The crescendo of Republican desperation has reached a fever pitch after Darrell Issa was outed as staging a faux IRS investigation in order to get the results the GOP wanted.
This time, it’s the alleged threatening, menacing behavior of the Obama administration aimed at pro sports leagues to get them to help promote the enrollment of ObamaCare. Republicans are using both chambers of Congress to establish the narrative that the Obama administration is so threatening that pro sports leagues have been intimidated into helping them, and may not even feel comfortable answering the Republican Inquisition in writing.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter dated June 27th to the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, PGA and the chairman of NASCAR alleging that the Obama administration has a “record” of using the “threat of policy retaliation” and urging the pro sports teams to contact them with concerns:
We have long been concerned by the Obama Administration’s record of using the threat of policy retaliation to solicit support for its policies or to silence its critics. Should the administration or its allies suggest that there will be any policy consequence for your decision not to participate in their outreach efforts, we urge you to resist any such pressure and to contact us immediately so that we may conduct appropriate oversight.
The McConnell/Cornyn (Senate Republicans) letter:
However, Talking Points Memo asked McConnell’s office to elaborate on the alleged threat, and his spokesman Michael Brumas walked it back:
(T)he senator “is not alleging the administration has threatened or pressured the sports leagues. See the next to the last graf of the letter which says ‘Should the administration,’ etc.”
Politico wrote it up in a helpful way for Senate Republicans as “McConnell and Cornyn also urged the sports leaders to resist any potential “threat of policy retaliation to solicit support” by the administration.”
But the Senate Republicans letter clearly states, “We have long been concerned by the Obama Administration’s record of using the threat of policy retaliation.” That is an allegation of an existing record of using threats, which is both untrue and yet quite helpful for the Republican narrative.
The NFL spokesperson told TPM that any suggestion of threat is, “Not correct.”
Just in case the lie isn’t apparent yet, a little coordination from House Republicans might clear it up. Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) sent a letter to the commissioners of the NFL and the NBA, Roger Goodell and David Stern, expressing his “concern”, “I am writing to learn more about the nature of your conversations with HHS and to alert you to the impact of this law on your fan base.”
Scalise demanded the answers to the following Inquisitions:
Has the NFL or the NBA been asked by HHS to contribute funds or in-kind services to any third-party organization aiding in the promotion or implementation of PPACA? If so, please provide details.
2. Has the NFL or the NBA been asked by HHS to encourage enrollment in the new health insurance exchanges or other aspects of PPACA? If so, please provide details.
3. Given your previous and ongoing business with HHS and other federal agencies, do you find helping to promote the Obama Administration’s most important legislative priority a potential conflict of interest? Please provide details.
Scalise wraps up by cautioning the pro sports leagues from doing Obama’s “dirty work” for him, while slyly (but transparently) planting the seed/narrative that we all know that the Obama administration is so nasty that the commissioners may not feel comfortable responding in writing.
He wrote (emphasis mine), “I would caution you against being coerced into doing their dirty work for them. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you’re uncomfortable responding in writing due to concerns about inappropriate or unwelcomed pressure from the Administration to cooperate with the implementation of PPACA (ObamaCare).”
Republicans are making absurd allegations based on nothing but the need to plant the seeds of Obama Scary in order to further their inaccurate narrative about the Obama administration.
The Republicans’ goal is not to be right about any of these scandals, but rather for each allegation of a scandal to add up to an overall picture of a Nixonian administration that can’t be trusted. It’s a long-range, broad-scale ad hominem attack aimed at the Democratic President, because they have nothing substantive and because the public likes and trusts Obama.
How do you take down a President who has no real scandals? You smear his character over and over again, until the public assumes that where there is smoke, there is fire, and the truth is probably somewhere “in the middle”. This faulty reasoning makes Obama half-way guilty of things he never actually did, and let’s Republicans off for not only planting lies, but also failing to legislate.
With each fake scandal, a few points get shaved off of Obama’s approval ratings. Come election time, Republicans will run ads based on the media’s false reporting of these scandals, before they were outed as the lies they are. The general public will be none the wiser, and thus, Republicans will make a dent with the middle based on slander alone. This is the only way Republicans can hope to win elections now, since they can’t run on their own merits.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.