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As the administration nears the three-quarter mark, I've assessed the effectiveness of each attack the Republicans have made on President Obama, then summed them all up with an overall rating.


Delivering a speech to the Heritage foundation, partway into The president's term, Mitch McConnell declared: "Our top political priority should be to deny President Obama a second term." If that's your top goal, you're setting yourself up for major embarrassment if things don't go to plan.

RATING: 0/10


One Republican strategist had advised members of his party to "go for the kill" rather than compromise on the developing health care bill, while South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, on a conference call organized by the group Conservatives for Patients Rights, declared: "If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

In the end, the Affordable Health Care Act was President Obama's Waterloo – In which he was the Duke of Wellington.

RATING: 0/10


During Barack Obama's campaign for president and in the years following his election, many conspiracy theories emerged alleging that his published birth certificate is a forgery, and that his actual birthplace is not Hawaii but Kenya, and consequently, under Article two of the Constitution is ineligible to be President of the United States. Strangely, prominent Republicans began giving credence to this extreme fringe issue.

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, February 2009: “Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate. You have to be born in America to be president.”

Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt, July 28, 2009: "What I don’t know is why the President can’t produce a birth certificate. I don’t know anybody else that can’t produce one. And I think that’s a legitimate question. No health records, no birth certificate."

Republican congresswoman Jean Scmidt, September 5, 2009, replying to a woman who commented that Obama was ineligible for the Presidency: "I agree with you. But the courts don't."

Representative Nathan Deal, November 2009: "I am joining several of my colleagues in the House in writing a letter to the President asking that he release a copy of his birth certificate."

Sarah Palin, December 3, 2009: "I think it's a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records – all of that is fair game. The McCain–Palin campaign didn't do a good enough job in that area."

Senator David Vitter, July 11, 2010: "I personally don't have standing to bring litigation in court, but I support conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court. I think that is the valid and most possibly effective grounds to do it."

Mike Huckabee, February 28, 2011, falsely claimed that Obama had been raised in Kenya and that: "[Obama] probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."

In spite of the sheer nonsense of it all, this protracted, vulgar campaign probably had the desired effect of stirring up some extra right-wing people to go to the polls for the 2010 mid-terms.

RATING: 1/10

Fast and Furious

During the two-year Fast and Furious operation, agents in Arizona with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed the sale of guns to suspected criminals thought to be linked to Mexican drug gangs. The ATF planned to trace the guns over the border as part of an investigation of the violent cartels, but failed to track the contraband firearms. The debacle came to light after two of the guns turned up at the scene of a shootout in which a U.S. Border Patrol agent died. This led to a partisan-tinged congressional investigation focusing primarily on Attorney General Eric Holder’s reluctance to disclose documents about the Justice Department’s response to Fast and Furious.

Largely lost in all the Republican vituperation was the fact that Fast and Furious was preceded by an alarmingly similar bungled gun-trafficking investigation called Operation Wide Receiver, which began during the Bush administration.

In the end, while the case vaguely added to a right wing narrative of widespread dysfunction, the case remained too technical and abstract for cable news watchers and A.M talk radio listeners to really comprehend, and has faded into obscurity.

RATING: 1/10


Solyndra was a start-up solar-power equipment manufacturer based in Fremont, California that went bankrupt. Conservatives accused the Obama administration of corruption in choosing Solyndra to receive a government loan guarantee. The typical conservative-outlet story followed a template of accusations that someone “connected to” Obama has “ties” to something. This is irrespective of the fact the company, partly backed by the conservative Walton family, had received a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The loan, which was originally pushed by the Bush administration, was 1.3% of the Department of Energy portfolio.

The so-called scandal simmered for a while, as a locus for conservative cynicism about green energy, the idea of green jobs in general, solar power in particular, stimulus funding and, of course, President Obama. Hardly anyone refers to it now.

RATING: 1/10


The controversy erupted in May last year over extra scrutiny applied by the IRS to applications from non-profit groups for tax-exempt status, including some groups aligned with the conservative Tea Party.

Republicans have been investigating the affair, which had faded from the headlines until June, when the IRS's admission that it had lost emails reinvigorated the inquiry.

The agency said that the computer of a relevant director, Lois Lerner, crashed in mid-2011 and that some of her emails from January 2009 to April 2011 could not be recovered, (although, 67,000 available ones were handed over). The affair, which raised genuine concerns, has given the Republicans a reasonably strong issue; but while it happened broadly under the President's watch, most Americans don't feel that he is all that accountable for what happened in the Cincinnati branch of the Inland revenue Service.

RATING: 4/10


What happened in Benghazi, Libya, was a tragedy - not a scandal. And no amount of Republican witch hunting or wishful thinking will make it otherwise. Republicans have been desperate to politicize Benghazi from day one.

Fox pursued the story, and has made analogies with almost every major story since, some of them particularly precarious. On Fox show The Five for example, Andrea Tantaros opined about the missing Malaysian airliner: “Think how long it took for them to get this kind of media attention. I mean, living in Malaysia, the government seemingly ignored these people, they didn’t want their stories to get out. They weren't talking to them…it feels like the families of Benghazi, just saying.”

Eventually, the Pentagon got testy about the Republican's repeated requests: “The Department of Defense has devoted thousands of man-hours to responding to the numerous and often repetitive congressional requests regarding Benghazi,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs Elizabeth King said in an open letter to Congress.

Earlier this month, Fox News went silent on Benghazi amid reports that the House Intelligence Committee concluded that there was no intentional wrongdoing in the Obama administration's response to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi. While everyone expected a thorough investigation, there have now been thirteen hearings, 25,000 pages of documents and fifty Congressional briefings. A serious issue, a genuine tragedy, that necessitated a thorough inquiry. But no scandal, and the mainstream is moving on.

RATING: 4/10


A universally acknowledged frivolous political stunt that has no chance of succeeding, but will have a good chance of firing up the base ahead of the mid-terms. Republicans are set to use the justice system in a crusade to rein in what they allege is an otherwise-unchecked president who has failed to carry out his constitutional duty to enforce the law.

The indictment of Governor Rick Perry of Texas and his subsequent court case could complicate things. The arguments made by Perry and his supporters for strong executive power are going to provide an easy equivalence with Boehner's plans to sue the President. To the casual political observer, the two cases are going to sound alike. A court will almost certainly dismiss any lawsuit of the sort Boehner intends because the House of Representatives lacks standing to bring a suit. The respect afforded to Congress will take yet another hit, and the ploy might fire up a large number of incredulous liberals as well as the Republican base.

RATING: 2/10


Originally posted to echochamberlain on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You need to edit "IRS Gate" (23+ / 0-)

    You make no mention of the widely-reported fact that LIBERAL groups were the only ones who had their tax-exempt status removed, that LIBERAL groups were targeted as well, and the only reason the RW attacks can make the accusation that RW groups were targeted is because the RWNJ asshole who requested the list of targeted groups asked ONLY for the RW groups the IRS looked at!  


    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:20:14 AM PDT

  •  "You have to be born in America to be president." (13+ / 0-)

    So say people who voted for John McCain (born in Panama) and are willing to vote for Ted Cruz (born in Canada)…

    In conservative circles, such double standard is considered "business as usual".

  •  I score it for the GOP- 2010 won the House (7+ / 0-)

    2014 going for the Senate. I count those as knockdowns. Congress is reduced to opening the treasury to cronies, while the unelected Supreme Court ends voting rights in Shelby County and free speech in McCutcheon, etc. The unelected Court not only runs the country but has phased out the Constitution in order to consolidate its own power. The GOP is about two branch government a militarized Executive (regardless of who's president) and a royalist Court that makes up the law as it goes along.

    •  They Were Actually "Going for the Senate"... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Musial 2010 and 2012 also... and they would have won it BOTH TIMES if not for batshit crazy Tea Party nominees.

      •  I don't think they had a shot in 2012 (0+ / 0-)

        Even if they'd held Lugar's seat in Indiana and won McCaskill's seat in Missouri with saner candidates, that only would've turned the Dems' 2-seat gain into a 1-seat loss. (Assuming Warren still wins in MA and given the only actual D -> R flip in NE, anyway.) Still, the Tea-addled crazies in those two years at least gave us more of a cushion for this year's grueling Senate races.

        "Elect Republicans, and they will burn the place down. And they will laugh while they do it and have a great time. And then what?" -- Rachel Maddow

        by LumineHall on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 11:28:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  a fine mountain of shit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Josiah Bartlett

    they must really enjoy the view to work at it so earnestly- ever so often a conservative asks us to name "one thing they got wrong' but they leave before we have the chance to pick the best turd

  •  There was news on FnF yesterday. A federal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    court judge ordered the administration to turn over documents to Issa's Oversight Committee. There was a case filed relating to executive privilege. It should be pretty easy to find if you Google.

  •  I think all these are equally unsubstantive (10+ / 0-)

    In other words, they are all 0/10s in terms of actual "there" being "there."

    And I think this diary is great.

    However, I think we miss the point if we score these pseudo-scandals on whether they eventually proved substantive, because I don't think that was ever their point.

    The GOP firmly believes and operates on the premise that an opposing president or politician of any stripe will operate less effectively and with diminished political capital if they can simply be buried under enough accusations. The birth certificate thing doesn't have to be true as long as you can perceive when it begins to ebb and replace it with something else like Benghazi. McCain, Graham and their ilk knew Benghazi was bullshit from the start but it was an opportunity to claw back their party's advantage on national security after Obama clipped bin Laden and they could not afford to pass it up.

    The Republican party has no scruples. None. They have no allegiance to facts or truth or reason. They are desperately trying to cling to relevance in a country that is sliding away from them, and they will do anything. Substance is no obstacle. In that sense, these scandals accumulate, and have political meaning and political cost to the president.

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:28:14 AM PDT

  •  I"m assuming (0+ / 0-)

    you're the author of the full article and not guilty of fair use infringement?

    BTW -- generally it's considered polite to post the full article here and link the cross-post as well; it is often considered to be trying to get free publicity for your blog (without paying for advertising) when you only post half the article here and require traffic go to your site to read the rest.

    Good article though.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:59:16 AM PDT

    •  Hi Raptavio (3+ / 0-)

      Yes, I'm always conscious about that, and trying not to tread on anyone's toes. I thought, given the article stretches to two-thousand words or more, it would be best to cut it halfway through and give folks the opportunity to read the rest if they wanted. On the other hand, a part of me feels that, on balance, getting strong progressive arguments and ideas out there amongst my tribe sometimes ought to trump etiquette. I'm never gonna make money off my blog, I just want people who share my values to be informed about stuff they might have missed. So if you see similar in the future, my will is good.
      Thanks heaps.

  •  On the IRS attacks... (9+ / 0-)

    It's important to remember that it wasn't just about attacking the President; it was also about crippling the IRS. Results? The IRS has had more budget cuts, has had its reputation tarnished - and perhaps the real objective - is no longer going to scrutinize too closely any of the groups that are supposed to be non-political in their purposes.

    Mission accomplished.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:10:57 AM PDT

  •  Here's the most telling rating: (4+ / 0-)

    2012 Presidential election:
    Obama/Biden: 51.1%; 332 electoral votes
    Romney/Ryan: 47.2%; 206 electoral votes

    ... even though the Benghazi, I.R.S. and other bullshit attacks came later.

    How children dance to the unlived lives of their parents. Rilke

    by ceebee7 on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 12:23:53 PM PDT

  •  All of these Republican attacks (0+ / 0-)

    have Hurt/Harmed "we the people" and country Far more than PBO (or any potus)>

    We're both physically and financially harmed.

  •  We've come a long way since "Celebrity." /nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Fast and the Furious is incomplete (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What is now known as 'Fast & Furious," was originally called "Project Gunrunner," which was part of the Merida Initiative, a multi-billion dollar aid package announced by President Bush and Mexico's President Calderón in October 2007 to support Calderón's war on drugs by, among other things, sending military grade weapons and helicopters to Mexico.

    "Project Gunrunner" was Legislated into the Merida Initiative through HR-6028 in 2008, in a super-secret subsection entitled (gasp) "PROJECT GUNRUNNER INITIATIVE" (, which Darrell Issa himself voted for (

    And to think, I thought Chairman Issa was outraged about this "illegal gunrunning." Hm....

    “Fortune reports that the '2000 guns' often named by Issa as having been a part of the program were actually guns that were purchased ordinarily by suspected straw purchasers who were under investigation. They were not guns purchased by ATF, with ATF funds, or for ATF investigations.

    “As it turns out, only five guns appear to have been purchased with ATF funds. They were all part of an operation conducted by ATF Agent John Dodson, congressman Issa’s osten'sible whistle-blower. So it appears that John Dodson described his own operation, but made it sound like everyone was doing it. In reality, his investigation was the only example among seven ATF gunrunning units.”

    “Here’s the biggest shocker: Fortune reports that a transient named Jaime Avila purchased three WASR-10 rifles (an AK-47 knockoff) at a Glendale Arizona gun shop. A gun shop employee notified ATF by faxing the bill of sale conveying his suspicions. The serial numbers from these guns were entered into the Phoenix office gunrunning database from the faxed bill of sale.

    “These were not the Dodson guns. Agents never saw, touched, funded, or purchased the guns found at the Terry murder scene. Based on prior experience, the agents knew they didn’t have a case against Avila yet. In Arizona, it is not against the law to buy guns with someone else’s money. Nor is it against the law to then give them away, even immediately.”


    Here is the Fortune expose, complete with Scribd documentation:

    In terms of the actual potential illegality, you have Dodson himself, for lying to Congress. That's it.

  •  Benghazi needs more (4+ / 0-)

    All investigations of Benghazi have concluded no wrongdoing EVERY TIME, including:

    Senate Intelligence Committee review:

    The House Armed Services Committee:

    And the State Department's legally mandated Accountability Review Board investigation led by Ambassador Tom Pickering and retired Adm. Michael Mullen, former Reagan and Bush administration officials:

    Despite protestations otherwise, there is no "there" there. Benghazi was a terrible tragedy, but there was no cover up, no stand-down order, and no dereliction of duty.

    You should also point out that Republicans were caught falsifying emails in their attempt to create the scandal out of Benghazi:

    Republicans were also warned that cutting funding for embassy security by Hillary Clinton would increase security risks; Republicans cut the funding anyway....

    And that during the Bush administration there were TWO embassy/consulate attacks prior to the death of U.S. diplomat David Foy and there was never a claim by Republicans about dereliction of duty on the part of President Bush, nor "outrage" at Mr. Foy's death. It was simply viewed as the tragedy it truly was, and was not made into a political football.

    In fact, here are 13 different "Benghazi" incidents that happened under Bush:

    None caused outrage. The evidence is compelling that Republicans don't actually care about the safety of the U.S. diplomatic corps. It is nothing more than a political football.

  •  All true except the IRS (0+ / 0-)

    is a real scandal. Lerner DID target conservative groups and did lie about it and will not testify and "lost" her emails. C'mon? Reverse the party and you would be outraged.

    many have claimed that liberal and progressive terms were also in BOLO lists. These terms were used before the advent of the tea party. They were used along with many other BOLO terms, examined and either approved or denied - the usual practice by the IRS- in a matter of months. However starting in 2010 tea party and similar terms were used and only those applications were systematically treated differently (as I point out below).

    Over a two year period only four tea party applications were acted upon.

    The inspector general’s report indicated that I.R.S. officials began targeting conservative groups in March 2010 by searching for groups with names containing “Tea Party,” “patriot” or “9/12.” The report says officials then switched to more expansive, less partisan search criteria in July 2011 and in January 2012, before broadening the criteria a third time on May 17, two weeks after Mr. Camp’s letter.
    During the entire two-year span — from March 2010, when the agency began singling out conservative groups, to April 2012, just before it received Mr. Camp’s letter and changed its search criteria for the last time — the I.R.S. approved the applications of just four groups with those conservative keywords in their names. After the I.R.S. altered its search criteria the final time, the agency approved more than 40 Tea Party applications.
    As a point of comparison, we tried to identify liberal groups approved for 501(c)(4) status since 2010. A search for “progress,” “progressive,” “liberal” and “equality” finds 32 groups. (This might not be a representative sample — identifying left-leaning groups is more difficult, as there are is no clearly defined nomenclature on the left equivalent to the Tea Party.) The I.R.S. approved these groups at a fairly steady rate from 2010 through 2012. The I.R.S. approved 13 in 2010, nine in 2011 and 10 in 2012.
    Progressive terms were included only after complaints
    And again, they were not stopped and sent to DC for two years. Nor asked to provide three times more information than other applications.
    The scrutiny applied to their applications (developed in DC as I point out below) were much more intrusive than other applications.

    Lerner (rightly so) was very worried about the effect that Citizens United might have on the type of organizations that might apply and receive tax exempt status. Which appears to be her motive for misrepresenting the facts about what her role was and her knowledge of the effort to collect and apply a different standard of scrutiny for the applications by conservative organizations. Even if her motives are understandable her (and others) actions are still wrong.

    First theIRS itself admitted that conservative groups were targeted and it was unacceptable. On May 10, 2013:

    Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, said the “absolutely inappropriate” actions by “front-line people” were not driven by partisan motives.
    Rather, Lerner said, they were a misguided effort to come up with an efficient means of dealing with a flood of applications from organizations seeking ­tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012.
    “We made some mistakes; some people didn’t use good judgment.”
    “For that we’re apologetic,” she told reporters on a conference call.
    Staff members at that office singled out the terms “Tea Party” and “patriot,” she said, but not out of political bias; it was “just their shortcut.”
    Now, why did we even know about this? Because she disingenuously planted the questionfrom an acquaintance at a law conference. For someone who has nothing to hide she sure was eager to get in front of and spin that report.

    So she was clueless and surprised about the targeting? And thought it was just awful right?

    No, an email shows on February 1 2011 she was coordinating an effort send tea party applications to an office in D. C.:

    Tea Party matter is very dangerous, and is something 'Counsel and Judy Kindell need to be in on. Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.

    e-mailsshow her division was developing specific criteria for tea party applications through the DC office in July 2012:

    EOT is working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy. We are developing a few applications here in DC and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases. Chip Hull is working these cases in EOT and working with the agent in Cincy, so any communication should include him as well. Because the Tea party applications are the subject of an SCR , we cannot resolve any of the cases without coordinating with Rob.
    Carter Hull, told investigators that he was assigned tea party cases to develop a template for their extra scrutiny. But his recommendations were not acted upon. Instead more intrusive questions and requests were developed and the cases languished for years with no action.
    So she was lying through her teeth in public statements about what occurred. It is no wonder that she has refused to testify.

    And there are other deceptions as well. Such as the Tea party BOLO being in response to increased applications. The list was developed before a rise in applications.

    Then we get to the interesting case of missing emails. A week after the first inquiry into the large number of audits to  conservative organizations, Lerner's computer crashes. And surprise, the email back up system in use for five years was canceled that same month.

    And six of her colleagues (also involved in the series of events) lost their hard drives and emails as well? And now her former colleague at the FEC lost hers as well? Does Lerner send massive magnetic rays through her emails?

    Now you may wish to stick your head in the sand and believe Lerner lied repeatedly with good intentions- but she still lied repeatedly.  To give her the benefit of the doubt is just being blindly partisan. If you are really honest you would reverse the party/ideological affiliations and ask yourself if the IRS under Bush had targeted progressive gouts in the same manner, and the same lies were repeated, and the same set of coincidences of computer crashes wouldn't you expect a thorough investigation?

    I almost forgot this recent tidbit:

    ... Lerner cautioned her colleagues last year to be careful about what they put in e-mails because Congress might request them, according to newly disclosed e-mails.
    ... also went so far as to ask an information technology staffer whether internal instant messages could be searched and retrieved in response to a congressional request. When the employee informed her that those messages were not automatically saved, Lerner responded with a one-word e-mail: "Perfect."
  •  The GOP has been attacking the US wellbeing for 34 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobcat41702, AllTheWayWithLBJ85

    years and counting.

    The Reagan, Bush and Bush administrations were together 20 wasted years, the GOP tried mighty hard to waste Clinton's 2nd term and they have succeded in reducing Obama's potential to really improve America for over five years now. Over one generation wasted, at a time when events and progress do move very quickly. I could even call it 42, by adding Nixon/ Ford terms, and excluding Carter's four.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage "

    by ontario on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:17:13 PM PDT

  •  together they cost us 6 years of real progress (4+ / 0-)

    these were a big unnecessary distractions that cost us a lot of time and reform and progress and much of it couldn't have been created if the left's orgs had been challenging the talk radio monopoly.

    take any major issue or story and you'll find they're using talk radio to distort it on a national level, negating huge amounts of activism and small donations with a few hundred cowardly blowhards hiding behind call screeners and riding our state funded college sports teams

    they weren't fails mostly, and will bring out enough of the republican base to win many races that should be no-brainers.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:23:25 PM PDT

  •  Billionaire Nation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Musial, bobcat41702, dagnome

    As long as billionaires continue to control the economy and political system, the Republicans have succeeded in their agenda.

  •  You forgot some. (0+ / 0-)



    FEMA Camp-gate.

    College transcript-gate.

    Oh, and feel free to call these Major Media attacks too, since they deserve a major assist on most of them.

  •  They haven't been very effective against Obama, (0+ / 0-)

    but they have been very effective at sabotaging America and Americans. No more stimulus, no jobs bill, more corporate giveaways, etc, etc, etc.

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
    ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

    by FarWestGirl on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 08:25:52 AM PDT

  •  Lerner's Blackberry destroyed too? (0+ / 0-)

    Hmmm ...

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