By MARC McDONALD
Sen. John McCain got a lot of flak on Thursday for saying that President Obama is "directly responsible" for the shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub in which 49 people were killed.
I've got a couple of observations about this remark. First of all, McCain jumped the shark for me a long time ago. I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised at this latest nutty remark. Some time during the fiasco of the Bush years, McCain went from being a straight-shooter, sensible Republican to being prone to unhinged outbursts that one would normally encounter on talk radio.
But I wouldn't be too hard on McCain. Other Republicans have been saying virtually the same thing about Obama for years. In GOP World of Drudge/talk radio/Fox News, Obama is to blame for everything bad that ever happened. In their view, if someone slips on a grape peel, Obama is to blame. Over the years, many Republicans have rushed to blame Obama for everything from the Boston Marathon bombing to the San Bernardino attack.
For example, Ted Cruz repeatedly blamed Obama for failing to heed a warning about the San Bernardino attack that didn't even occur before the attack.
Oddly enough though, Obama never gets the slightest bit of credit from the GOP for anything good that happens ---and a lot of good has indeed happened on his watch.
Take the fact that there hasn't been a 9/11 on Obama's watch. (The likes of Orlando and San Bernardino, while horrific, were vastly smaller in scale that the apocalyptic disaster of 9/11, by a million miles the worst terror attack in America's history).
Incidentally, all mass shootings are acts of terror. Let's face it: in the U.S., mass shootings are routine events---and have been for decades.
The fact is, there hasn't been a 9/11 on Obama's watch. Obama in fact, has had a stellar record in keeping the American homeland secure. But he gets zero credit for it from the GOP. Just as he gets zero credit for the record stock market, the record corporate profit levels, and the record monthly streak of private-sector job growth. But listening to right-wing media, you'd be completely in the dark about any of these facts. I continue to hear Republicans (incredibly) claim that the disastrous Bush economy was better than Obama's economy.
While Obama gets zero credit for no 9/11 attacks and the stellar stock market, who do you think will immediately get ALL of the blame the second this stellar track record comes to an end? You can be assured that if there's another 9/11, Republicans will be howling that same day that it's all Obama's fault and that he should immediately resign. The same deal with the roaring stock market. If the market crashes tomorrow, it'll all be Obama's fault.
But some observers might make the claim that "This is just politics---it works both ways."
Does it, though?
Recall the aftermath of 9/11. I don't recall a single Democrat pointing the finger at Bush. In fact, the nation rallied around Bush. Bush's approval rating soared to 90 percent. I'm still unclear as to why this was. Even if you could argue that the Commander-in-Chief Bush was blameless for the disastrous breakdown in national security, I'm still in the dark as to why Bush's approval rating would soar into the stratosphere.
After 9/11, Bush's approval rating remained sky-high for years. It was only after the Iraq invasion started to descend into hellish chaos that Bush's approval rating began to sag.
So there you have it. If Obama is in charge, he gets blamed for everything. But if a Republican gets dandruff or has a leaky faucet, it's all Obama's fault.
Recall that with Bush in the White House, he pretty much got a free pass on just about everything.
War crimes? No problem.
Torture? No problem.
Illegal and unconstitutional warrantless wiretaps? No problem.
Lying the nation into an unnecessary, disastrous war? No problem.
Bush always got a free pass from Republicans (and frankly, from a lot of other people, as well as the mainstream media, much of the time).
All this came to an end, of course, when Obama was sworn in. And, of course, it continues today with Hillary Clinton. Say what you want to about the email scandal---but on a good day, Bush had bigger scandals than that before breakfast.
And take (please) the so-called Benghazi "scandal." Benghazi has now been investigated by 10 different congressional committees, chewing up over $7 million in taxpayer dollars. Incredibly, the endless and blatantly partisan investigations into Benghazi have now lasted longer than the government's investigation into 9/11.
As Dick Cheney put it in an interview with Sean Hannity about Benghazi, "I think it's one of the worst incidences, frankly, that I can recall in my career."
Yeah, Dick, whatever.
Never mind that, under Bush, there were 39 attacks or attempted attacks on U.S. embassies and embassy personnel. 87 people died during those attacks. And every attack was treated by the mainstream media as nothing more than a routine 24-hour news cycle story. Benghazi has gotten vastly more media coverage than all those attacks combined.
Of course, one of the key difference is that, when Benghazi happened, the gigantic million-watt Republican propaganda loudspeaker amplified the story. The whole right-wing talk radio/Drudge/Fox News GOP apparatus was able to breath constant new life into Benghazi. By constantly fanning the flames and shrieking about Benghazi, the GOP noise machine was able to repeatedly push the story into the mainstream media.
And, of course, as long as the Great GOP Noise Machine is around to distort news coverage, we can expect to see more of the same throughout a Hillary Clinton presidency. Which is one big reason why Hillary needs to restore the Fairness Doctrine. Until that happens, the likes of Rush will continue to pollute the public airwaves unchecked (public airwaves, which incidentally are owned by the American people).