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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If It's Not Racism, Then It's Another Kind of Crazy

Amb. Susan Rice
One of the great joys of the post-election political landscape is watching Republicans struggle with the BS with which they've hobbled themselves. Chief among these is the whole Benghazi affair. If you want a measure of how crazy the rightwing freakout over the attack on our consulate there actually is, just take it down and look at it for a bit. The whole argument behind the GOP "logic" works like this: knowing the attack was terrorism, President Obama sent out his minions to lie all about it. Why? Because if everyone knew it was a pre-planned terrorist attack and not a protest that got out of hand, Obama wouldn't be reelected. Not sure why we're supposed to believe that (and no one's actually explained it), but there you go. The important thing to remember is that it's all a big coverup.

Anyway, the coverup was uncovered-up before the election and Obama sailed to reelection anyway. At this point, the whole conspiracy theory is looking pretty sick. No one but Republicans cared about Benghazi much, so the whole "coverup" theory was done for from the gitgo. After all, why risk a scandal to avoid something that was clearly not scandalous -- or even politically hazardous? In the court of public opinion, Barack Obama was cleared -- resoundingly.

And it was a surprise to no one but the right. All during the campaign, Benghazi wasn't even a blip on the issues radar. Polling showed pretty much no one all that worked up over it. But the right was sure that everyone was going to lose it over Benghazi any minute now. If they just kept up the pressure, they could turn this into a major scandal -- despite the distinct absence of anything actually scandalous.

Now that the election is over and the public failed to freak out over the GOP's big package of nothing, they're kind of stuck with Benghazi. Maybe they think that to just drop it now that it's failed to serve its purpose would be to give away the game and admit the whole thing was BS all along. So this dead horse must be thoroughly beaten. If only there were some way out. A distraction, maybe. Some sort of victim card they could play or something.


Aha! Here it is. A Washington Post editorial titled, "The GOP’s bizarre attack on Susan Rice." The piece deals with a letter written by Rep. Jeff Duncan that claims "Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public" about Benghazi.

Well, yeah. "Widely viewed" by wingnuts. Everyone else lives in reality, where -- according to the Post -- "established facts" state otherwise.

But being accused of just pulling stuff out of their collective butt isn't enough to rile up the right. They're used to that, since they do it all the time. No, what's getting under their skin is being accused of racism.

James Taranto, Wall Street Journal:

...[The Post editorial] focuses on the critics rather than their choice of words. Here's the passage that outrages Jacobson: "Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can't know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy."

Let's examine this argument carefully. The Post acknowledges that "we can't know their hearts." But it finds a (literally) prima facie reason to suspect them of invidious motives: Almost all of them are persons of pallor. The Post is casting aspersions on Duncan and his colleagues based explicitly on the color of their skin. And it is accusing them of racism!

I'm going to go ahead and guess that the Washington Post editorial board has more than a few white people on it. Just a hunch. Taranto's accusation of "anti-white bigotry" is laughable BS.

But the Congressional Black Caucus? Not a lot of white people there. Could the accusation of racism be, in itself, racist?

I'm going to go ahead and say no. The problem with all of this is that the Right's attacks on Amb. Rice have been completely debunked and the whole thing has devolved into a clown show.

So, if we can accuse the Black Caucus of anything, it's of trying to figure out what irrational thought process is behind all this. Racism is as good an explanation as any, although we can't rule out madness or alcohol or drug abuse. If the Republicans who signed Duncan's letter don't want to be accused of just plain lying, then they have to be prepared for the inevitable speculation -- what is wrong with their heads, then?

As I said, the GOP has pretty much done this to themselves. Even people like John McCain are starting to realize this is a loser. It's fun to be outraged, but it helps to actually have something to be outraged about -- and there's no there there. The smartest thing would be to just drop the whole affair and hope everyone forgets it was ever a thing.

But these are Republicans and they don't do things like that. They'll ride this thing all the way down to the pavement.


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