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Column: All the Wrong Outrage

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It seems like what began as a week of three scandals has devolved into very little “there” being there. Not that that means you will be hearing any less outrage on Fox News or right-wing talk radio, because that is their entire playbook at this point; distract, annoy and delay by ginning up faux outrage.

As it turns out, the bombshell emails leaked to ABC news that were supposed to show the White House trying to protect the State Department were never in ABC’s possession. They relied on sources to tell them what was in those emails and ended up with egg on their face when the Obama administration released the actual emails. It is now clear that it was primarily the CIA that wanted references to Al-Qaida scrubbed from the talking points, and that there was no effort to protect the State Department.

Who were the sources that ABC relied on? None other than Republican congressional staffers; you know, the staffs of the people who are endlessly dragging out the Benghazi “investigation” in the hopes that they can find something, anything to pin on the Whitehouse or Hillary Clinton. Consider the source ABC, consider the source. Will we see the outrage machine turned on those who were trying to mislead the press and by extension the American people? Don’t bet on it.

It only stands to reason that there is going to be an awful lot of hot air blowing around Washington surrounding the IRS investigation. After all is there a less popular agency in the entire federal government? The Inspector General’s report over the delay, yes only a delay, that certain Tea Party affiliated groups received because some low level employees applied an ideological test by looking for key words in applications, has already made clear that there was no connection to the White House or any other agency.

This isn’t Richard Nixon planting people in the IRS to punish his enemies. This is the sloppy work of people who should never have had to do the job they were asked to do. The tax exempt status that was being applied for was never meant to be a way for big donors to hide their identity and dump unlimited amounts of money into political ads, but you can thank the Supreme Court’s horrendous “Citizens United” decision for that.

Will you hear anything about fixing the real problem from Congressional Republicans in the coming weeks? No, but you can bet that they will drag in person after person to try to get them to say that Obama himself was pulling the strings on an operation that in the end denied exactly zero of the Tea Party applicants the tax exempt status that never should have been open to any of these groups. Oh and by the way, the only group that was denied was one set up by some Democrats.

The only “scandal” that has any real legs is the secret subpoena of the Associated Press’s telephone records. If you aren’t hearing as much outrage about that from the right-wing media, it is because it pales in comparison to what was made perfectly legal thanks to the Bush administration and the PATRIOT Act.

While neither the President, nor Attorney General Eric Holder were personally involved in this subpoena situation, it reaffirms what many of us on the left have been complaining about in regards to the Obama administration’s record on civil liberties. We wanted more from the Constitutional Scholar in Chief. We wanted a roll back of the Bush administration’s excessive executive power grab, and instead what we got was assurances that now the good guys are in charge, so why be worried? We are worried, because nobody, not even the good guys, deserves unchecked and unbalanced power. That, and there is nothing preventing less scrupulous individuals from taking even more power for the executive branch if/when they get into the Oval Office.

It was a week where nothing that would improve the quality of life for the majority of Americans got done. It was a week that got us no closer to comprehensive immigration reform, a jobs bill, sensible gun control, raising the minimum wage, or doing something about climate change. It was a week of outrage, but all the wrong kinds for all the wrong reasons.

Previous Column: Recent Events Have People Longing for the Good Old Days, Which Weren’t All That Good

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Gossom and do not reflect Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its sponsors or subsidiaries.

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