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‘Scandal Envy’ Behind Petraeus Drama, Allegations Obama ‘Ignored’ Benghazi?

Commentary | Is “scandal envy” the reason behind the non-starter Benghazi brouhaha and high-school shenanigans that supposedly comprise the massive Gen. Petraeus scandal?

The question of scandal envy was considered this week in a Salon-carried American Prospect piece centering on the Benghazi debate and Petraeus handwringing, a study in continual attempts by his opponents to paint President Obama as inept, incapable, sympathetic to a number of factions supposedly hostile to the American way of life, or just flat-out illegitimate.

The scandal envy suggestion seems, at least to many on the left, as a plausible explanation for why a series of allegations seem to be so damning to some and so head-scratching to others. (To put it delicately, diffusion of coverage on … certain news outlets … may also be in part to blame.) And as an openly left-leaning individual myself, I share the befuddlement many liberal pundits and newsmen and women seem to express in working out, even now, how Obama may have “ignored” Benghazi or why we are supposed to be so angry that four Americans were tragically killed in an attack on a diplomatic entity in a dangerous zone — a circumstance that is tragic, but not a surprise.

For weeks during the election, seemingly unlinked stories on The Inquisitr were beset with comments circling back to the non-sequitur. Like the appearance of the tides or the rise of the sun, if President Obama made an appearance on a campaign stop or got a hug from a baby, commenters would rail, “Well, WHAT about BENGHAZI? What did he know and when did he know it?”

And even now, as the Benghazi “scandal” has been in the news for weeks, many lefties have no idea why this is seen as a coverup on the right rather than a a surprise attack on our consulate that was not, at first, something we fully understood. On last night’s Real Time With Bill Maher, Maher lamented that he had, in the course of the controversy, remained unable to tease out any possibly scandalous angle. And in a post-election, broad sense-making rant, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow stated simply: “Benghazi was an attack on us, not a scandal by us.”

The Petraeus issue as well seems so imprecisely framed as an Obama administration failure rather than what it so clearly appears to be — a man who, unrelated to the Presidency’s dealings was none too skilled at hiding his own personal indiscretions and an inevitable eruption of mistress jealousy. But what did he know and when did he know it? We’re only asking the hard questions here.

It’s not as if, contrary to right-wing dogma, Obama is beyond reproach with the left. He’s been pilloried for enforcing federal marijuana laws, the NDAA, continual and imprecise drone strikes that lack “surgical” accuracy, the successful absconding with American wealth by Wall Street scam artists — I could go on. The idea that Obama has escaped scrutiny simply does not hold up when examined even loosely.

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