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Conservatives find holy grail in Obama ‘scandals”’

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By Rick Howell


    Giddy. That’s the word I’m hearing that best describes the way right-wingers have been acting since last week’s media storm about the three “scandals” supposedly plaguing the Obama administration.
    The president’s enemies, so utterly unable to bring Barack Obama down at the polls, now appear to think that they finally have something they can use against him.
    Some of them are getting so carried away that they are using the term “Watergate,” and daring to suggest that President Obama is another Nixon.
    Michelle Bachman, the astoundingly idiotic congresswoman from Minnesota, is telling her audiences that “everywhere I go” people are asking why Congress isn’t impeaching the president.
    Impeachment? That’s how ridiculous and delusional some of these right-wingers, especially the “tea party” types, are becoming.
    But rational people who want to look at each one of the three so-called scandals will quickly find that, where necessary, the president has struck back at any wrongdoing and already held people accountable.
    First, Benghazi. And all you can really say is this: Enough already. There’s no scandal there; no betrayal of national security; no failure by the president or his Cabinet to search for all the answers behind the attack that killed the U.S. Ambassador and three others.
    This topic has been beaten to death by conservatives who have uncovered nothing new. They tried to use this weak tale of e-mails and “talking points” as some sort of campaign strategy against the president last fall, and they failed.
    There is no scandal in what happened in Benghazi or the administration’s reaction to it.
    That the IRS targeted tea party groups for special scrutiny is wrong, and has been condemned by the president. He has also fired the acting IRS director. But let’s be clear about what happened.
    In the wake of the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision – the worst vote by that body since it put George W. Bush in the White House  – there’s been a massive influx of corporate-sponsored organizations that want a tax exempt status so they can get into politics and fight the president’s agenda.
    A tax exempt status is a privilege, not a constitutional right. No human or civil right that tea party members possess has been trampled upon. It’s important to remember that, although they will whine to the opposite effect.
    What is probably the most serious of the three situations is the fact that the Justice Dept. sought the phone records of AP journalists in an effort to get to the bottom of a leak. If there’s anything Nixonian about Barack Obama, it’s his obsession with leaks and “whistleblowers.”
    But to pursue that agenda at the expense of the press is absolutely wrong. The press has to be completely free to seek information that may well conflict with other information provided by the government. Nothing should even appear to conflict with the First Amendment guarantee of a free press.
    In the IRS matter and the AP controversy, the president has two very troublesome situations to deal with. He has already taken some measures to do exactly that, and will certainly make sure neither incident is repeated.
    But for Bachmann and everyone like her, don’t bring up Watergate if you don’t know anything about it. And none of these matters are a Watergate scandal; not even close.
    Yes, Congress will investigate, but don’t expect anything fair from the likes of Darrell Issa, the California tea party Republican who hates the president and especially hates Eric Holder, the attorney general.
    Here’s a legitimate Watergate comparison: Obama really does have the enemies that Nixon could only fantasize about. But if I were them, I wouldn’t be planning an impeachment party anytime soon.

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    Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at RickDem117@gmail.com.