Bush pretty much destroyed this nation as a going concern, we just don’t know it yet.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=Alk

    is total debt (consumer, business, and government) (red) and GDP (blue).

    Between the two Bush recessions total debt went from $20T to $33T, a breath-taking expansion visible if we combine the two curves into a ratio:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=All

    here we see the two great “Voodoo Economics” events, the Reagan borrowing and the Bush borrowing.

    Parallel to this was the rising trade deficit:

    https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NETEXP

    an incredibly solid indicator of something rotten in the state of Denmark.

    So enough about the economics analysis, his idiot conservative (the market is always right) policies (a continuation and expansion of Clinton-era deregulation) ripped the guts out of the economy.

    Bush ran on marginalizing same-sex marriage in 2004, but conservatives are harvesting a big bag of fail here now too.

    There was that FreedomCar bullshit:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreedomCAR_and_Vehicle_Technologies

    which was a play to retain consumers dependency on the existing fossil fuel system via bulk delivery of hydrogen to service stations, a continuation of the existing carbon cycle and energy power bases since this hydrogen was to be produced from natural gas feedstocks (just burning the CH4 directly made and makes tons more sense economically).

    Perhaps (dunno, just throwing this out there to be fair) Bush can take credit for the recent tight oil boom:

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=mcrfpus1&f=a

    which reversed 20 years of peak oil declining production

    or the current natural gas surplus, where wellhead prices are so low drillers can’t bring new supply onto the market.

    For all his fuck-ups, he didn’t permanently weaken the GOP brand, which is more an indictment of the collective intelligence of the American electorate.

    You can really fool some of the people all of the time here.

    Bush had 6 years of a conservative Congress (the GOP lost the Senate when Jeffords defected, but there were plenty of conservatives (plus mutton-headed “moderates”) to pass e.g. the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and in 2002 give the administration the green light to invade Iraq.

    Obama only had 2 years of a “friendly” Congress. Less of course since the Senate filibuster was in play for most of these two years and the same conservative shitheads (of both parties) that signed on to our collective ruination in the Bush years were still around in 2009-2010 to continue their legislative record of destruction.

    People like Lieberman.

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