Bess column: Washington’s blame game
Pointing fingers is a Washington pastime. The blame game currently playing out between Republicans and Democrats has been raging over issues ranging from the treatment of DACA recipients, funds for the Great Wall of Trump, a government shutdown, the Nunes’ Memo, the Democrat’s response, and the success and failure of the economy since the president took office last year.
Inflammatory rhetoric has been slung like manure across the aisle by both sides. Charges of obstruction of justice, overstepping the bounds of executive power, devious behavior, breaching national security and even treason have been leveled against some of Washington’s so-called best and brightest. And, in the case of House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, some not-so-bright ones as well.
It’s hard not to belabor the impotence of the recently released Nunes memo. Republican committee members began to walk it back almost immediately upon release. No wonder he’s looking for new ways to besmirch the reputation of the FBI. Nunes now claims that a counterintelligence investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s alleged responsibility for the Steele dossier should be opened. Nunes’s logic is confounding. Then again, he confided this to Sean Hannity. Even a former dairyman like Nunes should know you can’t wallow with the pigs and not get dirty.
Invariably, the Democrats will attempt to poke holes in the Nunes memo. Attempt is the key word, for even though the committee voted unanimously to release a Democratic response, the White House will make the ultimate decision as to whether the report will see the light of day as written or release a redacted version that protects President Trump. If the president chooses to do the latter, Republican committee members can blame the president who will, in turn, blame the Democrats. Responsibility and truth are checked at the door upon entering the Oval Office.
What is abundantly clear is one party more than another has an affinity for making misrepresentations and telling outright lies. Which party that is, of course, is dependent upon which “fake news” network you tune into.
The economy’s been a source of pride for this administration. President Trump claims he’s responsible for its phenomenal growth, low unemployment rates, and mind-blowing Wall Street gains. No matter that the economy had been experiencing a steady upturn throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. But no, the health of the economy was solely a result of the so-called “Trump Bump.” Just ask Hannity.
Hannity has consistently argued, for the benefit of his audience of one, that the president wasn’t getting enough credit for all the economic gains the country has experienced since he took office. The argument has been so constant and so compelling that the president took to repeating his propagandist’s party line like a mantra. In fact, at the same time the market was tumbling, President Trump was telling an interviewer he was “very, very happy with what was happening on Wall Street.”
Clearly, he hadn’t been listening to the radio. Had he been, he would have been warmed to the cockles of his heart when Hannity made the case that the turmoil being experienced in the financial markets was the fault of former president Barack Obama.
Hannity demonstrated his mastery of double-speak, presumably with straight face in addition to steady voice, when he unabashedly made the case that money was so cheap during the Obama years that it wreaked havoc with the economy and that Obama was the one solely responsible for the Dow falling 1,175 points.
When the stock market was at a record high, it was all about Trump. And, yet, when it took a dive within the same week, it was the fault of our allegedly birth certificate-less former president. Who has been out of office for over a year. That’s a tasty bit of pretzel logic.
How about this? What goes up must come down. The market was due for a correction. It’s been riding ridiculously high. Plus, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen left her post the weekend prior, leaving many wondering what the new Fed Chair’s policies will be. There are sundry intangibles that impact Wall Street on any given trading day. But, hey, why not blame the last president and the woman who wasn’t even elected for any negative news?
Inevitably, the tournament of blame will continue, sometimes as tame as a game of badminton, sometimes as rough as an MMA prize fight. The noise and nonsense have got to stop.
Blair Bess is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist. He edits the online blog Soaggragated.com, and can be reached at BBess.firstname.lastname@example.org.