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There Are Plenty of Scandals, Just Not These Ones


May 20, 2013|Stephen Markley

There’s a familiar template for the “scandals” that have so far “plagued” the Obama administration, in that they are all, for the most part, total bullshit and/or unfortunate events in the vast federal bureaucracy that have as much to do with the guy actually sitting in the Oval Office as how the busses are running on the north side of Chicago. We’ll start with the first two that were supposedly going to be “worse than Watergate.”

• Solyndra This was supposedly a case of a corrupt administration steering taxpayer money to a doomed solar manufacturer. In a case of hilarious displacement, given that previous Republican administrations have unashamedly flooded the pockets of the fossil fuel industry, conservatives convinced themselves the same was happening with Democrats and this solar company that lost the government the equivalent of a copper-shaving from a penny. In reality, some of the grants and loan guarantees from the stimulus didn’t pan out, others did, and still others from a program called ARPA-E may someday change the world. Overall the Department of Energy’s loan program was a success, no wrong-doing whatsoever was overturned by endless Republican investigations (the real waste of taxpayer dollars), and it turned out Solyndra failed because the price of solar panels keeps dropping as that technology becomes cheaper and more successful. The real story is not that solar is a bust but that it’s becoming the most promising energy technology since the discovery of petroleum.

• Fast and Furious This was the gun-running scandal in which, supposedly, the ATF trafficked guns across the Mexican border, which ended up killing an American DEA agent. The media horrifically misreported this story until Fortune Magazine’s Katherine Eban wrote a bombshell piece of investigative journalism called “The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal.” In the article she lays out that the ATF was never in the business of “walking” guns over the border. In fact, they were trying to intercept them by tracking the gunwalkers. Unfortunately Arizona gun laws are so “Mad Max”-f***ing crazy that the ATF basically has no power to stop anyone doing anything with firearms. The Arizona Republicans are inadvertently doing the bidding of Mexican drug cartels, who give straw purchasers gobs amounts of money to purchase insane numbers of guns in America’s Toys ‘R Us of personal weapons. You know, there was a president who did illegally sell guns to right-wing murder squads, though. Went by the name of Ronnie Reagan.

• Benghazi The sheer incoherence of what Republicans actually think the Obama administration did following the attack against the American embassy and the death Ambassador Christopher Stevens is basically all you need to know about this one. Now we’re down to a scandal about some revisions of talking points. As far as I can tell from my favorite conservative blogs, they think the Obama administration wanted to cover up the terrorist nature of the attack and blame it on that insulting video so… he could… um, win re-election? Is that it? You think the administration wanted to keep under wraps the CIA, every reporter on the planet, and the group that claimed responsibility for the attack until after the election? Sure, I guess that’s possible. It would be the stupidest, most pointless thing to ever attempt cover-up ever, but sure, whatever you say. Or—OR!—here’s a wild thought: a tragic attack occurred, there was initial confusion about who was responsible, the administration found out who was responsible, they talked openly a few days later about the terrorist group responsible, and then conservative media found out the word “Benghazi” was good enough to keep their mindless readers and viewers with a full chubby.

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