Why Rightbloggers Should Drop Benghazi, IRS, and AP, Focus on Umbrellagate and Bulworth
As the Benghazi prosecution appears to fizzle, rightbloggers have sought to replace it with a pair of new scandalettes involving the IRS and the Associated Press.
We think this shows a disappointing lack of imagination. In the far-flung meth labs of the right, fresher outrages are cooking that Americans can better understand: Outrages that involve the humiliation of American servicemen by a racial minority, and the President's admission of what rightbloggers have been saying all along: That he's a Socialist. Hunt where the ducks are, fellas!
The Benghazi tsimmis that had the brethren dreaming of impeachment last week has hit a rough patch as the allegedly damning "talking points" they'd been waving turned out, after the White House released emails relating to their creation, not to be all that, and what had been portrayed in the press as the content of the emails turned out to be spin dished to a reporter.
Rightbloggers struggled valiantly to keep hope alive. "White House's Benghazi email dump shows critical two-day gap, CIA objection," headlined The Daily Caller -- surely that must be worth something. "Where Was President During Benghazi Attack?" demanded The Ulsterman Report. PJ Media's Roger L. Simon thought answers might lie in the director's cut of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula's allegedly incendiary film Innocence of Muslims, though anyone who's seen the trailer would probably prefer to remain indefinitely in ignorance.
Some even got into the old "Obama said act of terror which is not the same thing as terrorist act" routine that was pissed out by the second 2012 Presidential debate when the moderator straightened Mitt Romney out (or, as Fire Andrea Mitchell put it, "That fat cow on CNN Candy Crowley who lied in front of millions of people"). Others promoted the Benghazi cluckings of noted conservative moral authorities such as Dick Cheney ("Thanks goodness this man is still with us" cried Tammy Bruce).
Democrats got dismissive, and rightbloggers became enraged. When Obama referred to the controversy as a "sideshow," Erika Johnsen of Hot Air malkinned, "that's only the case because of Democrats' clownish antics attempting to downplay and dismiss the issue." "Obama's protests don't square with millions of Americans," ass-pulled Bob Beauprez of Townhall.
National Review's Andrew C. McCarthy, who had previously claimed that the State Department was full of Islamic terror agents, now suggested that the "administration's lies" on Benghazi were all that had kept Mitt Romney from taking his rightful place as President: "The video fraud enabled the administration and Obama's reelection campaign to stay on offense - aggressively pummeling the strawman of 'Islamophobia' - rather than in the defensive crouch required to explain, or try to explain, the Obama administration's performance in Egypt, Libya, and the broader Middle East," he wrote. "It worked: The Romney campaign was cowed and accountability for the Benghazi massacre would have to wait many months." Think what we all missed!
And so it went. Conservative and alt-conservative outlets groused about "the most transparent administration in history"; Newsbusters' Kyle Drennen got mad that Matt Lauer asked Donald Rumsfeld what Drennen apparently thought was an insolent question about Benghazi. All told, it's beginning to look like they aren't going to get the Benghazi bon-bons they've been praying for.
As it happened, a couple of other scandalettes stirred last week, and some of the brethren yet have high hopes for them.
First it was revealed that the Justice Department had secretly (but apparently legally, alas) subpoenaed and collected communications from the news organization The Associated Press in pursuit of an Al Qaeda case -- which excited rightbloggers enough that they actually pretended to care about the rights of the media, at least for a few seconds.
For instance, the Wall Street Journal gravely intoned things like "if the AP story did contribute to compromising a source inside al Qaeda, news of a foiled plot hardly seems worth the price," and "such blanket subpoenas and secrecy can have an intimidating effect on the press," etc., before basically admitting that it had nothing except its general hatred of Obama ("Whatever the motive, this overreach is typical of the Obama Administration's attitude toward the law in many areas--non-recess recess appointments... EPA regulation..."), and that whatever Washington did about this state of affairs, it certainly shouldn't revive any press shield laws, because that might "undermine the balance of rights (such as a free press vs. fair trial) that are inherent in the Constitution," blah blah.
The more popular response from rightbloggers was to mock the MSM for not acknowledging as rightbloggers always had that Obama is Hitler. "OBAMA'S MEDIA CAN'T IGNORE BRAND-NEW SCANDAL," cried Chelsea Schilling of WorldNetDaily. "Maybe [reporters] should stop rolling their eyes when the likes of Texas senator Ted Cruz talk of the Constitution," said Rich Lowry of National Review.
National security concerns that made such snoopings cool for rightbloggers in the Bush era suddenly became inoperative, too. "The notorious national-security leaks that were featured on page one of the [New York] Times during the Bush administration seem to me to have done vastly greater harm than the leaks involved in the AP story," scoffed Scott Johnson of Power Line. There was real terrorism in those days!
Attorney General Eric Holder feigned ignorance and defended his office with War on Terror arghblargh; liberals called for that reporter shield law WSJ was so worried about, and out in the hinterlands there was no sign that ordinary Americans were any more concerned with freedom of the press than they were in the early days of the Patriot Act, for better or worse.
Then there was the revelation that, in checking out organizations claiming to be primarily social service institutions for tax purposes, the IRS paid especially close attention to those with "Tea Party" and "patriot" in the title. Though the Tea Party is widely known as a political organization, singling out the tricorner folks was, rightbloggers said, tyranny, and they blamed Obama ("The Obama Administration Used Alinsky Tactics & IRS To Ensure Tea Party Was Not a Factor in 2012" -- Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit), though his direct involvement with the IRS investigations remains unproven.
WorldNetDaily said the investigations had "KNOCKED TEA PARTY OFF ITS MISSION" during the late election season; WSJ's James Taranto even suggested that Obama had only won in 2012 because some people in revolutionary war costumes thought they might have to pay taxes and therefore withdrew from what was sure to be a successful battle to save America from the Kenyan Pretender.
As the achievements of Lance Armstrong and Mark McGuire "are forever tainted by their use of banned performance-enhancing drugs," said Taranto, so "the use of the Internal Revenue Service's coercive power to suppress dissent against Obama is the political equivalent of steroids. The history books should record Obama's re-election with an asterisk to indicate that it was achieved with the help of illicit means." Between Taranto's and Andrew C. McCarthy's displays of loyalty, Romney's sure to be deeply touched in whichever of the dozen or so government-in-exile statehouses he happens to occupy at present.
Things being what they are, Obama was forced to act like he too was outraged, and got a few IRS officials to quit. Readers with some acquaintance of rightblogger psychology will not be surprised to learn this did not appease them.
Some of the brethren found significance in the fact that Obama had once made a joke about auditing his enemies at a commencement in 2009; no, they didn't think it was ironic in the traditional sense -- they thought it was some sort of deliberate Machiavellian fuck-you on Obama's part, because they also believe, apparently, that Obama has actually been using the IRS against them all along. A video of Obama's joke was picked up by The Daily Bail ("HOLY SHITE FLASHBACK"), Weasel Zippers, and others. The Free Beacon used the joke the preface its "Six times the IRS has been accused of punishing President Obama's political opponents" listicle (example #3: "Austan Goolsbee, Then Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, Divulged on a Conference Call Confidential IRS Information on How Koch Industries Was Organized." Why patriots haven't started a new revolution by now, we can't -- oh, right, tax breaks).
When White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer said the IRS' actions were wrong whether or not they were illegal ("I can't speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant. The activity was outrageous and inexcusable..."), the brethren labored mightily to misunderstand him. E.g., The Lonely Conservative: "The new talking point is that the legality of the IRS targeting conservatives for extra scrutiny is 'irrelevant,' because, well they're outraged no matter what." "Obama Aide Pfeiffer On IRS Scandal: 'Law Is Irrelevant'" headlined Tammy Bruce ("Sorta like when the president does it, that means it's not illegal?... these people are insane"). "Looks like the Obama moron hacks have invented yet another word to defend their corrupt Chicago thug," yammered Fire Andrea Mitchell. "[Pfeiffer] defended the IRS while claiming the law is 'Irrelevant' to the IRS. Try telling that the people who are bullied by the IRS if they miss a tax payment." Etc.
Some of them really think they can go all the way with this one. "While this doesn't yet place the matter inside the West Wing," deep-breathed Steven Hayward of Power Line, "it assures another leg to the scandal at least." "I don't contend that President Obama was involved in the decision to target conservative groups for harassment by the IRS," said his colleague Paul Mirengoff. "...I do contend, however, that Obama has little appreciation for the democratic process, including the right to dissent from his agenda without suffering for it. In my view, he regards democracy and dissent as hindrances to the march of history he fancies himself leading. And I suspect that his assertion of outrage over the IRS scandal is feigned..."
In other words, they have shit and they want you to think it's shinola. The ones who are capable of multitasking are trying to keep all three scandalettes in play, hoping to maintain a general air of impropriety (e.g., "Amidst Three Scandals (IRS, Benghazi & AP) Barack Obama Goes Golfing, Again"), but the polls indicate that it hasn't gotten them anywhere yet.
Some rightbloggers have tumbled to this; in fast, Da Tech Guy actually suggested that liberals have been trying to trick rightbloggers into talking about impeachment now in order to mess up the real impeachment that can have if they only show a little patience. "The left understand that talk of impeachment now would be a disaster, not to the president, but to those building the case against him," he whispered. "...The White House and their allies will do their best to wave the red flag in the hope we charge, instead we should sit back and let this scandal and the investigation cook." And blog ceaselessly about ObamaHitler, of course.
(Gabor Zolna of The Western Center for Journalism agrees, by the way, that many fellow travelers are going the wrong way on impeachment, but for a different reason: "He needs to be charged as a citizen and not as a president; impeachment proceedings are only for presidents," explained Zolna. "He is not a president since he was never eligible to hold office.")
We sympathize with them, and offer, as partial recompense for the many gifts of laughter they've given us over the years, a solution: Quit working on these alleged bombshells, which the White House has already defused, and attend to some of the fresher, potentially more fruitful scandalettes some of the brethren have found elsewhere.
For example: A Marine held an umbrella for Obama the other day.
The President was speaking in the Rose Garden with the Turkish Prime Minister and Marines held umbrellas for each of the leaders. The Turkish guy rightbloggers didn't seem to care much about; Obama getting an umbrella, however, drove them nuts.
"Barack Obama loves the troops... To hold his umbrella," snarled Jim Hoft. "Hold your own umbrella there, cowboy," barked Patterico's Pontifications. "Another scandal hits Obama," screamed the New York Post.
Guy's like a supervillain, huh?
""King Obama Orders Marines To Hold An Umbrella Over Him," howled Mr. Conservative. "...How good does it look for a president currently being accused of abusing the powers of his office to use U.S. Marines like his personal servants? One has to wonder why Obama thinks the Marines are better used holding an umbrella to protect his delicate constitution but Ambassador Christopher Stevens didn't deserve any Marines to protect his life in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012?" See? Benghazi! It all adds up!
"Some of the finest warriors in human history being reduced to holding umbrellas for a metrosexual left-wing weenie who is their inferior in every meaningful way must truly warm the hearts of the liberal ruling class that put Obama in power," cried Moonbattery while The Battle Hymn of the Republic played in the background, causing him to miss his mom's Call of Duty to dinner.
We must clear some extra space for Ann Althouse's four (!) posts about the umbrella. First Althouse was "seeing something tragic" in the umbrella scandal: "The old ways -- that made us love him -- don't work anymore," she sighed. "The gentle, slow-talking, stalling with 'uhs' for Woody Allen-like timing... We see the rain failing on his dark suit, and maybe we think about how, yes, that's the White House in back of him and he does have his closets in there, full of suits... empty suits... skeletons in the uh uh uh..." After a good deal of this, Althouse challenged a Washington Post story that said conservatives were irked by the umbrella: "who were these 'irked conservatives'?" she demanded. "WaPo only cites an email from the conservative Move America Forward PAC..."
Althouse later posted on Nabokov's objections to Freud, asking "What would Freud have said about Obama's endless uh-ing?" Later still she told us, "The word 'umbrella' appears exactly once in Obama's 'Dreams From My Father'... Now, I'm astounded to see that the umbrella figures importantly in the book -- and it is even an umbrella held over him by another man... it is at the moment when he finds out who he really is that another man suddenly appears and is sheltering him with an umbrella... Flash forward, and he's President. He is in the Rose Garden. It starts to rain. No man suddenly appears with an umbrella. He is getting wet and he is President -- with plenty of airplanes and rifles and all of the world's greatest military at hand -- but he is still getting wet..."
She also discussed the phallic symbolism of umbrellas. You can read the rest at the links, or just wait for the audiobook version. (Throughout, Althouse's commenters reacted in their by-now expected way, e.g., "That baboon isn't fit to shine the Marine's boots.")
Sane readers have by now probably seen the resulting montages of other Presidents having umbrellas held over their heads, sometimes by U.S. servicemembers, and wondered why this is even a Thing. Rightbloggers had an explanation: It's against the law! "According to Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, a male Marine is not allowed to carry an umbrella while in uniform," reported The Daily Caller. "There is no provision in the Marine Corps uniform regulation guidelines that allows a male Marine to carry an umbrella."
See? He's breaking the law (USMC regulations, actually, but still) -- and there are photographs! Forget Benghazi, the IRS, and the AP -- this one has a smoking gun! Forget also weak sisters like Hot Air's Allahpundit, who half-admits this is no big deal and suggests making reforms -- including a sort of Marine umbrella shield law -- in the future ("Free advice to future administrations, then: Discontinue this practice. These guys aren't valets"). Trimmer! There was a crime committed, and a special prosecutor must drag Obama (if that even is his real name) up on charges.
And if that's not enough, we've got a convincer: There was a New York Times story that said, "In private, [Obama] has talked longingly of 'going Bulworth,' a reference to a little-remembered 1998 Warren Beatty movie about a senator who risked it all to say what he really thought."
To some people -- normal ones, that is -- this may sound like the understandable desire of a highly constrained public servant to cut loose, if only in his dreams. But to rightbloggers, who looked the movie up and learned that Bulworth was into single-payer national healthcare, it was clearly an admission of socialism.
"Obama admits he's a socialist," said Kyle Smith at the New York Post. "President Obama and many others (including the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary) seem to confuse socialism with communism -- common ownership of the economy." But what do dictionaries and Presidents know -- socialist Presidents, he might add? (Smith also said, "It's as if Ronald Reagan had been caught saying he wanted to 'Go Strangelove.'" He must be very young.)
"[Obama] hasn't gone so far as to give a shout out to 'that dirty word - SOCIALISM,'" said Scott Johnson of Power Line, "but we can connect the dots from Obamacare to the 'single-payer or the Canadian' way by ourselves. From the glories of the Canadian way (as Obama sees them) to 'SOCIALISM' only requires a little generalization from a big example"... in a movie. Did we mention this was from a movie?
"Bulworth is a Senator who finally breaks free of the constraints of American politics to say what he really thinks," said National Review's Stanley Kurtz. "And what he thinks consists largely of obscene raps and wild speeches openly pushing for socialism... I could say more, but I think I'll just stop here." Nod's as good as a wink! "Given the revelation that Obama fantasizes about going Bulworth, and the long-established fact that Obama has made statements consistent with the fictitious senator's view that only socialized medicine will ever save the day, it seems to us some apologies are in order from those who insisted it was crazy to think Obama is a socialist," said James Taranto.
"With all of the coverage of the Obama administration's scandals last week you might have missed how President Obama let slip how he'd really like to go all out socialist like Bulworth," says The Lonely Conservative. See -- they're trying to cover this up with all those other so called "scandals." It must be hot.
Run with that, rightbloggers! True, you'll have to hunt down whoever told this tale to the Times -- but that's what special prosecutors are for. And once you do, it's a lead pipe cinch: Why, we've even got the movie on film!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- Breaking: Crane Collapses in Lower Manhattan, One Reported Dead
Wed., Feb. 10, 6:30pm
Wed., Feb. 10, 7:30pm
Thu., Feb. 11, 7:00pm
Fri., Feb. 12, 7:00pm
- Left-Wing Jewish Groups Claim Responsibility for Fake 'New York Times'
- Father of New York's Medical Marijuana Program Wants More Companies Licensed to Grow...