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As everyone knows by now, the racist disapproval of Susan Rice traces primarily to her comments about Benghazi. The memos have now been sent out and the official line is that her comments about Benghazi were totally justified because – even though they were false – they were “talking points” that were written by…someone…else…and so yeah. So shut up.
After all, Susan Rice’s current job is (apparently) just to uncritically and unthinkingly read whatever “talking points” are written up by…whoever. Those “talking points” came directly from the official assessment of…someone…in the intelligence community. The entire intelligence community of the United States apparently Officially thought that the attack on the…mysteriously non-embassy-like but technically somewhat consul-type place (house?) in Benghazi was a spontaneous outcry over a Youtube video nobody’d ever heard of. So we can’t blame her in the slightest for saying as much and thereby totally misleading the people of the United States – that would be ‘shameless’. For more along these lines, you really should be reading Kevin Drum. Shameless!
None of this, of course, is to be contrasted with the issue of WMDs in Iraq a few years ago. As you’ll recall, the Official assessment of…someone…in the intelligence community was that Iraq had active WMD programs and whatnot. Big containers and cylinders marked ‘WMD’ and the like. Stacked in giant pyramids. In a big warehouse like the one where they put the Ark after they took it from Indy. All indications are, that’s what the official intelligence community officially thought. And so when Team Bush passed along that assessment, what did that make them?
LIARS. Mendacious liars of mendacity from Mendacia.
But the one thing just has nothing to do with the other so don’t think about this any further. Team Bush were LIARS for passing along incorrect and misleading intelligence-community offical talking-points but Susan Rice is so totally justified in doing so that it’s shameless (and of course, racist) to even suggest she should have done anything else. That’s just the way things are and I think we all understand that by now. Even me.
But I don’t want to pile on Susan Rice too much. Racist though I am, I actually don’t have that negative an opinion of her. How could I? I so barely know who she is that I just figured out this morning that she’s black. No, what I wanted to gripe about on this day is how the way we discuss these matters has become so totally retarded that I think it doesn’t bode well for…well, for democracy.
Let’s just back up for a second. Some kind of installation of the U.S. was assaulted and our ambassador was assassinated. Objectively, that’s a bad thing. But it does happen. As you’ll recall, I certainly wasn’t inclined to blame the administration for it or anything. I mean, bad stuff happens, and in anything like this there is a fog-of-warry problem. I understand that and reacted accordingly, even somewhat soberly (especially for me!) – see paragraphs near the end here.
But all of that presupposed not being outright lied to about what was going on. Serious question: Why doesn’t the left care about outright being lied to? Shouldn’t outright lying be – at the very least – well, you know, criticized by the self-proclaimed ‘Reality-Based Community’? Shouldn’t they evince at least some nonzero disapproval of the administration going around telling everyone that it was a ‘protest’ over a ‘Youtube video’? And of Obama giving some speech at the UN or wherever braying about how the future must not be won by the haters or whatever? When the whole concept was all based on a big fat slimy bag of lies in the first place?
For example, the ‘defense’ of Susan Rice being pushed now basically boils down to saying that her lies were Officially-Certified-By-Someone-Else-As-OK Lies. So…what? So it’s okay?? Huh? Is that really where the inquiry and curiosity ends for the ‘Reality-Based Community’™?
I think this is where a tribal defensiveness kicks in and that’s the problem. Obviously a big part of this is that there was an election coming up. But come on, Kevin Drums of the world. Now that the election’s over and your Biracial Angel is safely ensconced for another four, show at least SOME goddamned interest in actual facts and truth. Is that too much to ask?
The premise of a democracy is that informed, intelligent citizens will correct the errors of leaders and hold them accountable. But how can anyone be held accountable for anything in this environment of knee-jerk wagon-circling?
And I think a big part of the problem is the concept of impeachment. Because inevitably, in any such discussion that touches on critique of an incumbent President, his wagon-circling tribe retreats immediately toward their line in the sand: “But that’s not ‘impeachable’!” Having thus established that the offense – whatever it is – isn’t ‘impeachable’, the issue is deemed settled. I mean after all, if it’s not ‘impeachable’, what’s left to discuss? Let’s just Move On™.
As a result, there’s no middle ground between ‘what the people in power did is totally fine’ and ‘the people in power should be impeached’. There’s no room for critical thinking – for rational discussion of governors’ actions, for criticism of those actions, for correction of those actions. It’s all-or-nothing: prove ‘impeachable’, or shut up.
And obviously, that’s not a recipe for democratic accountability at all.
The comedy/tragedy of it is, I’m totally willing to stipulate that ‘impeachment’ is off the table here. Seriously! I would immediately sign a document metaphysically promising that President Obama won’t be ‘impeached’ over these events, if it would at least lead to an actual critical discussion and inquiry of them for God’s sake. And why would I do that?
Because – and this is where the comedy comes in – can we just get real here: no President is ever going to be impeached and removed from office. Ever again. For anything. It is never going to happen. That card was played and neutralized for good on 2/12/1999 when the Senate failed to convict President Clinton. When that completely politicized acquittal came down, ‘impeachment’ as a tool of checks/balances over the executive branch was removed from the national toolkit once and for all. Due to that act, whatever power ‘impeachment’ may once have had as a corrective/restraining force over an executive branch has now been neutralized. Effectively, for all intents and purposes, the Constitution has been amended, and ‘impeaching’ has been removed.
So all these bootlicking Obama-defenders circling the wagons around him are actually being hyper-defensive over nothing. There is, literally, nothing to worry about in the ‘impeachment’ department. Not going to happen. Never going to happen. You can rest easy. You can stop worrying about it.
So can we actually talk about Presidential actions now? And criticize them when warranted? For real?
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