What comes next

So, obviously the big magilla of the week is over the scandals folding over the Obama administration, with Benghazi, the IRS show, and the AP phone-record-gathering allowing partisans to slaver over the idea that the administration is at the very least done politically, if not on that slow boat toward impeachment.     It is my opinion that by the end of the summer impeachment is a distinct possibility.  Not because any of these issues merit it- they certainly don’t- but because the perversion of language, media, and the insular nature of our politics describes a set path, even if few want to go down the road.

Take the IRS scandal.   The obvious comparison, made in many places, is with Nixon using the IRS to attack political enemies.   This comparison is getting made so much, it is hardening into fact.   And it is absolutely ridiculous, a series of historical non-sequitors slathered over with a a slimy coat of hysterical frothing.   No one was audited; none of these groups were denied their status.  At most, they endured delays and had to answer arduous questions.   Now, one can say that their activities were curtailed as they hovered in a bureaucratic limbo, but they also were not required to become tax-exempt.   No one forced them to reach for this status.   There is no doubt that the IRS employees acted in a dumb and unfair manner, but to compare this even to Nixon is to not just stretch the truth, but tie it to the rack and quarter it.   And yet, that doesn’t stop a major news station from having guests compare it to Nazi Germany, because of course.

Or take Benghazi: the whole uproar is over the who said what and when, on the Sunday talk shows.  This is nonsense boiled down to its purest essence.   This is an impossible distraction from what could be real security issues, or, as Joshua Foust points out, from the very real questions about the mission creep of the CIA  and its role in national security.

But this post isn’t really about the meat of these issues (the AP one being the most legitimately troubling), but about how, in a very real way, the meat no longer matters.   Does anyone really believe that pointing out how not one of those groups were denied status is actually going to change anything?   Does anyone think that because the Republicans were the ones pushing for an investigation into the Yemen leaks, the investigation of which is what led to the AP phone-gathering, that they’re going to say to Obama, “well done”?  Or that the majority of Dems won’t find a way to justify it?

(note: that wasn’t an attempt at  Broderian equivalence-harvesting.   I firmly believe that there is one side who has completely gone of the rails, but, as a friend of mine said, selective memory is a trait of anyone political.)

Because it doesn’t matter.  The is an inexorable logic to impeachment, or at least to getting as near to it as possible before it explodes in the faces of those pushing for it.   Because there is no longer any need for facts.  Blogs will argue, pundits will go back and forth, there will be a rough general consensus that certain things are overblown, and other things are complete nonsense, but that won’t matter.  There is no real consequence in going against what the majority of people believe.  Huge majorities were in favor of expanded background checks, but that died a public and blood-choked death, and there wasn’t a single thing anyone could do about it.

We’re calcified and lumbering and in thrall to the worst.   As long as you can scream loudly and get your talking points out over the madding dim, you’ve won.  And so I think that there will be enough enthusiasm in the base, a not-insubstantial-number of whom believe that Obama orchestrated the attack so that Amb. Stevens would be captured, leading to Obama exchanging him for the Blind Shiek and therefore guaranteeing election, despite that being absolute gibbering insanity in all its forms,  that the drums will keep beating until people have been lured dumb and blind and enraged and crazy into the waiting nets.   Because even though the logic underneath the scandal has been exposed, the cruel logic of politics and the odd weightlessness of language is going to lead us into strange places this sweating summer.

3 thoughts on “What comes next

  1. Cool blog folks. Looks really clean, looking forward to reading it.

    I think the “scandals!”, will blow over. I fully expect them to be beaten to a bloody death, on every screen, for the rest of the year but there’s just nothing here that can seriously hurt, Obama.

    The fevered pundocracy will end up beaten the already mutiliated wiretapping or Benghazi corpse, well into Xmas, which will be a distressing sight for all mind, but events in the ME and maybe more nasty derivative belches will push this noise into the background. Unless, I’m totally wrong, again, for the third time today.

    I think the interesting thing about Obama’s scandal cycle is how it has revealed your pundits and some journalists to be either unhinged or under extraordinary pressure to capture revenue juicy eyeballs. That and the fact that people are now addicted to hyperbole headlines: News, policy (Heaven forbid a policy scandal. What would that even look like?) politics is now distilled into a pathos espresso, necked down by an ADD public, desperate to be outraged!

    Eventually, it will get to the stage where the pathos espresso addiction that masquerades as debate has to be treated as a public health issue with Obamacare covering the cost of DeDrudging treatment in local clinics, part funded by the WHO and UNESCO who operate the clinics black helicopters. It’s an outrage!

    (Best of luck with the blog.)

  2. IP, your line here “I think the interesting thing about Obama’s scandal cycle is how it has revealed your pundits and some journalists to be either unhinged or under extraordinary pressure to capture revenue juicy eyeballs.” I think bores itself right down to the bone of it, which is (partly) why I don’t think this will blow over. Journos are bored, and despite the swampy nothingness of a Washington summer they still have to work and book guests, and so this will simmer at a low level of nonsense for a while.

    And yes, I think, historically, that would mean it would eventually die. But look at the best ceiling debate, or the gun control votes. There is no punishment for being insane. Most of the world could stand athwart them yelling “ye god, stop!” and they wouldn’t have to. My uncomfortable Guinness-soaked gut gives me the burbling feeling that come Sept or Oct we’re going to be asking ourselves how it came to this point.

    I hope I am wrong, though. If I am, I promise to delete this post. The cover-up is always the key.

  3. Pingback: The Ken Starr Times Puffery and The Normalization of the Paranoid | Shooting Irrelevance

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