Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Attack of the Watergates

If you've been watching Fox News or listening to AM radio recently, two things should be immediately apparent: the first is you obviously are a masochist and should seek help as soon as possible; the second is that you've probably heard the word Watergate uttered at least a couple million times.

Conservatives have taken to it like deranged sociopaths take to guns. It has become the new catchphrase for everything they don't like about Barack Obama. Whenever anything bad happens that they don't like - and for the record anything they don't like is, by definition, bad - they immediately assume it's part of a vast conspiracy between the Administration and the lap dog media.

For instance, remember when Fast and Furious was the going to be the next Watergate. That quickly fizzled under the spotlight of common sense. Now the conservative universe is all abuzz over Benghazi. They have convinced themselves that what was a truly horrific tragedy that resulted in four deaths, including Ambassador Stevens, is the second coming of Nixon. Mike Huckabee has virtually predicted that President Obama "will not fill out his full term" in office, so convinced he is of a massive cover-up.

It's one thing to be stupid and racist; it's quite another to be paranoid.

The latest installment of Benghazi fever comes courtesy of Darrell Issa, who should get the Academy Award for best performance in a kangaroo court. Issa has been doing his utmost to nail the Administration ever since the GOP took the House in the 2010 midterms. So badly did he embarrass himself during the Fast and Furious hearings that even some conservative writers called him out on it.

Not to be outdone - or deterred - Issa strutted out three key witnesses whose testimony he and his fellow cohorts believed would finally blow the lid off of the Administration's "cover-up." You could practically see Sam Ervin lurking in the corner.

And what was the grand result of all this testimony. Ostensibly we learned the following: The talking points memo that Susan Rice referred to on the Sunday morning talk shows was inaccurate; there was a huge disagreement over whether to send in a special ops team from Tripoli; and the State Department had been warned about the possibility of an attack on the consulate, a warning that obviously went unheeded. Basically nothing new, if you've been paying attention.

But a cover-up? Not even close.  Mistakes were made and judgments called into question, but, despite all the huffing and puffing, Republicans still don't have a smoking gun. They can shout Watergate all they want, but until they come up with their own missing 18 minutes, all they will accomplish is coming down with a good dose of laryngitis.

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