Hearings are not a trial and the Benghazi Committee’s interrogation of Hillary Clinton was not supposed to be a prosecution, so why did Chairman Trey Gowdy’s opening statement sound like it was taken from a television courtroom drama? Because this is partisan political drama as good as you are ever going to find. Everyone gets a piece of the action and everyone wins except the four dead Americans these proceedings are supposed to be all about.
Conspiracies and Scandals
It is easy to believe that conspiracies and scandals are how our local, state, and federal governments do business, but more often they come from the simple failure of government to perform its duties and ensure that its employees are only doing what we pay them to do. When public officials try to cover up mistakes that can’t be explained away, a scandal is created. Headline-grabbing, career-ending crimes are the exception, unless you live in a state like Illinois, where elected officials know corruption better than they know how to run government. Our conspiracies and scandals are the real thing. We raise the bar for the rest of the nation.
The Obama administration has taken some big hits in the conspiracies and scandals department. Some problems have been with us for years. If there is blame to be placed for problems like the neglect at the Department of Veterans affairs, it is for doing nothing about problems that needed to be fixed and were kicked down the road until they became someone else’s headache.
Other nightmares plaguing this president, like the Benghazi scandal, seem more like cover ups that come from a fundamental failure of leadership. The Obama administration’s relationship with the Muslim world has always been a bone of contention with conservatives. A televised apology from our president and Secretary of State to Pakistan after Islamic violence exploded in response to a supposedly anti-Muslim video didn’t help. Neither did apologies for the Iraq war that go back to the beginning of Barack Obama’s first term. After 9/11, apologies to Islam should be off the table.
Every once in a while, talk of conspiracies and scandals leads to the real thing. The IRS harassment of conservative groups gave us deleted emails, an IRS employee taking the Fifth, and other trappings of covering up a conspiracy that resurrect memories of Richard Nixon and Watergate.
Do we learn from conspiracies and scandals, or does government just get better at spinning its ethical lapses? This category begins with the Anthony Weiner embarrassment and, for the moment, ends by questioning how we ended up with a government that shuns accountability. Check back soon. The list is only going to get longer.
Conservatives still get excited talking about an Obama impeachment six years into a presidency rife with abuses of power no one has been able to stop. We can’t expect much from members of Congress while they spend the next few months trying to keep their jobs, but even if the GOP takes the Senate this fall do we want to suffer the damage an Obama impeachment would bring to a country already stirred up over race and inequality?
Who would be so naïve as to offer hope that we can trust government when our Washington bureaucracy repeatedly proves it has minimal oversight over its activities and doesn’t even trust itself? Our president, promoting trust, openness, and transparency:
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.
Who does Barack Obama think he is kidding when he claims that he will not tolerate long waits or other problems at hospitals overseen by Veterans Affairs? He is not fooling the veterans subjected to shoddy treatment from government-managed health care, or politicians in Congress who have known about the problems at the VA for years, have failed to fix them, and are not going to fix them now.
Sadly, bipartisan means the opposite of what it meant in politically happier times on Capitol Hill. Now it means baiting the opposition into doing something that seethes with partisanship. This has never been more excruciatingly obvious than with two of the biggest partisan charades we have seen in years. On one hand, we have Democrats fighting tooth and nail to not participate in a House probe of what happened in Benghazi even though they will blame the investigation for not being bipartisan.