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Stewart Slams Republicans, They Target Hillary

Is this an impeachable offense? No. Will Hillary Clinton’s evident involvement in the revision of the administration’s line on Benghazi harm her presidential chances in 2016? No. Will this be of great political utility to Republicans? No. Will this harm Democrats terribly? No … – Failings of Bam and Hill, by John Podhoretz

Republicans waging war.

Republicans waging war.

REPUBLICANS want the mantle of national security they lost under George W. Bush back and they’re going to do anything, contort the facts, torture the what ifs, to make it happen.

The reviews are in and Darrel Issa and the Republicans found nothing on Benghazi that could possibly come close to what Mike Huckabee and the Republican right hoped.

Senator Marco Rubio wasted no time in hitting Clinton, whom he’s dreaming to take on in 2016. Rubio drills into the YouTube video, because it’s the only detail low information Republicans can grab on to and digest.

“What I think is sad is how many people were around the administration — including the former Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton — knew this to be the case and allowed this to move forward anyway,” Rubio told Fox News on Thursday. “You would hope that people would’ve stood up and said, ‘This is wrong. The American people deserve the truth.’ That didn’t happen.”

As Foreign Policy noted today on The Cable, there were 32 mentions of Hillary Clinton at the hearings yesterday.

Jon Stewart shows the proper disgust over the selective outrage now catching fire with Republicans and being reported in national and new media outlets.

During George W. Bush’s presidency, quoting Stewart, “there were 54 attacks on diplomatic targets that killed 13, garnered only 3 hearings total, zero outrage on Fox, so why is this attack so different for Republicans?”

But Benghazi versus Watergate? Reagan and Iran-Contra?

Michael Hirsch of National Journal weighs in on Benghazi:

There was tragic incompetence, plainly, in the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attacks, and even possibly some political calculation. It is a record that may well come to haunt Hillary Clinton, the first Secretary of State to lose an ambassador in the field in more than three decades, if she runs for president in 2016. But the obvious Republican effort to turn this inquiry into the Democratic (Obama) version of the Iraq intelligence scandal that has tarred the GOP since the George W. Bush years — led by that least-credible of champions, the almost-always-wrong Darrell Issa — is just not going to amount to much.

The RNC is already making the case against Clinton to Republicans. Their first question: What Did Hillary Clinton Know About The Changes To The Benghazi Talking Points?

Why is the RNC focusing on the talking points? You can argue about the damage the talking points did to the Obama administration, as well as Susan Rice who served them up, but the talking points are about narrative, not what happened in Benghazi. Even the Washington Post, who has been critical of the Obama administration on the talking points story, including Jay Carney’s version of events, admits that the reason the initial Benghazi talking points matter is because of politics and the 2012 election. This is actually what’s got Republicans so worked up.

The talking points have become important because, in the midst of President Obama’s reelection campaign, for a number of days they helped focus the journalistic narrative on an anti-Islam video – and away from a preplanned attack. As we noted in our timeline of administration statements, it took two weeks for the White House to formally acknowledge that Obama believed the attack was terrorism.

The terrorism label goes to the heart of Obama’s claim that al Qaeda was “on the run,” which he used in his campaign continually. This national security issue is the only platform on which Republicans have historically and consistently beat Democrats and they want it back.

Benghazi is the opening for Republicans. Obama beat them on it in 2012, to their thinking, on national security and they resent it and are venting a long held grudge. For those looking in it means the Republicans are finally back in the game. Looking to 2016 and a possible Hillary run, it’s been very depressing for Republicans. Because of the Fox News drumbeat on Benghazi and Clinton’s role, it’s not anymore.

Another question the RNC is using to hit Clinton and continue their fantasy of a “cover up”: Why Wasn’t Clinton Interviewed By The Benghazi Accountability Review Board, Which Carney Called “Rigorous And Unsparing”?

Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, co-chair of the Accountability Review Board, yesterday on Andrea Mitchell answered this question fully and completely . It’s just Republicans don’t want to use the facts. Pickering’s video is below, but it boils down to this quote.

“We met with Hillary Clinton. We did so before the report was finalized. … We believed and we still believe the decision making was made quite well below her level. It was reviewed below her level.” — Thomas Pickering, co-chair of the Accountability Review Board

Chuck Todd proclaimed today that Benghazi will follow Hillary Clinton into 2016 if she runs for president. No one knows this more than Clinton, because the Benghazi attack happened on her watch and included the first ambassador killed in three decades. These are indisputable facts and why she accepted responsibility for what happened in Benghazi.

After George W. Bush’s record, from Iraq to Abu Ghraib, plus letting Osama bin Laden get away, the Democrats, then Barack Obama, had made them look weak and incompetent. Benghazi, as Republicans see it, is their opening. Because Hillary Clinton will be a juggernaut against them if she runs in 2016, they now also feel they’ve finally got something to weigh her down, when before she seemed to the GOP to be untouchable.

What John Podhoretz writes today is all true, but Republicans are going to beat the drum anyway to make sure the American voter never forgets that the last national security screw up wasn’t on the watch of George W. Bush and the Republicans.

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This article has been updated.

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12 Responses to Stewart Slams Republicans, They Target Hillary

  1. Smooth Jazz May 9, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    You’re a Clinton Advocate and Apologist, so I guess the fact that she participated in a fraud & hoax to foist this ‘YouTube” video story on the country — and to the loved ones who lost relatives in the attack — doesn’t bother you in the least?? Nothing to stop Hillary from getting her “turn”. Nothing to see here. Move along. They knew it wasn’t the YouTube video yet St Hill hived up that story next to the Ambassodor’s body and in Ads in Pakistan until that story could hold up any longer. Disgusting.

    I think all the apologists for the Admin you quoted are Liberals. Including Stewart. Not sure if advocating for a White House they Support is surprising or means anything. This type of thing will just has a way of easing into the public consiousness. Time will tell. No one know the full impact yet.

    • Ga6thDem May 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Where is the concern from the GOP about the thousands of soldiers who died in Iraq??? Nowhere to be found among the GOP is there? And Chris Stevens was what Republicans claim to hate a “government bureaucrat”

      Look, the GOP is not interested in finding out what happened. If you are serious about finding out about something, you don’t send the clown posse in.

  2. Taylor Marsh May 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Smooth Jazz May 9, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Well, that was quite an impressive effort. An ad hominem attack assault without disproving a word I have written in any post on Benghazi is anything but factual.

    I’ve been a champion for the foreign service and State Department for years, unlike others, so shut your yap and quit using the deaths of the brave to make a political point. There’s been far too much in the last days on that score, including some of the whistle-blowers who deserve respect for their service, but should be ashamed for the way a few have preened in public to make political points, while offering self-serving statements.

    There is a lot of hand wringing today from your quarter of the political world. You’re just bummed that all you’ve got is an Obama disaster on initial explanations on Benghazi, which I’ve cited from the start, but no smoking gun, not even after 32 mentions of Hillary Clinton.

    Cheer up!

    The negative ads to come will still target all the nefarious things that Hillary Clinton supposedly did, even if none of it can be proven without using Victoria Toensing and Mr. diGenova as a shield.

  3. mjsmith May 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    I do know what this has to do with 2016? Just release the information. House Speaker John Boehner called on President Obama to release emails that he says show how the White House wanted to change the Benghazi attack. This is not a political issue, this is a National security issue. George W. Bush, as far as I know, has nothing to do with this.

    We are not being told the truth about this, and it is clear that there is a deliberate attempt to mislead. I understand that Hilary Clinton asked the Senate “What difference does it make?!?!?” in regards to why we were attacked.

    I feel that we are alos being intentionally misled on what is going on in Syria too.

    I would rather learn about what happened. There might not bee a crime, there clearly is a cover up. If mistakes were made, we should know about them. If people step forward to ttake responsibility for what happened, they are obligated to say what happened and how it was handled.

    This idea that the people who want to know what happened are wrong for even aking is completely ridiculous.

    • Ga6thDem May 9, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      George W. Bush has a lot to do with it because he damaged the GOP’s credibility. Did the GOP spend this much time and energy finding out what happened to those WMD’s in Iraq? Not that i recall. They refused to investigate that disaster that cost thousands of lives and now it’s laughable to most people that they are up in arms about Benghazi.

      Really what difference does it make why we were attacked? The fact of the matter is it did happen. We can either learn from it or we won’t. The GOP is really not interested in finding out what went on. We have been through this time and time again with the GOP for the past 20 years. You know there is a reason why the majority of Americans dislike the GOP and this is it.

      Hillary took responsibility for the attack. This really is not going to go anywhere.

      • mjsmith May 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

        How can we learn from it? Do you think we can learn from it by lying about what happened? Do you think we can learn from it by not disclosing what happened? It what ways has Clinton took responsibility for this? George W. Bush has nothing at al to do with this.

        The reason it makes a difference why we were attacked is so we can respond as necessary. The response of making an apology video commercial condemning a youtube video was a bad idea. THis is Hilary CLinton’s idea of taking responsibility for the attack – a joke

        • Ga6thDem May 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

          The facts are out there about what happened.

          You are completely missing the point about George W. Bush. My point is that the GOP has no credibility because of their failure to investigate George W. Bush and the fact that he caused the deaths of thousands of Americans. There were numerous attacks on consulates and embassies, many times the number of people that died in Benghazi, and it was crickets from the GOP.

          The GOP has sent the clown posse into investigate. If you were so concerned about what happened then you should be raising cane with the GOP about what they are doing. Take it out of the house into an independent panel if you are so concerned. You need to accept the fact that the GOP is not the least bit interested in finding out what happened. If they thought it was a serious matter they would treat it as such and they are not.

          • newdealdem1 May 10, 2013 at 10:07 am #

            Sorry, Mr MJ Smith, you have lost all credibility with me for one because of your unending rabid support and apologist for the butcher of Syria, Assad. And, you have the “nerve” to go after Clinton and Obama over Benghazi when it was in the words of Taylor (with which I agree) “a blundering mistake and not a scandal” or anywhere near the same solar system as your man, Assad.

            Give “me” a break.

            Ga6thDem, this man doesn’t care about the facts, his opinions are the facts. And, he will continue to miss the point about GW Bush (and Cheney) until the cow jumps over the moon.

          • mjsmith May 10, 2013 at 11:37 am #

            newdealdem1 – Standing against al quaeda in Syria, as in Benghazi, as in any part of the World where they exist is not the same as being an apologist for Assad. Saying that al quaeda removing Assad from power is a horrible and stupid idea is not the same as being an apologist for Assad.

            I do not apreciate you telling untruths about me. If you are unable to comprehend what I am saying, please ask for some clarification, instead of misinterpreting my words and claiming things about me that are completely not true.

  4. DaGoat May 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    I listened to some of the hearing (heard all of Cummings opening) and also read excerpts, and it turned out as expected. I disagree with Taylor that the GOP were the big losers. It is a cliche but we were the losers. On the one hand we had the GOP with ridiculous grandstanding and obvious attempts to smear Hillary Clinton, and on the other the Democrats doing contortions to thank the witnesses for coming while simultaneously discrediting them.

    There are two main issues here. One is the handling of the attack itself, which given that four people died can’t be painted as anything but a failure. Yes bad things happen sometimes but you need to find out what happened so it doesn’t happen again. It sounds like most of the witness finger-pointing was directed at Patrick Kennedy, but neither party seemed to care much about him.

    The other issue is the bizarre handling of the public statements by the Obama administration after the attack. Th GOP is trying to paint this as Obama trying to save face or some such, but that doesn’t ring true at all. There has to be some reason they handled things the way they did, but I don’t buy the GOP version and the Democrats seem completely incurious about it. And yes it makes a difference. we should be able to trust that the president and his spokespersons are telling us the truth. It’s possible Rice was just a stooge and sent out to recite incorrect talking points, but why? And why would she put up with that? And it wasn’t just Rice, Obama also perpetuated the narrative even we he clearly knew it was wrong.

    A couple of other observations –

    The 22 hours to get a fighter jet to Benghazi seems amazingly slow to me. My father was a USAF pilot in SAC and I was in the USAF for 4 years stationed on a SAC base. I’m not going to say my opinion is better than the generals because they had much more info than I, but man the 22 hour estimate really raised my eyebrows.

    I applaud and respect Hillary Clinton for taking responsibility for Benghazi, but it will mean she will continue to be questioned on this, and that is how it should be. You don’t say you take responsibility and then be surprised when you take the heat for it. Her taking responsibility is the beginning, not the end. One of the Benghazi victim’s mothers asked something to the effect of “who was minding the store?” and that’s a reasonable question.

    One thing most people forget is how important the issue of whether the attack was spontaneous was in the presidential debates. During the Candy Crowley debate Obama scored a major coup when Romney claimed Obama had not called Benghazi a terrorist attack. Looking back Obama really was trying to have it both ways, and that makes the issue important from a historical sense if nothing else.

    • mjsmith May 9, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      This is true –> “You don’t say you take responsibility and then be surprised when you take the heat for it. Her taking responsibility is the beginning, not the end.”

  5. newdealdem1 May 10, 2013 at 10:23 am # From Dana Milbank (hardly a Clinton supporter) in WAPO:

    “”Hicks went on for 39 minutes – far beyond the customary five-minute allowance – and nobody objected until Issa finally paused the storytelling so lawmakers could pose questions.

    Hicks had his grievances with how events in Benghazi were handled, but his gripes were about bureaucratic squabbles rather than political scandal. And this whistleblower spent a good bit of time tooting his own horn. “I earned a reputation for being an innovative policymaker who got the job done. I was promoted quickly and received numerous awards,” Hicks informed the lawmakers. “I have two master’s degrees. . . . I speak fluent Arabic. . . . I fast became known as the ambassador’s bulldog because of my decisive management styles. . . . Incoming charge Larry Pope told me personally that my performance was near-heroic.”

    Issa and his Republican colleagues encouraged this cult of personality in their own statements, evidently anticipating an effort by Democrats to discredit Hicks. But it turned out there was no need.””

    That added to what I posted yesterday in a related TM thread:

    At the link, there is an interesting “fill in the blanks” about Hicks, Issa’s “STAR WITNESS” and his position as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) from one insider/American diplomat.

    Whilst I don’t deny Hicks’ being very upset about the loss of his friend and colleague, Chris Stevens (that seemed real enough to me), but there was something about this guy that didn’t sit well with me when I watched a bit of the hearings last night on cspan. Sour grapes came to mind and that It just seemed he wanted his 15 minutes in the spotlight.

    From Foreign Policy Magazine:

    “From an American diplomat, e-mailing Situation Report this morning:

    “Hicks is classic case of underachiever who whines when big breaks don’t come his way. 22 years as an FSO and he is still an FS-1 (COL equivalent). His uninformed comments about F-16s validates why he is still a mid-ranked officer. Where was his testimony on his role in trying to talk his ambassador out of making an overnight visit to a place he knew was dangerous? Very few DCMs who lose an ambassador can expect greater responsibilities…and there are dozens of talented FS-1 ranked ‘desk officers’ working honorably at the State Department. Also of interest is that he is running for a senior leadership position in the State Dept. union/professional association, [American Foreign Service Association]. He didn’t get my vote.” “ The NYT’s article on the Independent Benghazi report.

    If anyone wants to read the 39 page Independent Report on Benghazi, here it is:

    There’s nothing to see here. The Investigations have been performed, the State Department was found wanting inasmuch as there were systemic failures that contributed to the chaos and attacks as did the CIA and DOD as well as the GOP-led House which continued to underfund the State Department budget regardless of the numerous times former SOS Clinton “begged” for more funding.

    The Independent report made 29 recommendations (to which Clinton added even more) to the State Department to implement. As of this writing, it is my understanding that most of those recs have been implemented.

    And, that is what is important here: to make sure to all extents possible that this tragedy doesn’t happen again, but that still doesn’t mean it won’t no matter how much we try to prevent it from happening.

    What we have left is all political noise and phoney handwringing as blatant as I’ve seen it and there has been plenty of both over the years from both sides of the isle (although the GOP is far better at this than the Dems).

    Issa and Chaffetz are political hacks whose sole misison is to annhiliate the opposition especially someone as powerful and popular and politically savvy and unafraid to take on the GOP mad clown machine and scary smart as Clinton. Their obvious attempted pre-emptive strickes against Clinton are so bald-faced and hilarioiusly transparent, it’s like watching a mess of them walking in front of one with toilet paper hanging in their shoes and dragging after them like a cow bell.

    They are SO afraid of Clinton, it’s all they have to work with and I expect they will work it until they realize they cannot beat that dead horse any longer as it’s turned into dust.

    The latest hilarity from this gaggle of retro cretins has Cheney counseling the GOP to subpoena Clinton after he himself and the Bush Administration raised their collective middle finger when they were subpoenaed time and again by the Congress on Iraq, torture and Valarie Plame and they refused to appear. High hypocrisy anyone?

    Although Cheney may have hanged himself on his own petard as Paul Abrams notes in the Huffington Post Oh, please, go ahead, Mr. Cheney, make my day. :)

    And, Rove has now entered the frey with an anti-Hillary video and Benghazi.

    The political piling on has begun. This only proves how terrified of a Hilary Clinton run for POTUS these morally bankrupt creeps are.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong