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 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.
This article has been updated.