In Aesop’s fable, “Boy Who Cried Wolf,” the boy gets a few free cries before all his credibility is gone and his flock becomes wolf snacks.
The Republican Party cried its way to Bill Clinton’s ridiculous impeachment, the Iraq War and dozens of fake Obama mini-scandals, including those focused on the president’s birth certificate, his religion, his father, Solyndra, trips to India, a beer summit, a hip-hop barbecue, golf, “You didn’t build that!,” the First Lady’s diet, her sleeve length, and — most recently — umbrellas.
Amidst this constant, all-engrossing whining, three “real” scandals have emerged in the last few weeks.
Republicans have been so thrilled that the media has finally bought into their constant scandal narrative that they’re already planning which “NOBAMA!” t-shirt they’ll wear to the impeachment.
“I will tell you, as I have been home in my district, in the sixth district of Minnesota, there isn’t a weekend that hasn’t gone by that someone says to me, ‘Michele, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren’t you impeaching the president? He’s been making unconstitutional actions since he came into office,'” Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said at a rally on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Sensing that his party was about to blow it, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus — and expert in blowing it — issued a warning to his fellow Republicans — especially Bachmann — to turn the crazy down a bit.
“We have to be persistent but patient,” Priebus told Politico Thursday. “I think where there’s smoke, there’s fire. If we present ourselves to the American people as intelligent, we’re going to be in a great place as far as showing that this administration is not transparent, is obsessed with power and hates dissent. But you don’t call for impeachment until you have evidence.”
Evidence! Republicans have all the evidence they need to impeach Obama: He beat them twice — in public!
What Priebus senses is that instead of turning on Obama, which the public never has, these “scandals” are much more likely to turn people against the GOP. And there’s no better sign of this than the fact that President Obama’s approval rating has shot up five percent in one poll and two percent in another since these “scandals” first broke.
This could have to do with the public taking a look at the accusations or their realization that these attacks are just more of the same old empty flares the GOP fires out as they work endlessly to limit women’s reproductive rights and lower the tax burden on the richest and corporations.
Regardless, most of meat on these so-called “scandals” has already been chewed away.
The GOP’s fixation on Benghazi — which has already been investigated by the right in a way they never bothered to look at 9/11 or the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon that killed 241 American servicemen during the Reagan administration — relies on a belief that the president wanted a U.S. ambassador attacked or participated in a massive coverup that involved offering the CIA’s best intelligence then quickly revising it as better intelligence emerged.
Republicans are notoriously opposed to anyone offering bad intelligence, unless they do it for years in order to justify an unnecessary war.
The Benghazi story only flared up again recently because an ABC reporter proffered forged talking points from someone, likely a Republican on Capitol Hill, as fact. And the problems exposed by this tragedy — “…the members of Congress that failed to provide resources, and the bureaucratic hurdles that kept the resources that were available from being deployed” — have never, ever been truly explored.
The IRS scandal sounds terrible until you find out that the so-called “targeting” of conservative groups happened under a Bush appointee and ended up yielding more time spend investigation left-leaning groups than Republican ones.
The right-wing media is playing up that the administration knew about the investigation during last year’s election and never brought it up. Well, so did the leader of the GOP’s never-ending Obama witch hunt, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
This scandal has created the hilarious self-satire of establishment Republicans — including Karl Rove — rushing to embrace Tea Partiers after blaming them for losing the Senate and possibly the presidency. And their reward for this is Michele Bachmann being back in the news, blowing it again.
And who besides Tea Partiers thinks investigating Tea Party groups who wanted to form secretive “social welfare” non-profits for tax breaks is so out of line? The real scandal is that these groups — on the right and left — exist basically outside the scope of the law.
The one possibly real administration “scandal” — the subpoenaing of AP reporters’ phone records — was precipitated by Republicans making demands for investigations into national security leaks a part of the 2012 election.
The GOP has no love for press freedom, supports no legislation that protects the media from such inquiries, and sees that there’s no chance of implicating Attorney General Eric Holder or President Obama in a crime here. So this one real issue, the tendency of the government act hastily when it comes to civil liberties, will likely fade away even more quickly than others.
But diminishing facts and diminishing returns won’t slow the GOP down, as Priebus knows. Republicans pursued Clinton’s impeachment though public support for that misadventure never rose over the mid 30s, as The Daily Beast‘s Michael Tomasky points out.
And today Bill Clinton is the most popular living ex-president — by far.
Getting impeached by these Republicans would ultimately be a badge of honor for Obama, a tribute to a chronic sore loserdom in the Republican Party that cannot accept that the American public has had enough of their crying.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall