Saturday, May 3, 2014

There you go again ...

If all else fails, bring up Benghazi once again.  The Republicans really seem to have done themselves in economically.  First came the jolting news that Obamacare surpassed its target of 7 million subscribers and has been adding new subscribers since.  Then came the April figures that showed new employment far exceeding expectations and that 2014 might actually be the bumper year it was initially forecasted to be.  So, the midterm strategy appears to be drag up Benghazi once again even after the issue failed to gain traction in the 2012 campaign.

The most amazing thing is that the House Oversight Committee headed by Darrell Issa has subpoenaed John Kerry to testify on the incident, even though he wasn't Secretary of State at the time.  The political grandstanding doesn't stop there.  The Senate dynamic duo of John McCain and Lindsey Graham have demanded the president reveal his whereabouts the night of the attack.

This latest round of insults is in response to a declassified e-mail that Issa got his hands on, which according to Jay Carney had nothing to do with Benghazi.  That didn't stop the GOP bulldog, who jumped all over the memo.  Issa's oversight committee has been a disaster, ever in search of the "soiled dress" that will bring the Obama administration down.

What gets me is that Mackie and Lindsey should know better, but Lindsey finds himself having to shrug off Tea Party challengers in the South Carolina GOP primary and desperately needs an issue to hold the rabid dogs at bay.  Mackie of course would like America to know that he is still relevant in politics despite being reviled as much within his own Republican Party as he is among the general public.

Both had tried to make an issue out of Ukraine, claiming that the President hasn't gone far enough in dealing with Russia.  This is similar to their hawkish stance on Syria over the past two years.  But, Americans simply aren't that interested in these two distant countries.  The loss of Americans in Benghazi strikes closer to home.

Benghazi is not the only faux issue being resurrected in this election cycle.  The Keystone pipeline is once again being promoted by Republicans as a "job creator."  Just like the new health care plans GOP candidates have been trotting out as their "alternatives" to Obamacare, Republicans desperately need something to show Americans they are thinking about jobs, which they seem to have thought very little of these past four years.

Keystone was a joke from the beginning with no more than 9000 jobs promised for a pipeline that the Federal government would have had to fork out $7 billion.  That's about $780,000 per job.  The pipeline would bring TransCanada oil to market in New Orleans, but there is little to indicate it would have any tangible benefits for Americans.  It seems trucks and trains aren't enough to transport this crude to refineries in the Gulf states.  We apparently "need" a pipeline as long as the Mississippi River to make this oil more available.  It strikes me that Canada is having the US fork out a large part of the bill for bringing their oil to the world, much like Russia extorts Europe to bring its gas to market.

Canada has even raised the issue at G7 meetings, considering it a matter of "energy security."  Much of the delay concerns environmental regulations in Nebraska, which the federal government felt were ignored when the red state approved the pipeline route.  According to Mr. Rickford, the Canadian Natural Resources Minister, this would allow Canada to bring oil to Eastern Europe, helping to cut its dependence on Russian oil.  How magnanimous of Canada!

Not surprisingly, you can find the Koch Brothers behind this venture.  They have been the ones funding Tea Party groups to actively promote the pipeline and put pressure on Republican legislators and on the White House in turn.  It just so happens that they sit on over one million acres through which the pipeline would run.  A decision has been deferred for two election cycles now.  Many think Obama will wait until the outcome of the midterms to decide one way or the other, despite the ever growing chorus against the pipeline.

I would like to think voters have had enough of this grandstanding, but since the midterms are about state elections, the aim is to rally the base of your political party, not reach for a middle ground, so you can expect hyperbolic rhetoric in the coming months as GOP candidates try to snatch Southern Senate seats in hopes of overturning the Democratic majority.  As good ol' Ronnie would say, "there you go again."

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