As Esquire's Charlie Pierce relayed to Stephanie Miller this Tuesday morning, between Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI!, the IRS and now the Associated Press phone records, get ready for a really long summer of scandal mongering from Republicans the the beltway Villagers.
We're going to be in for one hearing after another and as Pierce wrote in his column, none of this is going away any time soon: Washington's Political Circus Is Not An Accident:
Want to know why the Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! mummery isn't going away, and why the marginally more serious accusations concerning the IRS aren't going away, either? Read what Howard Fineman, a very reasonable fellow, writes today about the singularly futile press conference the president held. [...]
We are now entering the we're-all-just-feathers-in-the-wind period of scandal coverage in Washington. The courtier press has decided that Washington "has turned into" a political circus, as if the process were a passing thunderstorm or an implacable seismic event. [...]
"Congress" is not obsessed with both stories. Opportunistic weasels are obsessed with both stories — and, oddly, more obsessed with the fanciful B, B!. B! than with the IRS malfeasance, for which the agency already has apologized, and on which the agency blew the whistle on itself.
Obama's IRS answer probably won't satisfy Republicans demanding a public apology from the president and insisting the story indicates Obama's White House is run like Nixon's. But the president put himself on the same page with elected officials of all political stripes Monday who demanded to know more about what happened at the IRS and the firing of those responsible for any malfeasance.
No. It won't satisfy them. He could have climbed up on a cross and driven nails into his own palms and that wouldn't have satisfied them. Why is that the point? The media has no affirmative obligation to decide that a "political circus" has broken out and that it has no job left except to write play-by-play on what the monkeys are doing. Obama's White House is not like Nixon's any more than it is like the court of Robert The Bruce. Because some Republicans are still carrying old Watergate grudges around like goiters in their consciences is no reason for smart people to play along with it.
Nixon's IRS did not call out its own mistakes. Nixon's IRS did not apologize. Nixon did not call a press conference and denounce the IRS for what it did, and this was because Nixon ordered the IRS to do what it did, and not even Nixon was a rancid enough bag of old sins to do something like that. So what is the purpose of throwing his name in there at all?
Because the Republicans used it? That's not good enough. In 2004, the NAACP actually got audited in the wake of its having been critical of the then-reigning Avignon Presidency. Remember how that dominated the Sunday Showz for months and led to endless hearings in both houses of Congress?
Yeah, me neither. Somebody — or a group of somebodies — decided that the "political circus" would not open on that issue. I'm old enough to remember when preserving Ronald Reagan's presidency was more important to democracy than pursuing to its end the investigation into a harebrained scheme to sell missiles to the mullahs. Somebody — or a group of somebodies — decided that the "political circus" would have to end before that happened. Self-government is about deliberate acts, or deliberate decisions not to act. The role of a press in the process o self-government is very much the same. Nobody is a feather in the wind.
Here's more from Pierce on the AP scandal which they touched on during their discussion as well: Eric Holder Must Go.
And in regard to the Benghazi witch hunt, it seems Eric Boehlert over at Media Matters has reached the same conclusion as Pierce as to what we're in for from the media this summer: With Benghazi, Republicans Recruit Beltway Press For Another Whitewater Production.
And right on cue, here's MSNBC's Chris Jansing helping to make their point for them during this interview with Rep. Todd Young.