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With little political capital to work with, conservative's slim hope for finding an issue with traction seems to rest on the slender thread of...Benghazi

As we lurch into the lurid details of the tragedy in Benghazi, one has to ask “why are we drilling so deeply into this event. Republicans would give a simple answer: “to get the facts”. While that seems reasonable, as well as useful, in reality, it is an exercise with little meaningful return for the American public. Was it a terrorist attack, or merely a demonstration that got out of hand? Take you choice. As a matter of fact, during the Bush years (2002-2008) there were 13 such attacks on Consulates and Embassies resulting in 66 staff deaths.

But making matters worse is the politicizing and character if the investigation. It is a metaphor for virtually all the things wrong with our current Congress; and the American people are getting very tired and increasingly angry about the way Congress conducts itself. . No wonder the public approval rating for this Congress is often less than 10 percent.

To start with, the hearings have no interest in determining the most crucial outcome that could be achieved: how to prevent this in the future. Instead the questioning is clearly a witch-hunt hoping to find some malfeasance by the administration that would go beyond poor judgment, or even tactical errors. The hoped for goal by the GOP representatives is to find some sort of cover-up, perhaps criminal action, and even (by one comment) an impeachable offense.  Having lived through the incredibly dangerous and disgusting McCarthy era, recent hearings have the faint odor of that period.

Representative Darrell Issa (R. California) who is leading the hearings seemed eager to lead his star witness Gregory Hicks, into saying some critical statement that would indict key State Department staffers.  Hicks, a 22 year veteran of the State Department could be a valued witness for the nation if asked the one most crucial question: “what can we do as a Congress and a nation to prevent this from happening again?” No such question was asked.

Bringing us to one of the things that could be done, and again displaying the incompetence and hypocrisy of a Congress which is exasperating the American people – better funding for Embassy security. Since the Republicans have gained control of the House, they have drastically reduced funding to protect State Department personnel around the world. In fiscal year 2011, lawmakers shaved $128 million off of the administration's request for embassy security funding. House Republicans drained off even more funds in fiscal year 2012 -- cutting back on the department's request by $331 million. As with the blow back regarding air travel delays from the recent sequester, there is value in being careful what you ask for; especially critical services. But it is the hypocrisy (from both parties,) which most galls the public.

Next, what the public is not ready for is starting the 2016 campaign. The recent presidential election is barely over; our campaigns are interminably long, the public is deadened to them by the time to vote – yet Carl Rove’s American Crossroads Super PAC released a video this week clearly attempting to damage Hilary Clinton through the Benghazi affair. Clinton is not even in government anymore, why blemish her? The only reason is as a precursor to the 2016 election, in which the Republicans know she is the most formidable candidate. So, for the GOP, election 2016 is now on the table…let the games began.

Another fallout from this event is the old chestnut about the “liberal media”.  Conservatives are concerned that Benghazi is not getting enough attention – at least the kind of attention they would hope for. The other day Megyn Kelly, a major player on Fox News complained, "If you look at, sort of, across the mainstream media, it (Benghazi) was a collective yawn," The Washington Post's Erik Wemple noted that the hearings indeed had been given top billing on the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. As an aside, one morning during the Benghazi news hiatus, I turned on Fox News: Benghazi.  When I turned off the TV that evening and checked Fox News: Benghazi. Fox has been blowing on the Benghazi ember 24/7 for months now. Obviously, it is the Republican’s hope that somehow Benghazi will be their political savior, and they are desperately trying to keep it alive.

Which brings us to the genesis of “why Benghazi” -- why is this story is being nurtured, fed, fertilized and developed? It is really an indictment of the paucity of issues the Republicans have now. Weak as it is, it pretty much represents all the political capital the GOP has to work with. The economy is growing, and pretty robust. Moral issues such as abortion, gay rights, etc have modest interest to the majority of Americans. Afghanistan is winding down. Obamacare has some partisan value, but it is de facto the healthcare system of our nation now. So what is left? Not much, but one of the few issues that the Republicans are still hoping will have some traction is Benghazi. It is slim pickings, but when one has little else to talk about, for conservatives…one can only hope.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You hit the nail on the head (7+ / 0-)

    The Republicans have no positive message. They don't even want to own the austerity they have forced on the country (and want to deepen in the coming years).

    So they return to the old Bush/Cheney/Rove lie: only we can keep America safe--just don't count 9/11 (that was Clinton's fault!).

  •  The unanswered questions include: (0+ / 0-)

    Was there sufficient intelligence that could have been utilized to save American lives by either preventing the attack or minimizing its impact?  If not, then so be it.  But if there was, why was security not beefed up accordingly?  Alternatively, why was the compound not abandoned, if nothing better could be done?

    If there were no warnings prior to the attack, once the attack was underway, were support personnel in close enough proximity that they could have been called in to help defend the compound?  Did anyone nearby actually offer support?  If so, were they ordered not to assist?  If so, by whom was the order given and why?  

    These are the questions we've not gotten clear answers to yet.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

    by Neuroptimalian on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:16:44 PM PDT

    •  We could offer all our personnel in every very (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      dangerous place in the world absolute safety.
      However, it would cost a lot of money.
      We might rethink where we really need our people as well.

      Benghazi-gate  is absolutely just a Karl Rove, gop concoction of bullshit.

      The kinds of questions you mention have already been asked and answered, or are in the process of being answered, by the responsible people.

      You're just playing into their hands by even giving it a thought. It's just a gop scam.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:30:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  all reasonable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sure, would be good to get these answers, but that will not be sufficient for the Republicans -- they are seeking something criminal, impeachable, or damaging to help them win the next election. I would rather find out WHAT can be done to better protect our Embassies. That is not on the conservative agenda -- that would take money and funding..

  •  Why Benghazi? Clinton, 2016. (7+ / 0-)

    With a side order of Obama and Biden, now.

    But really, it's about trying to win the White House in 2016 by smearing the lead Dem candidate for 2016, even if she hasn't declared.

  •  2 for 1. Midterms + Clinton, and They Both Need (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to be tackled now. Neither is less important than the other.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:27:33 PM PDT

  •  The WH needs to start playing dirty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy

    and leak all of the Bush secrets.

  •  Why are the Repotaliban not asking about the (0+ / 0-)

    CIA?  They were there right next door so to speak and it is their job know know when these types of things are being planned.

    That is the CIA's job not the State Department's

    The obvious answer is that they don't really care to know why intelligence didn't have fore warning.  

    Also too why are the spineless Dims not pointing that out?

    It is so damned obvious.  Who's job is intelligence gathering and why didn't they do it?

    The up side is, with four more year of HIllary bashing added onto the twenty plus that we and she have survived, most Americans will be bored to tears by the monotony of it all, and/or getting really pissed at having to listen to it over and over and over and over..."

    There is this think called nagging.  And everybody hates a nag.

    •  They did have advance knowledge that Libya was a (0+ / 0-)

      dangerous place, esp. Benghazi.
      Our people over there knew it was dangerous. We have people in dangerous places all over the world.
      Words like "dangerous" mean something, sometimes.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:34:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  blame (0+ / 0-)

        Well, in a sense, that was the fault of the Ambassador -- remember, Benghazi is NOT where the Embassy is located, and he should not have travelled there under the circumstances. He was known as a risk taker.

        •  The objective he was working on may have been (0+ / 0-)

          worth the risk.
          What "should" happen is that the gop should be shamed into shutting up their treasonous mouths.
          This should never have been politicized. Now it's not just that they've politicized American deaths, in a purely selfish way, they've normalized the politicization of everything.
          And the media is complicit.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Sat May 11, 2013 at 03:33:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome to Wash. DC where slaughter by (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    deadly mud slinging is a serious pass time.  If you can't stand it get out and certainly you can't run for president.

  •  There were 13 Embassy Attacks During.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, stunvegas

    the George W Bush Administration.  Our people were tragically hurt then too.  

    How many congressional hearings on response & death happened during those years?  I don't recall Lindsey Graham & John McCain making a stink about those deaths & those attacks.  Not.....a......peep!

  •  Why Benghazi? Because it's there. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Radiowalla

    Like Mt Everest, except a molehill.

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Fri May 10, 2013 at 06:07:11 PM PDT

  •  You are okay with wall-to-wall (0+ / 0-)

    ...barefaced lying during an election cycle by the country's highest officials?

    How hard would it be for them to have said that Libyan terrorists attacked the consulate? Why did they willfully lie?

    If they had told the truth and the GOP still came after them (which they would) then your diary might make more sense.

    No matter, at least the video producer is still in jail.


    •  Please proceed, Governor... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MaikeH, Radiowalla, David54, myboo

      "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

      by durrati on Fri May 10, 2013 at 07:59:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They did know. The talking points were changed by (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Victoria Nuland, who was a Dick Cheney aide, because she was concerned about the CIA's intentions.
      The probable suspects were discussed in the media almost immediately after the attacks.
      Benghazi-gate was the creation after the fact of Karl Rove.
      Before that, Romney was taking a hammering because of his weird response to the tragedy, even before we knew of the American dead, and then the next day, his script was unchanged, even after we knew of the deaths.
      The fact is that the CIA did not want suspects in Libya to be alerted that we were officially on their trail. It was totally reasonable for there to be disinformation on our part at that stage.
      As for the movie, the guy arrested was a patsy, to some degree. The money came from an associate of Pamela Geller. She fundraised for the movie. The film project had Karl Rove written all over it.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:50:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's consider (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Say, the adminstration WAS less than candid, did make errors in first reports, or made other mistakes. None of which has been proven by the way. Would that change anything?

      It won't bring back the dead. The chief value for conservatives is to create some sort of election issue.

      For me the value would be to determine how we can better protect our valued staff overseas -- but that is not even on the conservative agenda, they want blood.

  •  It's only important if you (0+ / 0-)

    want to be an Ambassador and are a little squeamish about being protected by your country.

  •  Dude... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    go check out twitter ht #Benghazi.  It's freakin NUTS.  20 new tweets each second.  Why Benghazi?  Cause Hillary's got a spine and tore into them during her hearing.  Because people died.  Because Obama'z passive.  Because the facts are fuzzy and old and there are only so many hours in the day for Obama to discuss policy and now those hours are are filled with crazy.

    I'm serious, check out twitter ht #Benghazi.  Then come back here and look for any logical, cool calm and thoughtful answers to the questions in your diary.  They are going apeshit on the right.  Why?  Because they have the power.  After four years of getting their asses so politely handed to them, being rightfully mocked, dismissed and looked down on, they now have something they can claim the high road of richeous indignation on.  People were murdered.  There was a mild, stupid cover-up.  How can you downplay this?  PEOPLE WERE MURDERED.  Don't you see?  That's the answer they give to any criticism of their behavior.  PEOPLE WERE MURDERED.  They scream and yell and shout and since that's not Obama's way they yell WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE?  This is four years of political venting.  They are practically rubbing their hands together in glee at the mindless political violence that will come out of this and make no mistake, someone has to be the fallguy for this.  

    All the left's calm, cool mocking of the hypocrisy isn't going to do a thing against this.  I'm telling you, this is a feeding frenzy on the right.  They smell blood and they're going to get some before this is over.  Check out the twitter ht #Benghazi and tell me if you think calm cool diaries like this are going to make a difference.

  •  Remember, they get their news from Fox, too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just like all the people who vote for them do. This was clearly evident in the debate when Mittens brought it up at the debate. He didn't know the President said it was an act of terror because Fox news never told them that.

    Fox has been telling them there is a cover up here and it will be bigger than Watergate and save them from Hillary. Maybe they can impeach Obama.

    They have not left the bubble. Still.

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:23:10 PM PDT

  •  The Cons are creatures of habit whose only (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    behavioral innovation comes from imitation. Imitation is, of course, also a kind of repetition. Instead of doing things over and over, the person copies what someone else does. That's how creatures of habit learn new tricks.

    Benghazi has a familiar ring to it. Reminds them of Ben Gazarra. Moreover, if they keep looking for an impeachable offense, eventually they'll find one again. And the impeachment of Bill Clinton was a high. Remember all the grandstanding that went on?
    Historically, conservatives weren't show-offs, but the modern version is. Conspicuous conservatives. We think of con men as being stealthy, but that's wrong. The con man has a practiced performance. Being conspicuous is part of the scam. The mark's credulity has to be exploited.
    The market is a place where the marks are fleeced. And the free market is the place where cheaters get away with it.
    "Buyer beware" is nothing but a blame the victim variant.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat May 11, 2013 at 02:20:56 AM PDT

  •  Of course it's a political witchhunt... (0+ / 0-)

    If John McCain was president it would be the Democrats wanting to 'get the truth' and Republicans would be saying there's nothing to see here. It's what politicans do.

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