Sunday, January 26, 2014

Scandal...the most over used and abused word in politics

Calling every  failing of those in high places  “scandals”   has become the most overused  and abused  word in politics   these past 12 months. .   Politicians beware.  Voters are smarter than you think.  All scandals are not equal and you may be able to fool some  voters part of the time, but not all  voters all of the time. 
Since Watergate, all those seeking to take down a powerful person have found scandal mongering to be the most effective tool in the political arsenal. 24/7 ideologically partisan news channels and eager beaver investigative reporters are the megaphones, hoping to make  any shortcoming the equal of Watergate by call it a “scandal”, too. Calling it one does not make it one.  
 Voters have shown the ability to tell the difference between a serious scandal, and one that is a lesser offense that is not a game changer.  The sexual misconduct of Pres. Bill Clinton may have gotten him impeached , his policies and execution of his duties may have been delayed, but they were  not stopped. Voters saw through the politics of that impeachment process: an attempt to cripple a leader with morals charges  to block his agenda. In contrast, Watergate coverup and dirty deeds traced directly to Pres. Richard Nixon’s scheming  resulted in his resignation to avoid impeachment.
Hillary Clinton and   Ben Ghazi and New Jersey Governor  Christ Christie’s Bridgegate, and rogue IRS agents discriminating against conservatives groups  in a distant office  are  hawked to media consumers as equally serious “scandals”.  These  share very different  DNA, one about political hard ball  and charges of misuse of power  by Christie’s officials  and another, Clinton, about  failure to use power and misjudgments of underlings and even of a victim himself.  True, this resulted in four dead Americans. IRS discrimination against conservative groups were never traced to Pres. Obama.  What all  have in common is they are as much about the presidential race in 2016  and midterms 2014  and the fodder they give potential opponents.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at his epic news conference,  “politics ain’t beanbag” as he defended  himself against charges his staff took  revenge on political “enemies”  by blocking traffic on  the George Washington Bridge. New accusations that  he used rewarding of Hurricane Sandy repair funds as a bludgeon are emerging   So far it looks like he plays politics with a hockey puck. Whether it rises to a crime and he is found to hold the smoking gun is not yet known nor is it to be automatically assumed.  Voters should wait and see.

Wait and see about Ben Ghazi should be over. The bi-partisan  report  issued in January by the Senate Intelligence Committee  moved Ben Ghazi from the Fox chatterers to the main stream topic, and   it did pin blame on the State Department .  The decisions that contributed to the tragedy were never traced to policy directives from  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The buck did not get passed to her.   But for now  Ben Ghazi   becomes a continuing “scandal”  in the eyes of the GOP .  Some Republicans vowed  just to ignore the report and to keep on putting a fictitious  smoking gun in her hands. Most voters will not buy that line. The evidence is just not there.

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