Wednesday, May 22, 2013
One wonders how long Republicans are going to bark up this tree, perhaps the wrong tree, while they ignore their own party’s problems, which were shown to be profound in the most recent elections. Clearly none of these recent issues has had a real impact on voters yet. Republicans seem to be betting everything on them, just as they did in 1998—about which even Newt Gingrich (who was House speaker that year) commented recently to NPR, “I think we overreached in ’98.”
Republicans and conservatives who are so consumed by these “scandals” should ask themselves why, despite wall-to-wall media attention and the constant focus inside the Beltway—some are even talking about grounds for impeachment—Obama’s job-approval needle hasn’t moved. The CNN/ORC poll suggests that people are aware of and watching the news, but they aren’t reacting, at least not yet. Clearly Republicans hope the public will begin to respond. But at what point do they decide that maybe voters might be more interested in other issues or worries than about politicians on one side pointing fingers and throwing allegations at those on the other side? At what point might the GOP conclude that it is just digging the hole a little deeper?
Now there is no question that I respect the political nature of politics. But occasionally a politician actually should do what is right, and not necessarily what is best for the next election. Unfortunately, all too many times what is "right" and what is "politically expedient" are not the same thing... and sometimes they are almost polar opposites.
The issue here really "shouldn't" be about whether or not the President's approval numbers are rising or falling. The issue here "really" should be about the level of malfeasance involved in the latest so called "scandals" and exactly how far these things go up.
The problem with deciding whether or not something is right or wrong based on approval numbers allows for politicians to actually get away with a variety of wrongdoing, as long as they have the political savvy to cover their backs. Is this really the type of political environment we are wanting our elected officials to work in? Where right and wrong, legal and illegal, or replaced solely with approval numbers? I would like to think not.
The truth is that Bill Clinton is a good example of someone who did something significantly wrong and blatantly illegal. He used his Presidency, his executive legal staff, to pressure a White House intern into signing a false affidavit and giving false testimony in a private personal legal case that the President was engaged in. If he was a high level executive in a company who used company legal counsel to intimidate a company intern into lying to the court to save his own personal hair... he would be fired, probably charged, and would likely have issues getting a job anywhere in his industry. His personal popularity really wouldn't matter one bit.
But since Bill Clinton was a Politician... it really didn't matter (especially to his supporters) what he did or if it was wrong, illegal, or anything. The only thing that mattered was could Bill Clinton survive politically and defend his actions in the eyes of the general public. As President, he was supposedly technically immune from any outside prosecution (although almost every prosecutor in the world knew he would have been charged under normal circumstances). Impeachment was the legal method in which he was to be brought before the court. However, in this case... his jury was the Senate... and even though he admitted to doing what he was charged with, every Senator with a "D" behind his or her name voted "not guilty" to the charges in question. Meanwhile, Clinton's popularity rose as they used the bully pulpit to pass off his behavior as about those accusing him, smearing a well respected legal figure and basically ruining his career. Reality was that this was "never" about a blowjob, other than to those spin masters and anyone naive enough to fall for the spin.
On the flip side, a more recent investigation into a Vice President's advisor seemed to gather steam... even though the incident was nothing more than a he said she said situation regarding a larger political investigation that the prosecutor admitted had no valid legal reason to pursue in the first place. But in large part based on the unpopular nature of this particular aide and his boss, and lack of any real political spin from the top... that scandal got some footing.
What scandals seem to boil down to.. isn't the meat of the scandal, but rather the political ability to sway public opinion. Bill Clinton set the bar and created the new standard. Barack Obama is taking that baton and running with it. Unfortunately, many of our talking heads, pundits, and otherwise influential members of our society are perfectly okay with this. I think it's an extremely danger manner in which to judge political right or wrong.
So perhaps some of these observers should take in the obvious. Perhaps this isn't about bringing down the President's approvals. Perhaps this is "actually" about trying to figure out if there was a political cover up regarding the deaths of several Americans, if there really is a high level enemies list, and if powers to be are actually abusing their power. That would seem to be the "right" reason to pursue investigations into these matters. It really shouldn't be about the next election or anyone's approvals.
It looks like the JournOList hacks have all rushed to the White House to help Skeets and Baghdad Bob Carney get their latest line of bullshit straight:
"[Talking Points Memo blogger] Josh Marshall, [Washington Post editorial board member] Jonathan Capehart, [Washington Post columnist] Ezra Klein and other lefty columnists headed into West Wing as a group."
— NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro, 3:25 Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
A previous post had a horribly deceiving chart, designed to make Obama and the Democrats into some sort of deficit hawk heros because the CBO is currently projecting a slightly lower budget deficit for the current fiscal year. The chart reflects 2009 as the starting point of fiscal budgets, as well as a half trillion dollars as the baseline starting point for the deficit itself. What this does is make 2009 (the largest budget deficit in history) out to be the baseline for comparison, rather than actually comparing to anything prior to the Obama Presidency... as well as pretty much accept that $500 billion dollar deficits are the minimum deficit we can expect... even though our actual deficit never reached $500 billion "prior" to 2009.
More to the point... the implication is that we should blame Bush for the 2009 budget, even though he neither wrote the budget or signed it into Law. Let's be clear, the 2009 budget deficit was written by Democrats, passed with only one GOP vote in congress, and specifically held for President Obama to sign, and included several hundred billion from the Obama stimulus bill that was neither suggested, authorized, or had anything to do with former President Bush. The was clearly a Democratic budget that Democrats want to blame on someone else because they refuse responsibility for their own work.
So a quick look at the more accurate and comprehensive charts shows that the budget deficit has increased dramatically since Obama became President, and that even with the deficit projections being lowered for this year, that the deficit is still alarmingly high compared to previous years, and still projected to continue to go higher after a brief downturn.
What's also interesting... is that all of this horrible budget fighting that has created all of these draconian cuts, that supposedly cause all of these brutal attacks to the American way of life... has been put on the shoulders of the Republican Party. Which is to say that somewhere along the way, a GOP house of Representatives has managed to disrupt the exponential growth in government, much to chagrin of liberals everywhere. Funny how, when this leads to a smaller budget deficit than originally called for (had none of the cuts actually became reality)... the Democrats want to step up and take credit. Sorry Charlie... but you cannot have it both ways. If they want to blame Republicans for all of the so-called harm from the spending cuts, then they need to also give credit for the spending cuts reducing the budget. You cannot point fingers for the negative and then thump your chest over the positive. Pick a side... as the election defeat of John Kerry proved, you cannot be for something before you were against it... or visa versa as it may be.