Posted: 05/16/13 14:26
by Dave Mindeman
I have spent most of this week hacking and coughing and laying around like a slug...trying to get over a nasty head and chest cold. Needless to say, I haven't been up to blogging and the news hasn't helped my mood much. It has been one endless stream of gleeful Republicans hyping "scandal" after "scandal" in front of any camera that will point their way.
But since I was in a slug-like funk, it also gave me the opportunity to watch all of it and to get a fuller understanding of reality....and not just a GOP interpretation of it.
This gets the most sound bites but has the least actual news involved with it. It is hard to claim "cover up" when all the information has been in hand from the beginning. ABC News botched a "scoop". CNN debunked it. Darrell Issa continues his fishing expedition. Everybody tries to connect Hillary Clinton to anything they can. Meanwhile, the White House has accepted the investigative report. Plans to implement every recommendation. Now, will the GOP House fund the proposed security upgrades for our embassies? I'm betting not. It would be nice if this tragedy would not be politicized any further.
Of course, Michele Bachmann couldn't resist citing "worse than Watergate" in her hyperbolic way, but there is a problem here. However, the problem is NOT in the extra scrutiny of the applications, because 501c4 applications need it. The problem is that the scrutiny was one sided. There is little doubt that it wasn't just conservative groups that deserved that kind of attention. Liberal groups were involved as well.
I find it more than a bit ironic that Eric Cantor is calling for more transparency.....when the whole idea behind 501c4 applications is to avoid any semblance of transparency. They want to hide their donors from public view and keep funneling the "dark" money into campaigns. Even though the purpose is supposed to be for the "social welfare".
People should be held accountable but the the whole thing is a manufactured problem of Citizens United.
AP Phone Records
This is really the most troubling "scandal". An investigation into the source of a government leak is justified, but the broad and sweeping acquistion of reporter phone records is not. There has to be a more specific probable cause and preferably judicial oversight here. This is the Press and they should have protections.
I am not a big fan of Attorney General Eric Holder. He seems to be using a pretty broad office cudgel (ala Alberto Gonzales) in his investigative authority. Even though he recused himself here, he is not absolved of some responsibility. He is still responsible for the workings of the Justice Department and this is a very troubling event.
These issues are worthy of discussion and investigation....but as usual, the Republican response is shrill and overblown.
The end result of Benghazi should be safer embassies.
The end result of the IRS should be reform of a broken campaign finance system....or even better, a repeal of Citizens United.
The end result of the AP Phone Records situation should a renewed Press shield law that protects the first amendment fully and completely.
Any other actions are political....and as usual, the political is all the GOP is interested in.