We’re gonna party like it’s 1998 this summer, everyone. That’s the vibe I’m getting as I watch Tea Partiers edge their party closer and closer to impeachment of President Obama. Scandalmania has gripped the GOP, and despite the fact most of these so-called scandals are nothing more than a political witch hunt, congressional Republicans seem perfectly willing to tank their approval ratings even further by pursuing Benghazi, IRS and AP/Fox News stories as if they have direct connections to, not just the Obama Administration, but Barack Obama himself.
There’s nothing quite like the self-immolation of a clueless, ignorant and poisonous political movement, is there?
Over the weekend impeachment fever rose even more. First you had Rep. Darrell “Hey Where’s My Car?” Issa calling The White House liars. Of course he has no proof to back up his incendiary and stupid assertions, but who needs proof when you’re a suspected insurance fraudster and convicted gun criminal? Then there’s former TEAPublican congressman Allen West who said over the weekend that “the Congress needs to hold the president accountable for the decisions that he’s making right now, and that’s why again, I would say that all options should be on the table.”
Issa’s currently chasing the IRS non-scandal — gee, you mean that strident anti-taxation groups looking to avoid being taxed by filing rather dubiously as “social welfare” groups got extra scrutiny from the government agency in charge of making sure people don’t cheat the tax code? — despite the fact that he knew about it for well over a year and didn’t think it was important enough to blow the whistle last year. I’d be willing to guess that most people when confronted with the known facts of the IRS story would be unhappy about Tea Party groups being singled out, but ultimately decide that since none of them had their applications denied, and that since many were actually pushing the limits of campaign finance law that this is once again an issue with a grain of truth and a silo full of political theatrics.
Allen West of course was harping on about Benghazi. It would seem that the Republicans feel that a cocktail of Benghazi, the IRS and the so-called persecution of journalism (despite the fact that no journalist has been indicted) will amount to a popular, recently re-elected president suddenly losing favor with the majority of Americans who actually voted for him. They seem to think that the whole country is fueled by the same toxic concoction of ignorance, lies and rhetoric as they are. A lot of us, for example, are aware some Republican somewhere doctored White House emails about the Benghazi attack before handing them to ABC News’ John Karl. Many of us know that not only were Tea Party groups targeted last year, but the NAACP was targeted under George W. Bush’s watch, and further, the person in charge at the IRS was a Bush appointee. There is no vast conspiracy — but without a doubt every group seeking the bullshit 501(c)(4) status should be subjected to the heaviest scrutiny possible.
The point is that unless audio or video evidence emerges that directly ties President Obama to the targeting of the IRS, or to the overreach on AP phone records, or even to the notion that he “abandoned” the four Americans who died in Benghazi at their time of need…no one outside TeaPublicanville will care enough to demand impeachment. Malfeasance has certainly been discovered already, but nothing that’s actually seen in the evidence presented thus far plays out the way the Republicans insist it does. They want the Nixon Score evened up so badly they can taste it, but in reality what they taste is just the very stuff they’re shoveling.
It’s going to be a hot and messy summer in D.C. this year. 1998 was the year of Lewinskygate. Despite the fact that the country wasn’t behind them, Newt Gingrich and the rest of his cohorts in the Republican-controlled House took a matter of personal indiscretion and tried to turn into a lofty, ideological crusade about the rule of law. Meanwhile the rest of us were saying to ourselves, “All this over a BJ, really?” And what wound up being the result of that crusade was that the crusading party was tossed out on its ass, the first time a sitting president’s party actually didn’t lose seats in the House. So while the Republicans believe it’s Obama that they’re turning up the heat on, the reality is that they are all signing their own early political death warrants.
Bon voyage, Republicans. Enjoy your trip into self-immolation. Don’t bother sending a postcard though, we’ll all be watching on TV; pointing and laughing.