The last play in the playbook

Cross-posted on The Obama Diary.

You will have to have been under a rock for the past two weeks to have missed the feeding frenzy being engaged in by what passes as the other major political party and its enablers in the press. Between BENGHAZI!!! and IRS-gate, it seems that nothing at all of importance has been happening in the world.

The GOP and the press finally feel they have what they’ve been looking for: a political “mistake” by Barack Obama which they can use to cut him down to size. One has to admit, that the nation’s first black President has been quite scandal-free since his first Inauguration, in spite of the usual suspects’ best efforts. Obamacare was supposed to be his “Waterloo”; it now promises to cement a generation of Democratic dominance as citizens benefit from a new social program, one which will guarantee that they don’t have to choose between the rent and their health. Obama brought Osama Bin Laden to justice, something which the previous administration had no interest in doing. And of course, before he was even elected, he had the Reverend Wright “scandal”—a moment he used to give the nation a sorely needed lesson on race. The scandal-mongers have, quite frankly, lacked decent material with which to work.

So one could easily detect the almost orgiastic glee with which Republican politicians, their mouth-breather base, and the supine press greeted the advent of Benghazi and the IRS investigating Tea Party groups’ tax-exempt status. One could easily create a thought bubble over Darrel Issa’s and Jake Tapper’s heads:

“Finally, we’re going to get that black bastard.”

Although the President’s race contributes almost exponentially to the mania surrounding the “scandals”—and yes, I will continue to put that word in quotes—race isn’t the source of the animus.

Quite simply, ever since the Gingrich Revolution of 1994, the modus operandi of the Republican Party has been to make sure that no Democrat can get anything done. That strategy lay behind Bill Clinton’s impeachment—an impeachment which came about in spite of Clinton’s non-stop schmoozing of Republicans, for all the good it did him. The economy was booming, people were souring on the Republican takeover of the Congress, and seeing Democrats, again, as being more aligned with the needs of the country.

This modern Republican Party cares nothing for the nation’s needs. And it certainly wants nothing done which will show government working for the greater good, as in its world that’s an impossibility, unless it’s working for the benefit of the billionaires who fund the party. The fact that a black man, who started his professional career as a community organizer, and who taught the Constitution which the GOP is busy destroying, is bringing transformational change to the country makes their frenzy all the greater.

But the core project remains: stymie Democrats, play as dirty as needed, stir up agitation, and get the public so sick of “scandal” that it decides to vote for a Republican in the next election.

The problem is this: it’s the only play the GOP has left in its playbook. It has mortgaged more and more of itself to the fringe elements of the base, to the extent where it has no room for maneuver. And the coalition which propelled Obama twice to the White House is only growing, and solidly Democratic.

It was almost guaranteed, when the country took leave of its senses in 2010, that the GOP House would find something—anything—with which to hound the Administration. That the best it can do is Benghazi and the IRS—two “scandals” of which the majority of the population isn’t even aware—shows that the playbook’s one play isn’t working as it once did. Add the GOP’s hamstringing of effective governance to its open racism, and a country which grows more tolerant by the day will see off the dying beast.

We all knew that it was going to get ugly. A Democrat re-elected to office seems to madden the GOP. That the Democrat is black adds fuel to the fire. But Barack Obama isn’t one to take the bait. He is, quite simply, just better than they are. And thank goodness for that.