Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ted Cruz, Joe McCarthy And… Benghazi!


Yes, Texas extremist Ted Cruz looks a lot like ugly, dead, alcoholic neo-fascist Joe McCarthy. But the superficial similarities are hardly the reason why people have dubbed Cruz "the new McCarthy." One of the most reviled villains in American history-- right up there with Benedict Arnold, John Wilkes Booth, Jefferson Davis, Herbert Hoover, Sam Giancana and Nathan Bedford Forrest-- McCarthy could be an icon for today's Republican Party. And that's why Ted Cruz and his obstructionist agenda have risen in esteem among the racists, bigots, greedy self-servers, and anti-American hate mongers that make up the GOP base. Last week, Cruz did a little victory dance-- worthy of Hitler in Paris-- after House Republicans humiliated John Boehner by forcing him to establish a witch hunt committee headed by brainless South Carolina zombie Trey Gowdy to "investigate" Benghazi.

The last thing in the world Cruz, Gowdy, Issa and their far right partisan allies want is an actual "investigation." Deadly violence against U.S. diplomats, isn't all that infrequent occurrence. In 2012 alone, the year of Benghazi, there were 86 “significant attacks” against diplomatic outposts. The death toll from these 2012 attacks was not four, but 24. And this is not a new problem. Since 1970, there have been 521 attacks on U.S. diplomatic targets, killing 500 people. Since 1977, 66 American diplomats have been killed by terrorists. If Cruz and his allies cared at all about providing better embassy security, it would create a select committee to investigate this perennial problem, instead of creating one about Benghazi. The question of how to give adequate protection to diplomats stationed in dangerous places has vexed Democratic and Republican administrations alike-- and has already been investigated plenty.) But of course Cruz and the right-wing cohort around him don’t care about that-- as it showed in November when it pilloried Obama as he prepared to move the Vatican embassy, for security reasons, from Rome’s Aventine Hill to Via Veneto. (In another example of the kind of obstructionism that defines right-wing politicians like Cruz and Gowdy, Congress subsequently passed a spending bill blocking the move!) Yesterday, MSNBC's Tim Noah helped she more light on what Benghazi is really all about. "There is, in fact," he wrote, "absolutely no reason to investigate Benghazi further except to rake Hillary Clinton, who may run for president in 2016, over the coals. It is, to paraphrase Krauthammer, a clear manifestation of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, a malady that, in one form or another, has afflicted much of the population for two decades."

Over at the Wasshington Post Dana Milbank was poking around the similarities between Cruz and McCarthy, beyond the GOP Benghazi fraud.

Sen. Ted Cruz, in a speech to fellow conservatives at the Federalist Society this week, provided detailed evidence of what the right calls the “lawlessness” of the Obama administration.

The Texas Republican, in his latest McCar­thyesque flourish, said he had a list of “76 instances of lawlessness and other abuses of power.”

To his credit, Cruz made his list public. But perhaps he shouldn’t have. An examination of the accusations reveals less about the lawlessness of the accused than about the recklessness of the accuser.

Cruz was particularly agitated about President Obama’s use of signing statements, executive orders, recess appointments and unconfirmed “czars”-- omitting the salient detail that this president has used four less than George W. Bush, for whom Cruz worked as a campaign adviser and administration official.

Beyond such perennial check-and-balance disputes, Cruz’s list was a recitation of policy grievances (Cruz, if you haven’t heard, doesn’t like Obamacare very much, nor the president’s immigration policy). These were interspersed with some whoppers that the senator, a former Texas solicitor general, couldn’t have researched thoroughly.

…There are, among the 76, legitimate grievances about expanded surveillance at the National Security Agency and about efforts to get reporters’ phone records. But it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the alleged abuse and lawlessness are actually differences of politics and policy.

Obama “shut down the Amber Alert website, while keeping up Let’s Move website, during the partial government shutdown,” writes Cruz-- who almost singlehandedly caused the shutdown.

“Actively aided in George Zimmerman protests,” Cruz complains.

“Canceled all White House tours after sequestration . . . even though President Obama had spent more than $1 million in tax money to golf with Tiger Woods.”

“Reneged on campaign promise to broadcast healthcare reform negotiations on C-SPAN.”

Cruz disagrees with Obama on just about everything. But this doesn’t make Obama a criminal.

It does on Hate Talk Radio and on Fox-- which is all Cruz actually cares about because that is, after all, where all the GOP base voters are… and where the people who they expect to sell the Benghazi! tote bags are.

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