One of the things that fascinates me about the squabbling over the Spontaneous Video Protest narrative is the way Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their defenders proceed – probably correctly – on the assumption that nobody remembers what was actually said and done during the weeks after 9/11/12. Clinton is explicitly presenting an altered reality where she always knew it was an organized terror attack, but there was also a video protest at the consulate, and she wisely measured both aspects of the event in her response.
What a load of malarkey! Nobody in the Administration acted like they were dealing with a terrorist strike. Their entire spin effort in the first few crucial news cycles was to portray Benghazi solely as a mass demonstration run wild. That way, the American people wouldn’t ask such inconvenient questions as “How did this happen? Why weren’t you prepared to deal with it? And what was Ambassador Stevens doing in Benghazi, anyway?” The idea was to portray the whole thing as an act of unpredictable nature, a sharknado Team Obama could not have anticipated or prevented.
What today’s left-wing spinmeisters want you to forget is that Obama and Clinton were so invested in the video protest fantasy that they launched a searing national discussion about the limits of the First Amendment. Remember that? For a couple of weeks, every liberal blogger was following Obama’s lead and pounding out screeds about how free speech only went so far, it’s not surprising Muslims would be upset about the “slander of the Prophet,” we really ought to watch what we say and avoid giving offense, that rotten YouTube video maker is a sleazy character who belongs in jail, etc.
When Obama spoke to the United Nations in that “future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” speech, he didn’t rail against organized terrorists working for al-Qaeda who pulled off the sacking of a U.S. consulate and murder of an ambassador. He spent most of his time talking about how free speech has limits, we should avoid inflaming religious sensibilities, etc. He even made a point of throwing in other religions after talking about Islam first, to show that he was concerned about everybody’s blood pressure.
Hillary Clinton lied right into the faces of the Benghazi victims’ families, vowing that she’d bring the video maker to justice. There was not a hint in anything she, Obama, or their flacks said or did that indicated their primary concern was an organized military assault that used some sort of protest (whose existence in any form is not strongly supported by people who were on the ground in Libya) as cover for their nefarious deeds. Otherwise they wouldn’t have spent days dithering about the conflict between the First Amendment and Muslim sensibilities – they’d have been unloading their rhetorical guns on the scumbag terrorists who had once again slandered the Religion of Peace by using it as a fig leaf to cover their war crimes.
Obama and Clinton were so all-in on the “video protest” narrative that when details about the weapons used in the attack leaked out, people like John McCain were mocking the Administration for claiming that angry movie critics ran home to grab their precision-guided mortars from their bedroom closets and take things up a notch. And remember how, when the original Administration fairy tale fell apart, Obama, Clinton, and Joe Biden started claiming the bumbling dolts in the intelligence community fooled them with phony talking points and inaccurate reports? That whole scam was later shredded in congressional testimony from military and intel people, and buried forever with the recent FOIA discovery of those smoking-gun White House spin-coordination emails.
So now we’re up to Benghazi version 12.375, and Clinton’s trying to claim she always knew it was both a terrorist attack and a video protest. The only reason they can get away with this stuff is that it’s pushing two years since the attack, the media is not interested in reminding its customers of what the first three weeks of Benghazi spin sounded like, and the public’s memory has dimmed enough to make it malleable.