I’ve been reading a lot lately about the scandals under the Obama administration and I’ve been hearing right wing columnists and pundits saying that “things have never been this bad before.”
Let me see what I can remember, just off the top of my head, from previous administrations.
With George W. Bush we had the Valerie Plame spy scandal, a Medicare scam, Abu Ghraib prison torture, manufactured evidence and false intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq, Enron, Ashcroft’s violations of campaign finance laws, Halliburton no-bid contracts and Cheney’s secretive Energy Task Force.
Clinton had his pre-presidency scandals (Paula Jones, etc), Travel-gate and Monica-gate, which consumed more ink than Watergate. And where the junk press (The National Enquirer, The Globe, Fox News) made its bones on every birth-marked inch of Clinton’s public and pubic life.
President Reagan trumps them all with Iran/Contra, but we can’t forget the Savings and Loan scandal or the Department of Housing and Urban Development grant rigging. By the end of his second term 138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct or criminal violations.
What we really can’t forget, as the Benghazi controversy continues, is Beirut in 1983. President Reagan, over objections from his secretary of defense, ordered that American servicemen be sent into a war zone, as part of an international peacekeeping force, but, under strict presidential orders not to load their weapons. Reagan was attempting to make it clear that we came in peace, but, terrorists killed 299 essentially defenseless American and French servicemen.
And today Republicans are in a bunch over what was known, or not known, concerning Benghazi and an alleged bias within the IRS.
Benghazi was a horrible tragedy, and I am all for accountability, but, in that light, it’s important to remember that in 2012 Republicans voted to remove $331 million from security budgets at international consulates and embassies. Should the glaring spotlight of accountability be aimed there, as well?
As for the IRS….we all hate the IRS so they become a pretty easy target, but there are some important things to consider.
First of all, the commissioner at the time of the “targeting” was a Bush appointee, so that should be a head scratcher, but most interesting is the genesis of the targeting. Five years ago the IRS was facing an explosion of newly formed 501(c) 4 groups claiming tax exempt status. That classification is only for groups that promote education or social welfare, and not electioneering, but a wealth of applications came from Tea Party related groups. Red flags started flying toward any group applying for this status with names containing “Tea Party.”
Although the majority of Tea Party organizations complied with tax guidelines, the scrutiny had begun. Not exactly the Scandal to End All Scandals that the right-wing is making it.
And now I am hearing some Democrats start to question President Obama’s ability to get things done and question his integrity. That does not come from an awakening, but rather it is the inevitable result of the constant beating of a right-wing drum that has questioned the President’s faith, his citizenship, and even his patriotism, in a never ending maelstrom of misinformation, fanned by the REAL bias: Hatred.
With a Republican agenda of 100% obstructionism and billions of lobbying dollars, how were new gun control measures to pass? Or a job’s bill. Or financial reform. Yet, under President Obama we have seen the stock market reach a new high, health care reform that was talked about since Eisenhower has become a reality, and unemployment is below where it was at the beginning of the worst recession in 80 years.
So, Democrats—buck up! This man has been nothing short of remarkable.
Republicans—shut up! Your Herculean efforts to bring down our President may turn against you as you spend your time creating scandals to define him, while failing to do what you should be doing: cooperating in Washington to further the best interests of the American people.
Author: Gary Kroeger is a creative director for a Midwestern advertising agency. He’s a former actor (in the cast of Saturday Night Live in the mid ‘80s) and producer.