Conservatives’ definition of politicization is: liberals treating them unfairly for partisan reasons. Liberals’ definition of politicization is: conservatives pointing out something they did wrong.
Consider: When conservatives highlighted the Obama administration’s incompetent, deceitful, disastrous handling of the terrorist attack on our Benghazi embassy, Democrats dismissed the affair as no big deal and accused Republicans of politicizing it.
Actually, politicizing Benghazi would have involved, say, a Presidential candidate who pressed the issue during his foreign policy debate with Obama, or who mentioned it in campaign commercials leading up to the election. Instead, Mitt Romney decided it would be more Presidential to bring it up once and then never, ever mention it again.
When evidence of their malfeasance becomes too overwhelming, liberals simply switch tactics and claim that, OK, sometimes they politicize their faults by downplaying them, but the other side is just as bad.
Thus, The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd recently confessed, “The administration’s behavior before and during the attack in Benghazi was unworthy of the greatest power on earth… The State Department’s minimum security requirements were not met, requests for more security were rejected… Obama aides wanted to promote the mythology that the president who killed Osama was vanquishing terror. So they deemed it problematic to mention any possible Qaeda involvement.”
Nonetheless, Dowd ludicrously titled her piece “When Myths Collide in the Capital” and claimed that both sides are politicizing Benghazi. She wrote, “Welcome to a glorious spring weekend of accusation and obfuscation as Hillaryland goes up against Foxworld… Truth is the first casualty here when competing fiefs protect their mythologies.”
Except that it’s not a mythology if it’s the truth. Exactly which part of the Republicans’ Benghazi charges has proven unworthy of investigation? Did ABC News recently join the feifdom of Fox News?
And The New Yorker’s Alex Koppelman had to admit, “It’s striking to see the twelve different iterations that the [administration’s] talking points went through… The mere existence of the edits seriously undermines the White House’s credibility on this issue.”
Yet Koppelman felt compelled to add, “For a long time, it seemed like the idea of a coverup was just a Republican obsession. But now there is something to it.” No—there always was something to it; the left was just too blinded by partisanship to see it. It isn’t bipartisan partisanship when liberals finally start admitting what conservatives have been saying all along.
Meanwhile, conservatives actually are the objects of politicization. Witness the IRS’s recent admission that it targeted dozens of conservative and Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny during the 2012 Presidential election, solely on the basis of having words like “patriot” in their names instead of “progress,” action,” or “organizing.” The IRS was warned about its improper filtering criteria back in 2010 and briefly stopped using them, then started using slightly different ones in 2012. Congress learned about the IRS harassment last spring, but, as with Benghazi, didn’t address it until after the election. Last Friday the IRS lied and said its actions were carried out by only a few low-level employees, a claim it has since retracted.
How has politicization affected free-speech rights as a result of the scandal? Numerous conservative and Tea Party groups had their tax-exempt status delayed for months or even years, some until after the 2012 election. Some are still waiting for approval. Many eventually had their requests granted only because the American Center for Law and Justice stepped in and helped fight their case. And how many conservative grass-roots activists will be intimidated into staying out of politics for fear of government harassment or bankrupting fines?
Naturally, liberals’ response to these charges has been to accuse Republicans of politicizing them.
The right is also the target of politicization in the form of persistent media bias. At least since the 1960s, mainstream journalists have reliably voted for and donated to Democratic over Republican candidates by an order of magnitude.
Conservatives know what it’s like to have their actions politicized; they experience it in the form of a constant stream of harassment from supposedly neutral organizations like the mainstream media and the IRS. Politicization for conservatives means an endless maelstrom of invective and staggering odds against getting their unfiltered message out to anyone outside their base.
If media-coddled liberals ever faced any actual politicization, it would crush them.
Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics
- NY Times blames Republicans for politicizing IRS illegally targeting conservative groups (rare.us)
- Survival Mode: 3 Huge Scandals Could Bring Down Obama Admin (1800politics.com)
- YA THINK? The Week: A flood of scandals engulfs Obama: From spinning Benghazi to politicizing th… (americanbulwark.com)
- Jay Carney accuses GOP of ‘politicizing’ Benghazi in disastrous WH presser (redalertpolitics.com)
- The Liberal Wall of Benghazi Denial Cracks (commentarymagazine.com)