Monday, May 27, 2013

Why must Republicans be targeted when a scandal, or three in this case, hits a Democratic president?

In a twinkling [Barack Obama] has gone from a weakling Jimmy Carter to a modern-day George III
writes The Economist's Lexington as he compares the Benghazi scandal to the IRS scandal, suggesting Republicans are opportunists.

    Why must Republicans be targeted when a scandal, or three in this case, hits a Democratic president?  Were Democrats painted as opportunists, enraged or other, during Watergate and the Valerie Plame affair (no deaths in either)?  Were Democrats described as playing politics?

    Lexington claims (Notes on three scandals, May 18) that it was a "dizzying turnaround" to go from depicting Barack Obama as "a weakling Jimmy Carter" in the Benghazi scandal to "a modern-day George III" in regards to the IRS misconduct.

    The two positions are not incompatible, however, far from it.  Au contraire.  In the opinion of people on the right, Barack Obama is one more leftist who believes in the fairy tale that America, and the West, have no international enemies — none, at least, that are not of their own invention.  America, it turns out, is its own worst enemy.

    To the left, therefore, a good leader is someone who ignores or minimizes the misdeeds of foreign countries and who, with the simple power of the word, can heal the world — exactly as Obama has done with such states as Russia and China (conveniently ignoring such things as the imprisonment of opposition leaders, the killings of reporters, the delivery of missiles to Syria, saber-rattling in the China Sea, etc).  All the while taking on the clueless traditionalists at home.  Better yet, he is one who travels to countries around the world to apologize for America and the West.

    After the Arab Spring (for which George W Bush and his overthrow of Saddam Hussein get not an iota of recognition) and after Ben Laden's demise (all the work indubitably of one Barack Obama), we were told that, thanks to "smart" diplomacy, the newly-"democratized" Arab states were now our friends as well, that Al Qaeda had been defeated, and that terror was a thing of the past.

    When the phone call for help came from Benghazi, therefore, it proved the unthinkable — that the leftist fairy tale was defective — and the reaction of the apologizer-in-chief and his White House was first to freeze and later (I am being generous here) to twist the truth.

    Moreover, the camaraderie that the apologizer-in-chief seems to enjoy with foreign leaders, from elected leaders to autocrats, does not seem to be mirrored in his relations with Americans who don't believe in the same avant-garde dreams that he he does.

    Indeed, in this New Age mantra, as it happens, it is not true that there are no enemies; there is one exception — those in America (and in the West) who are so reactionary as to believe in enemies and to see through the other fairy tales — notably economic — of the left.

    And the voices of these (conservative) Americans must be silenced, minimized, or ridiculed, insofar as possible, and if these people can't be silenced, they must be dealt with ruthlessly.  And so it was that in this atmosphere, the operatives of IRS knew what targets to pick.

    Thus it is that Obama appears — quite consistently — as a weakling abroad while a tyrant at home (they are two sides of the same coin), which in turn explains why he is described as someone who bears no love for his country, or for his countrymen, or rather for those countrymen who aren't sophisticated enough to subscribe to the left's self-serving fairy tales.

From The Economist's Lexington column:
Republicans have duly pounced, and in doing so executed a neat pivot away from their Benghazi rage. In essence, the real charge driving their Benghazi scandal was one of dereliction of duty, and the insinuation that Mr Obama is too weak (or does not love his country enough) to use American might to keep his own envoys safe. Now Republicans have begun calling him a tyrant, willing to use government power to crush freedoms crafted by the founding fathers. In a twinkling he has gone from a weakling Jimmy Carter to a modern-day George III.
That may be a dizzying turnaround, but it makes political sense. The IRS row is, at a minimum, a gift to Republicans ahead of 2014 mid-term elections, while the AP row deals a double blow to a president who has disappointed supporters over civil liberties before, and suffers from chilly relations with the press.

More broadly, calling Democrats weak on national security used to be a vote-winner. Two costly wars have altered that. This may be the first lesson of the scandals now lapping at the White House door. Spend months attacking Mr Obama for using America’s might too cautiously, as in Libya, and he shrugs it off. Attack him for government overreach, and he is on the defensive. For supporters of an activist government, these are perilous times.
During the 2008 campaign five years ago, Lexington compared one of the candidates to Tricky Dick; but it was not Barack Obama