COMMUNITY VOICES | Winners and losers in the Obama investigations


Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it…Obama in a lose/lose position in what is a trifecta of attacks on his administration. But not so fast!  There are nuances, blowback, and a variety of mitigating circumstances which make this conclusion not as obvious as it seems. And some reasons are even counter-intuitive.

LOSER: Congress. With ratings already in the toilet, anyone who follows (mostly conservative) congress people on television has to notice their sanctimonious and disingenuous concern about our nation’s future claiming an IRS seemingly out of control; and the DOJ unconstitutionally grabbing  phone records from the AP. Was all this wrong? Sure, but it is not placing our great country on the verge of collapse as some have actually claimed. This is pure nonsense, but even with little traction it is apparently all the political capital the GOP can muster right now, and they will play it out to the end (which one can only hope is soon)! 

Regarding the hearings, what we see is a bunch of angry old white guys chewing away on witnesses without much to show for it. At any rate, angry old white guys is the Republican brand now, and it isn’t too attractive.

As for Benghazi, no doubt it is a true tragedy. We must find ways to better secure our brave diplomats who serve in dangerous areas. But that is not the point of the inquiry. The red meat for the Republicans would be to find some thread leading up to the White House. That is not (and likely will not) happen.  Another wasteful cul de sac for the investigators – and taxpayers.

NEUTRAL: The IRS. How could that be? What they did was wrong, and they are being blasted from all sides for it. The reason is it does not matter, because the IRS is intensely disliked anyway. This is just more reason to dislike them. They were never going to have a shining image – even Hager the Horrible has been in constant conflict with them as far back as (comic) Viking days when they come to his door in black hoods and with big sacks to collect their daily booty.  Sure the guilty will be punished, and that should end it; but it won’t change their image; it will still be lousy.

WINNER: The Tea Party. Nothing can help this party, (which is supposedly not a party), more than to be attacked by the hated IRS. They have become victims. They can now plea for our sympathy. They have garnered attention and publicity they could never get on their own. And it may have bonded them with key GOP candidates in the next election. Oh, that’s right; they are not supposed to endorse candidates under their new found 501C4 status. See below.

LOSER: The electoral process. The SCOTUS Citizens United case along with what will now be a much more liberal interpretation of those organizations claiming 501C4 status will just pour more obscene amounts of money into an electoral process that is already awash in obscene amounts of money.  To be factual, while it is totally wrong to discriminate in the approval process as the IRS did, many of these organizations that are now tax exempt have no right or basis to enjoy that status.

WINNER: The White House. Another counter-intuitive selection. Why? Because so far the investigations into all three “scandals” do not lead there. Benghazi fell away with the release of the White House emails. The AP uproar is mitigated run by the DOJ’s action as part of a terrorist investigation, with no paper trail leading up to Obama. And the IRS investigation (so far) shows it to be internal to that department.  If, as expected, the White House emerges unscathed, they will end up another victim of publicly disliked partisan politics.

LOSER:  Logic. Where is Aristotle when we need him? The father of logical fallacies would be appalled at what he would find today in these events. Here are a few. Rationalization: whereby people choose the assumptions that best fit the conclusion they prefer. In fact, psychological experiments show that most people start with conclusions they desire, and then reverse engineer arguments to support them. The ad hominem argument is any that attempts to counter another’s claims or conclusions by attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument itself. My favorite is ad ignorantiam: the truth of a claim is established only on the basis of lack of evidence against it. An  example of such fallacy is to argue that unicorns exist because there is no evidence against such a claim.

BIG LOSER: The American people. Undoubtedly we have serious and significant problems facing our country. Impending immigration reform; debt ceiling issues; health care and entitlement concerns; tax reform; and the GOP’s past election favorite…jobs, jobs, jobs. Yet now we have a Congress engaged in multiple hearings, costly investigations, and massively time consuming silliness none of which will have any valued return for our country. Even worse it polarizes an already too polarized legislative body.  Our best hope is that the final losers in this activity will be the players who are engaged in these wasteful ventures.