Today’s First Read could almost be mistaken for a serious commentary on the Obama administration’s twin horror stories: Benghazi, and the revelation that the IRS has been targeting conservative and Tea Party and groups that teach about the Constitution. On the surface, it looks like Chuck Todd and company may be ready to ask tough and proper questions of the administration. But they’re not.
On the question of the IRS, Todd and his cohorts are mainly interested in how the GOP can “demagogue” the fact that the Internal Revenue Service blatantly abused its power.
More significantly, the IRS news is a political gift to a Republican Party whose base was strained on immigration (remember that Heritage Foundation study?) and even on guns (remember the tough questions Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeff Flake were getting?). Now, you’re seeing a GOP base united by two things they absolutely dislike: President Obama and the Internal Revenue Service. The news also is a gift to Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, or any incumbent Republican in Washington hoping to avoid a tough primary in 2014 — they get to demagogue the heck out of this story and show they will stand up for the Tea Party.
Yeah, Lindsey Graham is the real story here. Not the fact that after the Obama Democrats took a shellacking at the hands of Tea Party and constitution groups in 2010, the IRS just happened to start targeting them — while it left the likes of Media Matters entirely alone.
The fact that the US government cracked down on groups that teach the US Constitution is chilling and disturbing, and Americans deserve to know how high up the orders for that crackdown originated.
On Benghazi, Todd and his cohorts ask some questions. Just not any that could touch Obama in any way.
When it comes to this Benghazi controversy, the questions for non-partisans (because partisans are searching only for what supports what they believe): Why did State push for the big change in the talking points? Was this about pushing back on the CIA, because it thought the agency was deflecting responsibility since the Benghazi outpost was more CIA than State? Was this about State doing CYA regarding CIA warnings about diplomatic security?
Todd just identified himself as a partisan, in leaving out one of the more obvious questions: Did the Obama administration blame a movie to preserve its campaign narrative in which “Al Qaeda is on the run”? Related to that, were any Obama campaign operatives involved in the talking points editing in any way? Is there any connection between how the Obama administration treated Benghazi, and how it continues to mischaracterize the Ft. Hood massacre as “workplace violence”?
Apart from the talking points, where was President Obama and what was he doing during the Benghazi attack? Apparently one has to be a partisan to wonder what role the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces was performing when American officials and their security components were under terrorist attack.