After a few weeks of hand-wringing over the horrors of “politicized” Benghazi hearings, based entirely on the foolish words of Rep. Kevin McCarthy – who had nothing to do with those hearings – and a disgruntled ex-staffer of dubious portfolio, the media is suddenly very happy with Democrats politicizing the hell out of those hearings.
Admiring stories about the shrewd political battle plans and media-manipulation strategies of Hillary Clinton and her apologists are everywhere.
“Hillary Clinton is sailing into the Benghazi hot seat with the momentum in her favor,” burbled The Hill:
Bashing the Republican-led investigation has proven to be good for Clinton’s campaign prospects, given the highly partisan perceptions of the panel ostensibly created to scrutinize the 2012 attack that killed four Americans at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
She has sought to capitalize on the momentum ahead of her Thursday testimony during what is expected to be a combative, marathon session on Capitol Hill, where the former secretary of State will seek to draw her Republican questioners out to make them look like attack dogs.
During the first Democratic debate, held last week, Clinton called the Benghazi panel “basically an arm of the Republican National Committee.”
On Wednesday, her campaign released a new video calling the panel “a political charade” that comes “at your expense.”
For good measure, The Hill puts the Administration’s stonewalling in scare quotes – as if there was the slightest objective doubt that’s exactly what they’ve been doing for years:
Democrats think they have the upper hand.
“On the one hand [Republicans] want to be able to deliver some kind of a high-profile attack on the secretary,” Democratic committee member Adam Schiff (Calif.) said on Wednesday. “On the other hand, to the degree they try to do that, they merely confirm what their Republican colleagues have already said about the committee.”
Republicans insist that they wouldn’t need to drag Clinton in front of the stage lights if it weren’t for the Obama administration’s repeated “stonewalling.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, the committee received 900 new pages of emails from Ambassador Christopher Stevens — one of the four killed in the Benghazi attack. GOP lawmakers have claimed delays in the release of long-sought information are proof of the administration’s unwillingness to comply with the probe.
Three years after the attack, one day before the hearings, 900 more pages of emails get dropped on the committee, on top of the 1,300 pages that materialized the previous day. We’re still discovering relevant communications with highly significant information, largely through court orders forcing the Administration to comply with Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. But sure, put “stonewalling” in scare quotes, “journalists.”
Over at the Washington Post, it’s the same universal media action line: Democrats are “on offense” now:
Democrats are hoping that Thursday’s hearing of the House Select Committee on Benghazi will do one thing: confirm the vendetta against Hillary Clinton among committee Republicans they’ve been alleging for months.
After a series of Republican gaffes about the panel’s aims, Democrats are ramping up an aggressive, multi-pronged effort to quash the damaging effects of the 17-month investigation before Clinton testifies on Thursday. This week, ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and his staff are embracing the offensive with coordinated messaging, rapid response and a bevy of memos, fact-checking documents and reports. If you see Democratic panel members on television, it’s not by accident.
For the first time on Monday morning, Cummings called explicitly for the committee to disband, a comment that kicked off the week’s busy news cycle.
“No witnesses we interviewed substantiated these wild Republican conspiracy theories about Secretary Clinton and Benghazi,” the Maryland Democrat said in a statement, citing a brand-new report by Democratic staff. “It’s time to bring this taxpayer-funded fishing expedition to an end.”
It’s not a “conspiracy theory” that Clinton, Obama, and their people lied about the “spontaneous video protest” in Benghazi – it’s an absolute, documented fact.
As Clinton’s own chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, admits in an interview Democrats just leaked for political advantage, the only reason we know about Hillary’s secret email server is that the State Department noticed her off-the-books email address popping up in Benghazi documents they were required to produce for Congress, and realized they were missing a large amount of her correspondence. The first thought of everyone involved was how they could handle the media firestorm that would surely erupt. It’s always spin first, accountability last with this crowd.
It’s not a “theory” that Clinton and her State Department made astounding errors in judgment by sending Ambassador Chris Stevens into a terrorist hot zone without adequate protection or contingency plans – it’s a mournful reality the American people need to learn from.
Hillary Clinton certainly hasn’t learned anything good from it. On the eve of her Benghazi testimony, her media/political machine was touting her “work to make diplomats safe.”
These highly selective complaints about which side gets to “politicize” Benghazi, and which side is strictly forbidden from the slightest appearance of doing so, obscure the hard, cold truth that this was always going to be a political process. The enemies of the House Benghazi Committee are essentially telling us not to politicize politics.
We’re about to vote for a new President, and Hillary Clinton is one of the candidates. Her judgement, honesty, and character are vital components of that decision. Actually, according to current Democrat Party dogma, this is the only real political decision the American people should be allowed to make at the national level, because they’re coming off two years of telling us that midterm elections are stupid wastes of time and money, the President needs to crush Congress on behalf of all the people who don’t bother to vote in midterms, and the legislature should be a rubber-stamp for an all-powerful executive who calls the shots. They tell us not to regard any of this as “tyranny” because we can “fire” the tyrant in four years, if we don’t like his work.
And now they’re telling us we need to let aspiring tyrants with the right Party credentials skate on deadly errors of judgment and outrageous lies? It all stopped mattering after the last election, because Clinton and Obama were able to hide the truth until some phantasmal statute of limitations expired, and the whole thing instantly rotted away into “old news?”
There is no excuse for why so much of the truth has been hidden for years. Nothing was stopping Clinton and Obama from promptly admitting exactly what happened in Benghazi, and making their decisions fully transparent. Instead, three years later, we don’t even know exactly what either of them were doing on the night of September 11, 2012.
That’s not acceptable, and it should be particularly unacceptable for true believers in the Unitary Executive model favored by Obama supporters. There is little chance any congressional inquiry would result in jail time or other harsh punishments for the most powerful officials. These are inherently political affairs that end with careers in jeopardy, and the only way to end Hillary Clinton’s career is to defeat her in the 2016 presidential race.
If we don’t, we are most assuredly going to get more of what we’ve seen in the Benghazi saga: errors in judgment, secret deals with special interests, stonewalling, and retribution against whistleblowers. Frankly, we might get more of those things from Republican administrations too, if Clinton’s tactics for avoiding responsibility on Benghazi are successful.
It will be much harder for a Republican president to stonewall scandals into oblivion, and they won’t be collecting laurels from the media for their deft skill at peddling falsehoods, but there are lessons about dragging scandals out and turning the tables on investigators that could work for both parties. None of us should want to live under a government where either party can successfully claim that asking hard questions about their conduct is sinful.