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GOP Is Addicted To Phony Scandals

One of the biggest obsessions of the modern GOP and right wing media — along with deficit financed tax cuts for the wealthy — are phony Democratic scandals. The GOP and its accomplices in the right wing media have been trying to create Democratic scandals since the Clintons emerged on the national scene in 1992. On closer inspection, every one of these scandals has turned out to be bogus.

Between 1992 and 2001, the “liberal” mainstream media and three GOP special prosecutors investigated Bill and Hillary Clinton at a cost to the taxpayers of $70 million. For eight years, we heard a lot about Whitewater, FBI files, Rose law firm files, the travel office firings, the death of Vince Foster and Monica Lewinsky. At the end of the day, all of these “scandals” fell flat. The Clintons were charged with nothing and Bill Clinton left office with a 65% approval rating.

This GOP obsession with phony scandals resumed during the Obama Administration. The right wing became especially fired up about the tragic deaths of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012. (Interestingly enough, the GOP was silent about the 13 embassy attacks during the Bush 43 Administration and the deaths of 61 Americans in those attacks.)

Eight Republican majority Congressional committees investigated Benghazi and failed to confirm any of the conspiracy theories generated by the likes of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Yet every Republican I know still fervently believes in those conspiracy theories.

The Clinton private email server was discovered in conjunction with one of the Benghazi investigations and became the biggest issue in the 2016 election campaign. The “liberal” media fell for this bogus “scandal” hook, line and sinker. According to a study by the Columbia Journalism Review: “In just six days, the New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all the policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election.”

In any event, the Clinton email server was investigated by then lifelong Republican James Comey and she wasn’t charged with anything. As a matter of fact, there were no indictments during the Obama Administration. It was the cleanest Administration in U.S. history.

Despite the fact the GOP controlled all three branches of government during the first two years of the Trump Administration, they still couldn’t get over the fact that Hillary Clinton wasn’t charged. Phony scandals allegedly involving Hillary Clinton are still a regular topic on Fox News and AM radio. Anytime there is bad news about Trump and/or the GOP, Fox puts Hillary Clinton’s emails (and other imaginary “scandals”) front and center.

In 2017–18, the Republicans were absolutely convinced that the Justice Department Inspector General’s report would prove that Comey went easy on Clinton and she should have been charged regarding the use of the private email. Alas, once again, the GOP’s conspiracy theories proved to be wrong. (Are we beginning to see a pattern here?) The 2018 Horowitz report concluded that with respect to the FBI’s handling of the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of email: “The Justice Department found no evidence political bias affected the investigation.”

The Inspector General also investigated the much ballyhooed tarmac meeting of 2016 between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch. The DOJ Inspector General found that there was “no evidence” that Clinton and Lynch discussed the email investigation or “engaged in any other inappropriate discussion.”

That Horowitz report didn’t convince the House Republicans so they opened up their own investigation of Comey’s investigation of the Clinton email controversy. The House Republicans issued their report on Friday, December 28, 2018. It was a quintessential Friday night document dump aimed at drawing as little attention as possible.

The two year investigation produced a seven page letter which revealed no new insights as to how the federal law enforcement agencies allegedly erred. According to the Politico website: “ Gowdy and Goodlatte also say they can’t conclude based on evidence they reviewed whether a case could have been brought against Clinton. That cuts against the pro-Trump orthodoxy that enough evidence already existed to charge her.”

Incoming House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff reacted to yet another failed GOP investigation as follows: “This is how the House Republican effort to undermine Mueller by investigating the investigators ends. Not with a bang, but with a Friday, buried-in-the-holidays whimper, and one foot out the door.”

The lesson here is to never believe GOP allegations of Democratic scandals. The Republicans and the right wing media are addicted to phony scandals because their followers believe them — regardless of the facts. The GOP uses them to mobilize voters and the right wing media gets higher ratings. It’s just that simple.

The challenge for us as Democrat is that the “liberal” mainstream media is gullible and frequently believes the GOP hype. The fecklessness of the mainstream media probably cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election. As Democrats, we need to pepper both the local and mainstream media with letters, emails, Facebook posts and reply tweets debunking the phony scandals. Like the GOP, we need to work the referees. It works. That’s why the GOP does it. We can do the same! Now let’s get it done!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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