Thing is, we’re not Republicans, and most of the authoritarians on the (D) side of the aisle are at least trying to keep one foot in the Reality-Based Community. We can’t just scream NIXON DID IT FIRST AND BESIDES REAGAN WAS WORSE AND ALSO DUBYA? WAR CRIMINAL! (which would at least have the advantage of being true statements) and then pretend the made-up scandal-of-the-moment never happened. Events must be discussed, and even mistakes. Consequences will be explored. But unlike the Authoritarians (like any religion, it’s a mindset and a lifestyle) “we” Democratic voters, DFHs, progressives (pick your label) don’t have a fixed template for discussing missteps by “our guys” that don’t do more harm than good. What can be said that can’t be misinterpreted, especially when the other side is expert in misinterpretation, and our (presumed) allies are hypersensitive in a thousand different ways?
Which leads to weird portmanteau articles, like Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast on “The Coming Attempt to Impeach Obama“:
… I think the notion of impeachment is industrial-strength insane. There is utterly no proof that the President Obama even knew anything directly about the shifting Benghazi responses, let alone did something about them (yes, folks; under the Constitution, the President must do something). And as for the Internal Revenue Service story, from what we now know, those transgressions were committed by IRS staffers in Cincinnati who have never been closer to Obama than their television sets… Impeachment is crazy… and the idea that Obama has any direct culpability in either of these matters is, given what we know today, utter madness. Okay?
But this is my point: utter madness is what today’s Republicans do. You can present to me every logical argument you desire. Benghazi at the end of the day was a terrible tragedy in which mistakes, bad mistakes, were certainly made, and in which confusion and the CYA reflex led to some bad information going out to the public initially, but none of this remotely rises to the level of high crime. The IRS cock-up was just that, a mistake by a regional office. I get all this, and I agree with you.
But what we think doesn’t matter. I can assure you that already in the Pavlovian swamps of the nutso right, the glands are swelling. Theirs is a different planet from the one you and I inhabit….
… They do their base’s bidding, not America’s. How many times do you need to see them do this before you accept that it is the reality? And now there’s an added element. They want to gin up turnout among their base for next year’s elections. And if they gin it up enough, and the Democratic base stays home, they could end up holding the House and taking the Senate. And if they have both houses, meaning that the vote in the House would not be certain to hit a Senate dead-end, well, look out.
I hope the White House knows this. I hope they understand, I hope the President himself understands, that the fever has not broken and will not break. It might crescendo right up to his very last day in office. And yes, a lot of this Benghazi stuff is about Hillary Clinton. But not all of it. And the IRS thing, which Drudge led with for two days in a row and may yet be bigger than Benghazi, isn’t about her at all. If my worst fears are never realized—well, good, obviously. But it will only be because they couldn’t identify even a flimsy pretext on which to proceed. Never put the most extreme behavior past them. It is who they are, and it is what they do.