Welcome to this weeks edition of The Daily Banter mailbag!! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss Obama's craptastical week, the IRS and AP scandals, and the nutbags from this week's Kitchen Nightmares.
1. How much trouble is President Obama in? He's looking down the barrel of not one or two but THREE scandals that seem to be the real deal. Any predictions?
Bob: You think Benghazi is "the real deal?" Wow. It's really the purview of conspiracy theorists and fringe nutbags and nothing will come of it. There's no evidence of a cover-up or what exactly the cover-up would've tried to disguise. The worst thing about the Benghazi situation is that it'll fade away only to be resurrected in all its glory when and if Hillary Clinton dives into the 2016 fracas. Nevertheless, you should try to avoid referring to Benghazi as "the real deal." It only enables and empowers the Republican noise machine.
Chez: They're the real deal because the Republicans say they're the real deal -- and they said the same thing about teleprompters and birth certificates. True, there's potentially more meat to the IRS dust-up, although nowhere near as much as the GOP would like you to believe, and the AP issue shows how strong-willed the Obama White House is when it comes to keeping a leash on the political press, but in the end these "scandals" still don't amount to much. For me, I have to admit, it comes down to not only what's really going on but who's doing the complaining. The Republicans will elevate anything to Watergate level and that's laughable in this case, the Tea Party people who are complaining about the IRS a) hate the IRS anyway, and b) probably deserved extra scrutiny as supposedly tax exempt groups. As for the AP, yeah, I know I should be really pissed about Obama fucking over the press but the press doesn't do its goddamn job these days anyway. I'm really tired right now, by the way.
Ben: While I think this is most definitely a shitty week for the President, it will all blow over in a couple of weeks. Personally, I think the President has close to no culpability whatsoever when it comes to Benghazi and the IRS scandal. The Benghazi stuff is laughable and the IRS going after Tea Party had nothing to do with Obama (and anyway, fuck the Tea Party - why should they get tax exempt status? Exactly what social good are they doing?). However, spying on the press is a big deal in my book, and Obama deserves to get raked over the coals for it. The problem is, the Republicans are making such a hullabaloo over the other non-issues that anything vaguely legitimate gets lost in the cacophony. And that means it will disappear when everyone gets sick of it.
2. Am I the only one who thinks that both the IRS and AP scandals are much ado about nothing?
Ben: See my answer above for the IRS scandal. To expand on the AP scandal however, I do think it's another worrying example of the Obama Administrations disregard for civil liberties. I'm not a militant civil libertarian, but part of what makes the US great (at least in my opinion) is its very strict laws regarding freedom of speech for both citizens and the press. To as great an extent as possible, I think the press should be left well alone by the government. Of course there are exemptions, but spying on journalists was a pretty egregious abuse of power and shouldn't happen again.
Bob: You're not alone. They're what I like to call "contained" mistakes in so far as, yes, some lower-level people screwed up, but I think we'll discover over the next several months that there's no connectivity to the White House. In terms of the AP thing, no laws were broken. Not one. However, it remains a First Amendment problem and hopefully the forthcoming media shield law will resolve it. The U.S. attorney cast too wide a dragnet and hopefully will be held accountable. Meanwhile, the IRS situation is similar in that we're talking about two guys in Cincinnati who didn't break any laws, even though they didn't cast their dragnet wide enough. That said, no tea party groups were denied tax exempt status (now that's criminal), while several Democratic groups were denied. Knowing this, um, what's the "scandal" again?
Chez: See answer to question #1.
3. When can we expect the Daily Banter to hire that woman from "Kitchen Nightmares" to be a regular contributor?
Chez: Man, I really hope soon. I'd love to see that. Ben?
Ben: Yep, I'm on it. Anything for pageviews.
Bob: She shouldn't be allowed to prepare and serve food to the public, much less be hired anywhere else. But, predictably, she and her enabler husband will probably get their own reality show, not unlike the screaming family on American Chopper. We love watching people losing their shpadoinkle. So, yeah, reality show in 5... 4... 3...