The Anatomy of a Political Scandal
Prior to Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017, everything in our government was hunky-dory, apple pie.
The government had no problems.
The Obama Administration had no scandals.
There were no conspiracies.
No Deep State.
Our government was operating blissfully and in perfect harmony.
At least that’s the narrative.
But the problem is, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Drain the Swamp
Those of us who have watched our government evolve and grow into the monstrosity it is today know better.
We understand why Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” resonates with so many people.
We know why the moniker “Crooked Hillary” hits the lovers of big government squarely between the eyes.
We comprehend the threat of the term “Deep State” because it so clearly identifies what we're up against.
Our government stopped believing its role was simply to represent a free people decades ago. They no longer seek the consent of the governed. They now believe they know what is best for the American people, and they are constantly dreaming up ways to implement their radical ideas - with or without the support of Americans.
And all of this was true long before America elected President Donald J. Trump.
The media and the Democrat Party want us desperately to believe that there would be no threat to our liberties and system of government had Trump not been elected.
They want us to believe that the dangers of tyranny and government abuse was completely absent the American landscape until Trump colluded with Putin to steal the 2016 election from its rightful winner, Hillary Clinton.
They want us to buy into the lie that there was no risk to our democracy - more accurately, our constitutional republic - until President Trump entered the scene.
That is completely and utterly false.
No Scandals in the Obama Administration? Please.
The mainstream media and Democrat Party want us to believe that the Obama Administration - or if you prefer, the Obiden Bama Administration - was as pure as the wind-driven snow.
There were no scandals. No problems. No concerns.
In fact, they want you to believe that is the reason the media adored Barack Obama so much. In their world, he was always looking out for the best interests of the American people, never dreaming of overreaching and abusing his power. Never limiting the liberties of the American people. They would have you believe he was America’s first altruistic president.
This is why they compare and contrast the way Obama and Trump interacted with the media.
They want you to believe that the peaceful interaction between Obama and the media is proof that Obama did not pose a threat to our liberties as president. After all, if he were a threat, the media would have had a contentious relationship with him - like they do Trump.
I actually see this quite differently. I think that all people are corruptible. It's human nature. And as it has been said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
If that is true, it stands to reason that the risk of soft tyranny is actually much greater when the media fawns over a president than when they are openly combative with him. I mean, do we really think Trump could get away with anything with today’s media? He shouldn’t get away with anything, of course, but when contrasted with the question of whether Obama could’ve gotten away with anything, it illustrates the point.
Of course Obama could’ve gotten away with a scandal. The media showed no interest in looking into any of the alleged scandals - of which there are many. In fact, they even used his race as added insulation against the possibility that anyone would try to dig too deep about the Obama Administration. If they did, they’d immediately be accused of being a racist. In fact, we saw this play out many times.
That, my friends, is much more dangerous than what we have with the Trump Administration.
I love the argument that the Obama Administration had no scandals. Really? Want to rethink that? Just because the media didn’t cover any scandals doesn’t mean that there weren't any scandals.
In fact, consider this summary of scandals put together by Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation:
- State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications with the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.
- Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.
- IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixon only dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct.
- Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. With less than two months to go before the 2012 election, the State Department falsely claimed the attack was not a terrorist attack but a reaction to an anti-Muslim film. Emails from the secretary later showed that she knew the attack was terrorism. Justice Department prosecutors even convinced a magistrate judge to jail the filmmaker.
- Hacking. Mr. Obama presided over the biggest data breach in the federal government’s history, at the Office of Personnel Management. The hack exposed the personnel files of millions of federal employees and may end up being used for everything from identity theft to blackmail and espionage. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, the president’s former political director, had been warned repeatedly about security deficiencies but took no steps to fix them.
- Veterans Affairs. At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at a Phoenix VA facility, many of whom had been on a secret waiting list—part of an effort to conceal that between 1,400 and 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months for appointments. A 2014 internal VA audit found “57,436 newly enrolled veterans facing a minimum 90-day wait for medical care; 63,869 veterans who enrolled over the past decade requesting an appointment that never happened.” Even Mr. Obama admitted, in a November 2016 press conference, that “it was scandalous what happened”—though minutes earlier he boasted that “we will—knock on wood—leave this administration without significant scandal.”
Source: The Heritage Foundation
And this list doesn’t even include the alleged scandal of President Obama spying on Sharyl Attkisson and the latest questions surrounding what Trump has branded “Obamagate.”
The Media Wants Us to Believe the Trump Administration is One Big Scandal
I’m not sure it’s possible in modern politics to serve 8 or even just 4 years as President of the United States and evade all allegations of scandal. That doesn’t mean any of the allegations are necessarily true, only that it seems nearly impossible for an administration to serve without an accusation of at least one scandal, and probably more - especially if they are Republican and face the daily onslaught from the media.
So I’m not suggesting Trump is without any accusation of a scandal, though when compared with the list of the Obama scandals there are distinct differences. For example, some of Trump’s alleged scandals are said to have occurred prior to his becoming president. Others include trying to demonize him for keeping his business interests while serving as president, as though some really believe that is prohibited by the Constitution. Still others include what may be termed mistakes or errors in judgment.
But when you get right down to it, the Trump Administration has really only been accused of 2 big scandals: collusion with Russia and Ukraine.
As a side note, I think the media and Democrat Party made a strategic error in focusing all of their attention on these 2 fabricated and misrepresented ‘scandals.’ In doing so, they weren’t able to create (or even uncover) other scandals. Instead, they invested all of their political capital in these 2 alleged conspiracies. And, might I add, since these 2 scandals are so closely tied together, the case could be made that this is really only one alleged scandal.
And that scandal has been completely discredited because there is no 'empirical evidence' of any wrongdoing by Trump. In other words, they've got nothing other than their desire that Trump be guilty. That's not a scandal, pure and simple.
The Anatomy of a Political Scandal
Scandals and conspiracies must include a couple of basic things.
First, they must include a motive. A reason for an administration to take secret or inappropriate or even illegal action. In today’s world of soundbites, talking points and headlines, it’s usually not hard to find a motive.
But that said, there has to be more than a just a motive. There has to be an opportunity for the administration to do something about the issue they want to hide from the American people. It’s not enough simply to determine they want to do something improper, they need circumstances that provide them the opportunity to do something about it. Given the size and scope of government - and the corruption in politics in general - it isn’t hard to find evidence that an administration has the opportunity to act scandalously.
Still, there is one more key piece of the scandal puzzle. The third and most critical piece in the anatomy of a scandal is the actual plan. Or if you prefer, the conspiracy. We can have good reason to believe an administration wants to initiate the scandal and even that they have the opportunity and perhaps even the means to act scandalously, but do they actually have a coherent plan to execute the conspiracy?
Candidly, this is where the whole notion of Trump-Russian Collusion completely falls apart.
It's a pretty outrageous claim - especially when the plan simply included Pokemon Go, Facebook, Twitter and other social media ads.
That was the plan? They would hire a Russian advertising agency to produce hypnotic ads that tricked Americans to vote for the wrong candidate? Surely you jest.
Wouldn’t this foreign agency be at a major disadvantage due to the cultural and language barriers?
Seems like a big risk, especially given that the last stage of the plan is to simply trust in your ad campaign.
This simply isn’t what conspiracy theories look like.
You leave nothing to chance.
You hack the voting machine and change the counts.
You get as many fraudulent voters on your payroll as possible and sneak them past the poll workers.
You don’t cross your fingers and hope for a phenomenally successful ad that was created by a foreign firm.
Political campaign teams create ads and messages all day, every day. They do this for a living. They hope to persuade a small percentage of undecided voters. Or they hope to get a few more of their base voters out on Election Day.
Even when they are performing at their absolute best, these campaign teams achieve nowhere near the same level of success we’re told Putin’s advertising agency had in 2016.
And if Putin’s agency was this good at tricking people to act against their best self interests in 2016, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Democrat Party (not to mention every big business in America) would have them on their payroll in 2020.