Warring national politicians and TV talking heads endlessly nitpick over trivia.
Morgantown native and WVU graduate Michael Tomasky, now an international political writer, predicts that far-right Republicans will try to impeach President Obama because of erroneous statements following the terror attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, and because the IRS questioned the tax-free status of "nonpolitical" tea party groups.
Tomasky wrote that it would be "industrial-strength insane" to base an impeachment on those grounds -- but "utter madness is what today's Republicans do."
We hope the GOP doesn't put America through another absurd impeachment mess -- like the $50 million attempt to remove President Clinton for dallying with a White House intern. Such degrading political spectacles damage America.
What's our take on the controversies?
First, the Benghazi attack occurred during confusion, after fanatic mobs attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo because a crude American video insulted the Prophet. Screaming zealots scaled the embassy walls, ripped down a U.S. flag and replaced it with a Muslim religious flag.
Most people assumed the Benghazi attack was similar. Early news reports lumped them together. Later, apparently, U.S. intelligence offices concluded that Benghazi involved al-Qaida-style terrorists. Washington Republicans are making an all-out effort to "prove" that the White House concealed this fact.
Columnist Richard Cohen says the American Psychiatric Association should list a new mental disorder: Benghazi Syndrome. It's an obsessive dither over whether four Americans at a poorly guarded consulate were killed by a fanatical mob or by fanatical terrorists.
Next, the IRS mess:
Tea party and "patriot" gun groups applied for tax-free status on laughable grounds that they aren't political. They sought to duck taxes through the U.S. Code's section 501(c)(4), which covers nonprofits "operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare." Such status also would let them hide names of donors.
How can the tea party, the most extreme right movement in America, claim to be a nonpartisan social betterment effort? Most of its work is aimed at electing hard-core Republicans -- and even defeating moderate Republicans, to put more doctrinaire conservatives on ballots. Tea party websites rant against the "murderer" Obama and "the rat in the White House." They're almost irrational. We wonder if they would do so if Obama were white?
"Patriot" gun groups pretty much share the same ideology. No wonder IRS gave these outfits extra scrutiny before declaring them tax-exempt as "social welfare" do-gooders.
It's sordid when Washington politicos rant viciously about supposed evils in the opposite party. No wonder millions of Americans turn their backs on politics and don't even bother to vote.