Benghazi. IRS. Boston Marathon “False Flags”. AP. These are a few of the “scandals” that get a tremendous amount of airplay and, judging from opinion polls, mostly yawns. Why do they get so much coverage? It’s only because of the push behind them, not the relative truth or fiction within.
They are, indeed, a matter of policy. The Heritage Foundation, lobbying arm of the supposedly non-partisan Heritage Foundation, circulated a letter to House Republicans stating “… it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference. … Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another ‘circular firing squad’ article.”
While the constant barrage of scandals is draining, it’s best to not confront it too directly. Here’s what progressives and other Americans interesting in getting things done need to concentrate on.
The scandal-mongering has wound through a few intense, but looney, items along the way. I don’t think anyone outside of the few hundred loyal Glenn Beck fans really believes that the Boston Marathon bombs were planted by the CIA as a diversion from Benghazi. And probably Alex Jones is alone in thinking that Obama can control tornadoes well enough to send them to Oklahoma. But there is little doubt that the scandals themselves are indeed nothing more than a diversion away from the deep problems within the Republican party.
The party hardcore are so desperate to keep these diversions alive that they doctored internal emails and sent them to key players in the press to keep the obviously dying Benghazi story alive. In the process they have almost certainly burned up their credibility and will never be able to maintain this pace for the 18 months left until the 2014 elections. Why do this?
First of all, this is not a strategy but a tactic. It’s also a transparently obvious tactic that will cost them in the long run, starting with the press corps. Since the public is not buying this nonsense it will only look more desperate all the time.
This is, fundamentally a defensive move. Despite outward appearances of being an attack on Obama, there is nothing about this that can become a truly offensive operation. It is all about covering up the deep divisions within the party and keeping attention off of their problems.
Once everyone understands that this is all purely defensive, the counter tactics become obvious. While confronting these scandals as either infuriating or laughable (the latter is more fun, BTW) it doesn’t help much. A party of extremists willing to say or do anything to preserve their besieged position is best flanked and surrounded, as their inability to move or accomplish even the smallest thing is by far their greatest weakness.
It is important that we stay as positive as possible and back strong visions for a better tomorrow. We also have to remember the lessons from the great victories that we have been winning recently, such as marriage equity.
This is not about the politics of division, and it can never be. Remember that the big advance on gun legislation came as a bipartisan bill from Senators Manchin (D) and Tommey (R). Important new bank regulations are coming from Senators Brown (D) and Vitter (R). This isn’t just about progressives or Democrats, it’s about people who care about this country and can’t tolerate this nonsense.
We also have to keep appealing to reason first, not the nastiness of the fight. There is a lot of work to be done and the people who are willing to do it will eventually be rewarded – as long as we are true and honest. Look to other leaders like Senator Warren and her fight to reduce student loan rates, for one example.
But this is a long fight and the shots will keep coming in as long as there is disarray in the Republican House. We have to brush it off and pay attention to the long haul. There is still a budget to craft and many other things that have to be done no matter what – and that’s what we all need to insist on.
Scandals? They are manufactured news with a series of lies and crazy talk tying them together, for the most part. It’s also official policy. We have to ignore it and work to actually get stuff done.