Skip to main content

As if suddenly shouting Squirrel will make all their 2016 Presidential troubles melt away like butter.  But it won't, not when this particular deflection is so obvious that even David Gregory the half-conscious talking-point spigot was able to pick up on it last week when Reince Preibus attempted it.

NBC host David Gregory suggested on Sunday that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was guilty of “some deflection” after he tried to turn New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) bridge scandal into and indictment on President Barack Obama over Benghazi.


Gregory pointed out that Priebus had accused Obama of setting a tone that allowed scandals to happen and wondered if the same was true of Christie.

“Did he set the tone because that’s what you said the president did?” the NBC host said.

“He trusted people that lied to him and he fired those people,” Priebus argued. “The president doubles down on [Attorney General] Eric Holder, he doubles down on [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton and [former IRS official] Louis Learner and [National Security Advisor] Susan Rice. It’s the opposite effect.

There’s some deflection going on here, and I respect your position,” Gregory observed.

No, you really shouldn't respect that opinion because it's based on a false premise.  Attorney General Holder didn't implement and cover up anything, certainly not the so-called Fast and Furious Scandal.  Neither did Secretary Clinton and Dr. Rice, but we do know that members Chris Christie's staff and his political appointees deliberately and with glee carried out an act of political retribution that inconvenienced far more people than did the IRS while putting lives at risk on the eve of the anniversary of 9-11.

No amount of false equivalency and fake comparisons are going to erase that fact.  The only real questions left are was this an ongoing pattern and practice of the Christie Administration (which it just might have been as the allegations of withheld Sandy relief funds by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and others - such as the Mayor of Long Branch who says he got "Enhanced Access" after endorsing Chrisite - have come to light) and just how direct involved and aware of this was Christie himself despite his claims otherwise?

The simple reason Conservatives keep bringing these other issues up is the fact that the Christie Scandal Scares them.  It shows that Republicans are the ones who seek and implement political payback in exactly the way that they keep imagining that the President has done, when he in fact hasn't.

We haven't heard the last drip of revelations in the saga of the Christie Administration's Bully Tactics, not by a long shot.  But of course for conservatives, they've already heard far too much.   Take for example Rudy Guiliani who said the entire investigation is a "Partisan Witch-Hunt" simply because Democratic members of the NJ Assembly found it "unbelievable" that Governor Christie was completely in the dark even after four months of inquiry into the circumstances of the bridge lane shutdown.

"It would seem to me that the assemblyman has He's announced he doesn't believe Governor Christie. I don't even know how he could come to that conclusion," Giuliani said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Every fact seems to indicate that Governor Christie is telling the truth. Whether he is or he isn't, that's what the investigation is for."
If the standard was that anyone who expresses skepticism of the chief executive while conducting an inquiry into the administration of the opposite party should STEP DOWN for such remarks, then why exactly hasn't Darrel issa done exactly that long ago?

Republicans have SCREAMED at the President "You Lie!" during the middle of a joint-session of congress, yet that person is still a member of that body.

As it turns out Christie's claim that noone in his administration knew anything about the lane closures until after the event was a bald-faced Lie.

As Reported by Rachel Maddow.

“That means that during the shutdown, three people who work in the governor’s office are emailing about the ongoing bridge lane shutdown and the disaster that it’s causing and the allegation that it is politically motivated,” Maddow said. “There’s no discussion whatsoever about there being some traffic study, which the governor says was the prevailing belief about what was happening with that bridge.”


“The governor’s top staff were discussing the shutdown — the effect of it, the allegations of political retribution, and the mayor of Fort Lee in provocative terms while the shutdown was still happening,” Maddow explained. “Despite Governor Christie’s denials, it seems like something was going on between the governor’s office and that specific mayor, that specific man. And lots of people who work for Governor Christie and who work in the governor’s office and the governor’s inner circle were in discussions about that shutdown while it was happening.”

So there's that reason to doubt the Governor's veracity on the matter since his claims don't match up to the evidenciary record.  This story will continue to percolate as more and more of his claims continue to unravel.

But what about the IRS Scandal?  Wasn't that a case of similar political retribution by Democrats against Conservatives?  Why doesn't the media talk about how the Obama Administration tried to stick it to the Tea Party?  Why the Cover-UP?

Well, because, that's not what happened.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a draft letter to committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) that congressional investigators have discovered training materials from an July 2010 “Screening Workshop” that prove IRS agents were told to be on the lookout for groups from both sides of the political spectrum.

A PowerPoint presentation from the workshop told IRS processors to screen for names that look like “tea party,” “patriots,” ” 9/12 Project,” and “progressive.” It noted that such groups ”may be more than 50% political,” which could disqualify them from tax-exempt status.


Earlier this month, House Democrats released IRS documents showing that terms such as “progressive,” “health care legislation” and “medical marijuana” appeared on a multipart “Be on the Lookout” list, or BOLO, that helped agents determine which groups deserved additional screening.

This may explain why in the end, no Conservative group was denied their tax-exempt status, but a progressive group was.  If the goal was some type of political "Pay-back" for the Tea Party, this is a rather weak way to go about it.  If anything the Obama Administration was actually too quick to apologize and assume the worst of themselves, before there was sufficient time to fully uncover all the facts.

But then what about the Fast and Furious Scandal, wear the Obama Administration had some plan to let people have lots of guns so that they could then turn around and complain that too many people have guns or some-such.  Isn't that bigger and more serious than Bridge-Gate since some of those guns killed some people, including one Border Patrol agent?

Well, no, because that's not what happened.

Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.

Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.


It was nearly impossible in Arizona to bring a case against a straw purchaser. The federal prosecutors there did not consider the purchase of a huge volume of guns, or their handoff to a third party,  sufficient evidence to seize them. A buyer who certified that the guns were for himself, then handed them off minutes later, hadn't necessarily lied and was free to change his mind. Even if a suspect bought 10 guns that were recovered days later at a Mexican crime scene, this didn't mean the initial purchase had been illegal. To these prosecutors, the pattern proved little. Instead, agents needed to link specific evidence of intent to commit a crime to each gun they wanted to seize.

So the ATF plan - which began in 2006 under President Bush - wasn't to just let guns get away and disappear into the night, it was to catch gun-runners unfortunately that LAWS were fairly permissive in this area when it comes to the ability of people to openly resell any number of weapons to ANYONE they might choose.

I haven't seen Congress pass any laws to make straw-purchasing more difficult lately? Have you?  Didn't think so.

But what about Benghazi and the "Stand Down" Order, where the President's Administration just decided to let one of our Ambassadors die at the hands of Al Qeada?

Yeah, well, that didn't happen either.

Driving the Republican jihad was a claim, first reported in October 2012 by Fox News, that CIA personnel had wanted to respond more quickly to the Benghazi attack but were ordered to “stand down,” perhaps by political higher-ups. Although this claim was promptly rebutted by CIA officials, it was repeated by Fox News at least 85 times, according to a review by the liberal advocacy group Media Matters. This barrage fueled Republican charges that the Democrats were engaging in a coverup.

The Senate intelligence report addressed this inflammatory charge head-on. “The committee explored claims that there was a ‘stand down’ order given to the security team at the annex. Although some members of the security team expressed frustration that they were unable to respond more quickly to the mission compound, the committee found no evidence of intentional delay or obstruction by the chief of [the CIA] base or any other party.”

The Senate panel also rejected the insinuation, made repeatedly by Republicans, that the Obama administration failed to scramble available military assets that could have defended the Benghazi annex and saved the lives of the four American victims. “There were no U.S. military resources in position to intervene in short order in Benghazi,” the report says flatly. “The committee has reviewed the allegations that U.S. personnel . . . prevented the mounting of any military relief effort during the attacks, but the Committee has not found any of these allegations to be substantiated.

I'm sure it would shock some conservatives to learn this but the Benghazi consulate was not right next door to the Embassy in Tripoli.  Libya is actually twice the size of Texas, so a military rescue effort overland from Tripoli to Benghazi would have to travel over 628 miles.
A long range attack on a Hot Combat Zone from the Air when you have no eyes or ears on the ground would have been worse than reckless.  Also - the Talking Points that Susan Rice used on the Sunday Talk shows were written by the CIA, not the Obama Administration.
Perhaps the silliest aspect of the Benghazi affair was the focus on the errant “talking points” prepared for Congress, which cited incorrect intelligence about “spontaneous demonstrations” in Benghazi that wasn’t corrected by the CIA until a week after the points were delivered on Sunday talk shows by Susan Rice, then U.N. ambassador.
As it turns out, over a year later, there just might have been something to the CIA's original assessment that this attack was at least in part sparked by a controversial anti-muslim video.  It's just that the people who responded in Libya where a Civil War had just occurred and many of the populace were heavily armed, came with RPGs and AK47s instead of spay-paint.

Some of them may have been pro-Al Qeada, some may not.  But we knew that was a possibility when we decided to side with the Libyan rebels against Qaddafi in the first place, just as there is a similar risk in Syria against Assad. Those are the waters we swim in that part of the world.

Yes, it's true that attack could have been prevented, if assets had already been in place. More security could have been deployed at the consulate, even though the late Ambassador himself had a tendency to eschew such Security because he preferred the hands-on approach with the people of Libya, but it's not like there was a plot to leave him dangerously exposed when people knew he was in danger.

I mean, it's not like there was an August 6th PDB warning that an attack on the Benghazi Consulate was Imminent or something.  Who could possibly callously ignore something as direct and pointed as that?

Oh wait, yeah, well, anywho...

Although it is fair to say that IRS/Tea Party, Fast and Furious and Benghazi were all tragic bunglings - some with catastrophic results - none of these were Deliberate Attempts by members of the Obama Administration to ATTACK THEIR ENEMIES.

They really weren't.

However, that is exactly what happened with Christie's BridgeGate.  Not all scandals are made alike, and in the case of these four One of these Things is definately NOT like the others.  We have nearly all the answers on the IRS, on Fast and Furious and on Benghazi.  We don't yet with Bridge-Over-Christie's-Troubled-Waters.

And right now the only real question with Christie-Gate is how many times did it happen and how far up did it go?


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site