25 Years (And Counting) Of Fake GOP Outrage
The Republican Party and its allies in the right wing media specialize in generating and sustaining outrage. Stirring up anger is how the GOP motivates its voters and manipulates the press. Moreover, the very lucrative business model of the right wing media is all about maintaining a 24/7 outrage machine. It never stops. It also works and has had a significant (and very negative) impact on modern American history.
The history of fake GOP outrage began during the 1992 presidential campaign and the Clinton Presidency. That era also marked the emergence of right wing talk radio on the national scene and the Fox News Network. For years, the GOP railed about Bill Clinton’s affairs and they even tried to impeach him for lying under oath in a civil lawsuit that had been dismissed.
What we found out about Clinton’s accusers was that many of them were guilty of much, much greater sins than the ones they claimed they were so mad about. Then House Speaker Newt Gingrich was carrying on an affair with a junior staffer who was eventually his third wife. After Gingrich was ousted, he was replaced by Robert Livingston — who was forced to resign due to his own many affairs. The Speaker who actually presided over the impeachment of Clinton — Dennis Hastert — plead guilty to sexually abusing four boys. Then House Whip Tom DeLay committed perjury in a civil lawsuit over the breakup of his pest control business.
As it turned out, the GOP’s fake outrage over Bill Clinton turned out to be effective. The Republicans conned the mainstream press into following these fake scandals and it had a big influence on the 2000 election. This despite the fact that Clinton had a 65% approval rating in 2000.
The person who was probably most outraged over the Lewinsky matter was Al Gore. This influenced him to choose Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman to be his running mate. Gore selected Lieberman because he had been very quick to express outrage over the Lewinsky issue on the Senate floor. Lieberman added nothing to the ticket since he was from a Blue State that Gore was going to carry anyway. If Gore had selected then Florida Senator Bob Graham to be his running mate, Gore would’ve won the election and the country would have avoided the disastrous Bush Presidency.
The fake GOP outrage we experienced during the Clinton Administration was replicated during the Obama Administration. Perhaps the biggest source of outrage from the GOP during Obama’s Presidency was over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012 in which four American heroes died. The GOP sank so low that it began its assault on the Obama Administration even while the battle still raged in Benghazi. Subsequently, there were no less than 8 Congressional investigations of Benghazi conducted by GOP majority committees and none of them confirmed any of the right wing’s paranoid conspiracy theories.
What was never mentioned by the GOP and the mainstream press was that there were 13 embassy attacks during the George W. Bush Administration in which 61 people died. During the Bush years, there was no outrage from the GOP about these embassy attacks and no investigations. This proves once again that it was 8 years of fake GOP outrage during the Obama Administration over Benghazi. The GOP shamelessly exploited the deaths of four American heroes for crass partisan political purposes.
Republican fake outrage over ethics in government reached its apogee during the 2016 election cycle. The GOP went into full outrage mode over Hillary Clinton’s private email server and literally made that server the biggest issue of the campaign — bar none. The attacks over the private email server were especially audacious since many prominent Republicans had used private email accounts to conduct official business.
George W. Bush’s staff made extensive use of private email accounts from the RNC and went so far as to delete 22 million emails. Both Colin Powell and Condi Rice used private email accounts when they served as Secretary of State. Moreover, Mitt Romney purchased the email servers he used as Governor of Massachusetts and destroyed the entire email correspondence compiled during his four years as governor of Massachusetts. In addition, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry all used private email accounts to conduct official business.
Despite this brazen hypocrisy and fake outrage from the GOP, the mainstream press and the Clinton campaign never mentioned the extensive use of private email accounts by these prominent Republicans. As a result, millions of voters were misled by the GOP and the mainstream press. That is one of the many reasons why we ended up with Trump as the president.
Republican hypocrisy on the use of private email accounts has carried over into the Trump Administration. Many of Trump’s White House staffers — like the Bush Administration — are using RNC private email accounts. But we’ve heard no outrage from the GOP over this. Nada. Nothing.
One of the GOP’s big complaints during the campaign was that Clinton’s private email server caused her to allegedly be careless with classified information — even though there was never any evidence of any security breaches. Nevertheless, it is the Trump Administration itself that has already committed serious security breaches.
Trump himself continues to use an unsecured android phone to communicate and post tweets on the internet. At a recent meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan at his Florida estate, Trump conducted an open air situation room meeting over a recent North Korean missile test. This classified conversation occurred in a dining room in which the discussion was overheard by other diners and the wait staff.
Perhaps the biggest security breach of the nascent Trump Administration revolves around Michael Flynn’s short tenure as National Security Adviser. In late January, the Department of Justice warned the White House that Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Yet Flynn wasn’t fired by Trump until after three weeks had passed. During that three week period, Flynn had complete access to all U.S. intelligence secrets.
Flynn is just the tip of the iceberg of the emerging Russia scandal that has cast a dark cloud over the new administration. That burgeoning Russia scandal is one of the greatest examples ever of fake GOP outrage. For years, the GOP has postured as the party that is tough on Russia. During the Obama Administration, the GOP blamed him for the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea and claimed he was soft on Russia. Yet Obama and the international community hit Russia with devastating sanctions after that invasion. Currently, the Russians are desperate to have the sanctions lifted.
Since the election we found out that Putin and Russia had meddled in our elections with the goal of electing Trump. The Russians supported Trump because they are (justifiably) hopeful that Trump will lift the international sanctions. Recent revelations indicate that the Trump team was in regular contact with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. There is no benign way to explain frequent campaign contact with Russian intelligence. Campaigns just don’t do that. Ever.
Trump and the Republicans have responded to these allegations by either denying them or simply refusing to discuss them. Already, most Republican members of Congress have expressed no interest in investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections. As Rand Paul said: “I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”
So far, with the exception of Ben Sasse, Nebraska’s Congressional representatives haven’t commented on the explosive revelations coming out about the Russia scandal. Sasse has posted a few tweets that were mildly critical of Trump but he hasn’t done anything. At the same time, all five of our members of Congress have voted with Trump 100% of the time. It’s obvious that our Congressional delegation is emphasizing party over country.
As activists, we need to contact our members of Congress and demand the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Russia-Trump scandal. If our members of Congress ignore this request, then we need to vote them out in 2018. Already, several prominent political analysts have indicated that Trump’s unpopularity could lead to Democratic control of the House in 2018. We can do it! Let’s get it done!