You’ve no doubt heard of the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). I’ve come to realize something like that goes on among righties whenever a new Republican scandal washes ashore. I propose that the five stages of reaction to a scandal are:
3. Blaming the Media
4. Evoking Bill Clinton.
That last stage allows the sufferer to return to stage 1 and ignore the issue. Also note that righties don’t necessarily go through these stages in order or even one stage at a time.
This is a working hypothesis; I might choose to revise the list in the future. Let me know what you think.
Anyway, I’ve been surfing about looking at reaction to the U.S. attorney scandal to find examples. Here we are:
Macsmind is at Stage 2, Belittling:
Business as usual folks, nothing to see here. Fact is that they werenâ€™t doing their job (note this was suspected democrat voter fraud – like that never happens) – so (for those slow of mind) that means bye, bye.
John Hawkins of Right Wing News is even deeper into Stage 2, if that’s possible:
So basically, this whole non-scandal scandal is over one guy who was dragging in feet in investigating voter fraud. Yet, the White House is taking it on the chin.
In our current model, “belittling” is just a nudge away from “ignoring.” The bloggers are noting that something happened, but they mentally edit out parts of the story; such as, the lack of evidence of Republican allegations of voter fraud and the fact that some of the purged attorneys were pressured to bring indictments against Democrats before the midterm elections.
For example, see this March 7 story about former U.S. attorney John McKay of Washington State, who was pressured by a congressman about voter fraud allegations in the election of Governor Chris Gregoire, and also accused by the White House of “mishandling” an investigation into the alleged fraud.
Asked if his failure to convene a grand jury in the election probe was the reason he was denied a judgeship, McKay said he did not know.
But he said he was confident he and his staff had handled the case properly, adding that there was no evidence of voter fraud despite widespread complaints by Republicans in Washington state and the nation’s capital.
“Frankly, it didn’t matter to me what people thought,” McKay told a House Judiciary subcommittee. “There was no evidence of voter fraud.”
They were not doing their job. Their appointments were stripped.
But the left and our MSM want to bombard us with the appearance of evil.
Now, one could argue that “blaming the media” and “belittling” are pretty close to the same thing, and maybe I should roll them into one stage. But sometimes “blaming the media” can be so much more. Remember Jamil Hussein?
Mr. Hawkins also provides a fascinating twist on Stage 4:
What they should be doing is exactly what the Clinton Administration would be doing in a situation like this, relentlessly and savagely attacking the other side, calling it a political witch hunt, and telling the public that this is exactly why we can’t have bipartisanship in Washington, because these jerks keep pulling stunts like this.
This whole thing is a big joke, but because the Bush Administration is still, STILL, for the most sticking with this “new tone,” mush and letting the Democrats use them as punching bags, the joke is on the Bushies.
In some cases “evoking Bill Clinton” means just the basic “Clinton did it, too” excuse, which is the foundation of all conservative ethics. Righties seem to think that Bill Clinton is the measure of all morals, and that they can’t be accused of doing anything wrong if Clinton did the same thing. But Mr. Hawkins’s post is a lovely example of psychological projection, either conscious or unconscious. David Neiwert at Orcinus has written some great posts on this, such as here and here. So “evoking Bill Clinton” describes a wide and complex range of behaviors.
James Joyner skipped to Stage 5:
For whatever reason, Iâ€™ve had trouble mustering an interest in the brouhaha over Attorney General Alberto Gonzalezâ€™ firing of some U.S. attorneys for â€œpolitical reasons.â€ Itâ€™s been the topic of much discussion in the blogosphere and the halls of Congress but just hasnâ€™t inspired me to write anything.
Front page stories in todayâ€™s NYT and WaPo, which have inspired another mini-surge in blog outrage, continue to leave me yawning.
I wrote in January 2006 that “When cornered, righties will either fall back on â€œDemsâ€ (or â€œClintonâ€) â€œdid it too,â€ or else feign boredom. (Yawn. So Washington is corrupt. Who cares?).” It’s where they go when their only other option is admitting the truth.
It is worthy of note that the bulk of the Right Blogosphere only recently moved out of Stage 1. You know a Republican scandal is getting long legs when that happens.