Skip to main content

Apparently now that House Republicans have decided to convene a committee to investigate Benghazi, House Democrats are still deciding whether they should participate at all. And while I think there are valid arguments for Democrats to at least participate in the proceedings, I think a very instructive analogy to point to is the recent debate between Bill Nye and the Creation Museum's Ken Ham.

The debate over whether or not scientists should even debate creationists has been going on for quite awhile now in that community, which is why I think it is an informative analogy for the debate over whether House Democrats should participate in the Benghazi committee.

At the heart of the debate for many scientists is that simply by debating, creationism is given a perception of equal significance to science, and this alone is enough for most scientists to refuse to debate creationists.

Democrats run the risk of doing much the same by participating in another Benghazi investigation. It leads to the perception that there actually is something to investigate, that the Republicans' position is more valid and sane and less laughable than it really is, even though there is already a mountain of evidence strongly suggesting that there isn't.

And much like debating creationists plays into their hands by giving them examples to show that there is some debate and it is therefore ok to say as much in science classrooms, participating in the Benghazi hearings runs the risk of setting a bad precedent by sending the message that claiming Benghazi conspiracies is ok and acceptable, because respected voices on both sides of the aisle deem it as such. Especially given the political environment these days where just the mantle of bipartisanship often goes unchallenged, while largely lending an unwarranted sense of legitimacy.

And yet, even though the majority of scientists prefer not to debate creationists, we have a recent notable example of this happening with the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate.

And how did that turn out?

By pretty much all accounts, Bill Nye ended up winning the debate.

But how much has it really changed things? Even though Bill Nye won that debate, there have not been many profound changes in Americans' beliefs in creationism (I have not found any polls since the debate, but I doubt the percentage will have changed much in the science direction). There have not been any changes in how many state legislatures are pushing creationism into classrooms. Creationists have not lost much at all.

Even though Bill Nye and science won a symbolic victory, was it really worth the outcome?

One of the viewpoints that come up in response to Nye vs. Ham is that, as far as these debates go, they are not about converting the hard core believers. Rather, it is about reaching those more in the middle who may already have doubts, who need to hear some of these arguments when these people are mostly sheltered from this evidence. And perhaps the Benghazi hearings offer that kind of opportunity as well.

However, where the analogy with the Nye vs Ham debate breaks is the significance that our fellow Americans have in shaping how significant the Benghazi panel ends up being. Handled correctly, it could give the GOP a black eye that their stance is much like McCarthyism that will be hard to live down. But handled incorrectly, and it could turn into a convenient political ploy, to be played out every two years again and again for years to come.

At this point in time (pretty much at this point last year), the evidence for a Benghazi conspiracy is about as strong as the evidence for creationism. House Dems, no, everyone has all the evidence they need to reasonably conclude that we know what happened in Benghazi, just as scientists have all the evidence they need to reasonably conclude that the Big Bang happened.

I have no doubt that there are many political points to be won if House Democrats do decide to participate in the Benghazi panel. After all, Dems are pretty much winning on every other major issue facing the country today; which basically belies the GOP's Benghazi strategy in the first place.

However, it comes with considerable tradeoffs as well.

House Democrats have to be sure that the value in participating is worth the tradeoff of giving Republicans the bipartisan panel they so desperately want.

In the end, Bill Nye says that he is glad that he debated Ken Ham.

If we keep making our arguments clear, and continue to vote and fight the political fights, together we can change the world.
I sincerely hope that as House Democrats consider whether they should participate in the Benghazi committee at all, they don't focus on the arguments and the political fights, but that they do focus on the things they want to change about the world to direct those arguments and fights.

Originally posted to The Progressive Atheist on Sun May 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  For the record, (29+ / 0-)

    I think House Democrats should plainly state that the Benghazi probe is an unequivocal waste of time, and use it as a chance to attack their obstruction of minimum wage, ENDA, and immigration reform, far more pressing matters.

    Just like Senate Dem's reluctance to end the filibuster, to participate is purely politically motivated, nothing more.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 01:21:12 PM PDT

    •  Suicidally motivated, politically. (25+ / 0-)

      The most effective way to counter a GOP-only Benghazi circle-jerk is for the Dems to reiterate this meme, every time they trot out another lame conspiracy theory:

      "What happened to the GOP fight to end Obamacare? Will we have to have 50 meaningless Benghazi investigations before they decide to let that one go too?"

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi, 6/30/07 // "Succeed?" At what?

      by nailbender on Sun May 11, 2014 at 06:38:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the Dems should plainly state (22+ / 0-)

      that the reason lives were lost was because of inadequate security, and the reason it was inadequate was because, twice, the GOP cut the funding for embassy security.

      My take is that Dems should be on the panel and loudly proclaim this fact at every turn. Hang it around the GOP's neck - make them take the blame, make them dodge and twist publicly, and ask "where was the money to pay security? What happened to the money to pay security at Benghazi? Lives were lost because there was inadequate security and we demand answers." Ask it over and over again, and do not stop asking even if they get ejected. The media will notice this sure sure and will, this time pay attention, but only if the Dems get mad and loud and refuse to go away

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:15:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absofuckinglutely! (7+ / 0-)

        This is what pisses me off the most about this Benghazi shit. But, not a peep from Dems on this. Tweet, tweet...SSK

        "Hey Clinton, I'm bushed" - Keith Richards UID 194838

        by Santa Susanna Kid on Mon May 12, 2014 at 01:54:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Okay, I have a question regarding this House GOP (0+ / 0-)

        vote to cut embassy security.  I certainly don't want to defend the GOP on anything but, did this vote actually cut embassy security?

        Wouldn't the Senate and the President have to have voted for this as well if it were to actually have cut funds for embassy security?

        The way I see it, either our side was complicit in this vote or this vote was as worthless as the 50 votes to repeal Obamacare.

        Which is it?

        •  See this past diary (7+ / 0-)

          Some collateral thoughts on the Benghazi tragedy

          Never the less, Congress, in its lack of wisdom, decided differently – and disingenuously as well. In 2009, House Republicans voted for an amendment to cut $1.2 billion from State operations, including funds for 300 more diplomatic security positions. Democrats enacted a budget of $1.803 billion for embassy security, construction and maintenance for fiscal 2010, when they still controlled the Senate and House. In fiscal year 2011, lawmakers shaved $128 million off of the administration's request for embassy security funding. After Republicans took control of the House and picked up six Senate seats, Congress reduced the enacted budget to $1.616 billion in fiscal 2011.

          House Republicans drained off even more funds in fiscal year 2012 -- cutting back on the department's request by $331 million with a budget of $1.537 – well below what the administration had requested with added security proposals.

          Again, last February, The Obama administration actually requested modest increases in funding for the State Department and USAID for fiscal 2013 when it released its budget. While the Congress doesn't divide up the accounts the same way as the administration, in an apples-to-apples comparison, the House Appropriations Committees' allocation for State and foreign operations for fiscal 2013, was a 12 percent cut from the administration's request, including a 14 percent cut to the administration's request for non-war related diplomatic and development activities such as embassy security.

          Decide for yourself whether Democrats deserve equal blame.

          "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

          by pierre9045 on Mon May 12, 2014 at 07:11:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well the media may notice (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bluezen, JerryNA, opinionated

        but the filtering of that info out to the public will be immense.  Any strategy has to take into effect that the media is horrifically corrupted.

      •  Participation taken as vindication (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MissMudgeon, pierre9045, hardwroc

        Republicans do not play by any fair rules, witness Darryl Issa's cutting Rep. Cummings' mike rather than allow him to make a statement.  The Democrats should boycott the witch hunt.  Making points on CSPAN is hardly worth legitimizing the hearings.  Democrats will have no say on who is subpoenaed or what documents are requested.  They should declare the hearing irrelevant and a waste of tax payers money and focus on keeping the pressure on raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment assistance, reforming immigration laws and easing student debt.  These are bread and butter issues that affect most people.  

        Beghazi was tragic in that there were not enough guards to make a difference in protecting the Ambassador and his staff and the reason there weren't enough guards was THANKS TO THE REPUBLICAN REFUSAL TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR EMBASSIES DESPITE REPEATED REQUESTS BY THE THEN SEC. OF STATE.  This line should be repeated every time the Republicans hold a press conference about their investigation.

        •  It is especially important, to include the (0+ / 0-)

          statement made by Hillary Clinton, on 2/14/2011, expressing fears of this kind of outcome, due to reducing security funding. The GOP forced the cuts, they were warned of possible extremely bad results, and chose then, to ignore it, and now, to shuffle blame, upon those that were more cautious about security.

    •  Bill Nye's an engineer -- aeronautical, IIRC, so (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eodell, hfjai, MissMudgeon

      he approaches things from a slightly different angle than the average academic scientist.

      I believe his win in the debate went viral.
      Between that and Cosmos, Science is on much stronger ground than it was this time last year.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Mon May 12, 2014 at 08:32:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Elizabeth Warren said it best. (0+ / 0-)

      She seems to be the only Democrat in DC with a lick of common sense.

  •  Democrats have nothing to gain (13+ / 0-)

    by being props on the stage for this GOP production.  NOTHING.  Hopefully Nancy will take the advice of he "just say no" segment of the caucus.

    Proud to be a Democrat

    by Lying eyes on Sun May 11, 2014 at 01:29:32 PM PDT

  •  If I may make a suggestion... (13+ / 0-)

    If they are going to hold a "show trial" I say we do not play by their rules. Don't have any house members be on the committee.

    Instead may I suggest a former president, one Bill Clinton? That should make it fox freak-out-athon. And good luck turning off his mike.

  •  Agreed, no democrat should even consider (18+ / 0-)

    being on that committee.   I think either Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart should do it and have a live audience while it is being done.

  •  You are absolutely right (6+ / 0-)

    The appropriate argument--which we are missing entirely--is that this is a giant waste of taxpayer money over an investigation that was completed a year ago. If you participate in any way you can't make that very obvious argument. It's silly, and just a way to raise donations.

    I was equally appalled by Nye vs. Ham. Now, I can sit and argue nuclear physics with a  Shaman who only speaks yagua and is telling me about the medicinal value of Una da Gata, but I won't be communicating much. Putting a scientist and a creationist on either side of a table is ridiculous.

    •  WE aren't missing that argument at all (0+ / 0-)

      it's just that entirely irrelevant arguments are being advanced over this argument, by our allegedly "impartial, non-corporate, non-biased" press.

      Ridiculous. The whole thing is ridiculous, unbelievably transparent theater. It looks already as if "indulging it" is what Democrats will do, because It Is Written by some NGO whose Home Office is bigger than Official Washington's ...

      "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

      by lunachickie on Sun May 11, 2014 at 06:38:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess my use of "we" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DarkestHour, opinionated

        meant the corporate media and the sense of the nation. I truly do not believe the Democrats should participate at all. But the explanation must be clear, consistent, in words of one syllable, and repeated like a Luntz meme on Benghazi over and over: It's been done; It was a big waste of cash.

  •  The problem with the Ham on Nye debate (10+ / 0-)

    was that Nye never addressed what animates Creationists to invent their nonsense. There are two motivations at work here.

    The original one was that Darwin mortally insulted the White Supremacist Southern Aristocracy and all of its hangers-on and wannabes in 1859 by implying in Origin of Species that they were descended from Black Africans just like all the rest of us, and making it explicit in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex in 1872. Plus he implied that White Southern women would be perfectly within their rights to prefer younger, stronger, healthier, and handsomer Black men, even if they were slaves.

    In a word, racism.

    One is not permitted to speak of such things any more without consequences.

    The other motive, the one they do talk about, comes down to abject superstitious fear of being cast into an Eternity in Hell by a supposedly loving God, coupled with a more realistic fear of being shunned, of being cast out of the society one grew up in, and having to make one's way among heathen sinners.

    If one does not regard Adam as a real historical person but as a mythical figure, then one can consequently not accept Jesus’ work of redemption as real.
    7.5 Danger No 5: Relativation of Jesus’ Work of Redemption

    A searing example of the power of this fear is at the center of the novel Silas Marner, by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans, who felt the weight of a different form of social opprobrium).

    Simply turning to this question of the historicity of the Fall and addressing from a Christian perspective is not the proper province of a Science Guy, and in any event Evangelicals do not in general listen any better to mainstream Christian theology either.

    But many of their children do, and they lose millions of them every year while many of the oldest and angriest of the True Believers die off in the normal manner every year, too. We hear from Evangelical polling company [I know! Facts about faith!] Barna Group that 38% of young Evangelicals fact check sermons. (Would it were more.)

    Those are the people Bill Nye reached out to, and in some measure reached. We don't normally hear their voices in the national discussion, because there is no organization of disaffected young Evangelicals, and few achieve individual prominence until later in life. But we do hear their voices aggregated in polls at Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life, which show steady progress by age in the Progressive direction on the issues, and a steady decrease in religiosity in parallel with increasing focus on actual social issues such as poverty and health care, rather than hoked-up issues such as abortion, birth control, and Marriage equality.

    What would be the comparable fears and excuses among the #Benghazi-ites? All of the stock Republican issues, which come down to

    They are taking over.
    They don't hold with tax cuts and deregulation for the rich; racism, bigotry, misogyny, guns, and other entitlements for the Useless Idiots who believe the promises from the rich to help keep whoever they hate down and maintain the privileges to which they are entitled by God and a perverted reading of the Constitution.

    They are the progressive majority in this country, held back only by voter suppression, gerrymanders, and gobs of money. Us.

    Also, OMG, he's Blaaaaack!!

    I would not be able to sit on this joke committee, and I would not recommend participating to anybody, in the manner in which John McCain said that he told Sylvia Burwell not to take the job of HHS Secretary. Because why would you tell your friend to become Captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg? But he recommended her for the job anyway, along with several other Republicans at her first hearing.

    Well, we are not being offered the job of Captain, and there is no reason why our people would go down with the ship, but for Republicans the metaphor of the post-collision Titanic is completely apt. The good ship Obamacare Train Wreck has sunk completely, and this is the only other train wreck still at sea, if I may mix a metaphor.

    We would not be there to convert any of the House Republicans from their Mad Tea Party, another apt metaphor. Nor would we expect an effect on any serious Tea Partiers, or most regular Republicans. We would be there to highlight the foolishness to Democrats, for GOTV purposes in the midterms, and to Independents. We would also be there to peel off yet more children of Republicans for future years, and to help them peel off yet more of their friends and relations.

    So if anybody can stand it, and would be willing to speak out forcefully throughout, that's fine with me. We will also need other Democrats speaking out forcefully on any day when they move their lunacy forward. And fact checkers pointing out which lies have been previously debunked. And the entire corps of late night comedy, and all of MSNBC. Possibly even Morning Joe and Mika, if we can get them to talk about the Stupid Party again. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Steve Kornacki, and others have already started.

    Even George Will is critical.

    George Will: Democrats Will Make Benghazi Committee Look Like "Obvious Partisan Exercise"

    I do not know why at all any Democrat would want to participate in this. By boycotting it, it just becomes a redundant and obviously partisan Republican exercise.

    It's only a matter of time before Democrats raise the following question, would there be a select committee if it didn't want to have the power to subpoena the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for obviously reasons pertaining to presidential politics?

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Sun May 11, 2014 at 05:33:01 PM PDT

  •  The GOP didn't negotiate on the ACA (8+ / 0-)

    because they realized participating in its crafting would signal to the American public that its was a bi-partisan piece of legislation.

    This is the danger Democrats run, giving validity to the panel. The will empower it with the eares of bipartisanship.  

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)! Follow on Twitter @dopper0189

    by dopper0189 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 06:18:41 PM PDT

    •  and did the GOP win? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnB47, scott5js, MissMudgeon

      I don't think so.

      I think the Dems should participate in order to stop the Rs.

      If the Dems do not participate, their non participation is a one day story.  The Rs control the news cycle for weeks afterwards.

      by chloris creator on Mon May 12, 2014 at 02:48:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Rs control the news cycle for weeks afterwards" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        as if they don't already -- on any subject.

        the media has been co-opted, for a long time, to skew everything towards the rw pov.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

        by bluezen on Mon May 12, 2014 at 08:21:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But where is that damned left wing media (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          we are always hearing about?  You know the  one paling called the "lamestream media".  Seems if it exists the democrats would have a field day with this gaggle of repubnits.  

          Banks will only lend you money if you can prove you don't need it.

          by olegar on Mon May 12, 2014 at 02:59:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  :D not to worry. fox noise, hate radio, & our (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            "vaunted" free press (cough, cough) are making sure the librul media doesn't raise its ugly head too high -- or else, it'll be beat to death with jennifer rubin's insightful prose:


            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

            by bluezen on Mon May 12, 2014 at 04:22:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  debating deniers should be paired with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rashaverak, Santa Susanna Kid

    psychiatrists, who can properly diagnose their mental conditions.

  •  Emotionally I feel the Dems should stay away. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Logically I think they have to be present to get their questions, their documents and their comments into the record.
    Otherwise, what history, in both the short and long term, will see is only the Republicans side of the matter.

    And the Republicans can legitimately say the Dems either had no facts with which to refute accusations and claims and or that they were so indifferent to the deaths that they couldn't be bothered to show up to a "fact" finding committee.

    The Dems do have a great point to use, and they are using it.  The Great Pumpkin head had to stop Issa who obviously has several mental and emotional issues that have turned off a lot of the press and pundits.

    •  Well, we live in the internet age (0+ / 0-)

      I think both long term and short term, there are plenty of other valid avenues by which the record can be established, without lending Republicans another avenue in the form of a "bipartisan" committee.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 07:13:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's actually the other way around. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluezen, opinionated

      Emotionally, the impulse is to get in there on the kommittee, so as to be able to mix it up with the Rethugs - and hopefully bloody a few noses (metaphorically speaking).  That's what the Rethugs are counting on - that Democrats will make the decision to go for it in a fit of passion and pique.

      Logically, however, it makes absolutely no sense for any Democrat to be there.  So here's hoping that cooler - and strategically wiser - heads will prevail.

      It's a trap.  When are we going to stop allowing the Rethugs to yank our chains?

      All that is necessary for the triumph of the Right is that progressives do nothing.

      by Mystic Michael on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:37:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think the latest tilt of the Bengahzi Witch Hunt (16+ / 0-)

    is a reminder that, with all the GOP has done, bad faith still flummoxes the Democratic Party, and stupidity and ignorance still flummoxes the most intelligent among us.

    There is always some faction of the party who is fixated on the notion that they can win a rigged game if they 'do it right'. You have a chance to, with a unified front, send a message that the entire thing is bullshit. That it is so partisan, so fueled by bad faith, so biased in favor of a fixed outcome, that you will not indulge the fraud and give it an aura of legitimacy. It's a fake process, stage managed by drooling ratfuckers with the ability to write laws and issue subpoenas, ushered by hacks, and screen written by Starriors and Arkansas Project nostalgics.

    We are not in a debate with Movement Conservatism.

    We never have been.

    Bill Nye? He suffers from the same ailment as some diehard political junkies do. Low-information voters are low-information voters. They do not, in fact, know you are not just 'giving an opinion, one of many' when you debate a flat-Earther. Obviously, the flat-Earther has a point, or you would not be debating them as if they are serious. You act like the person has a legit point of view and he or she is given credit for having a legit point of view. Low-information voters go for TMZ and Howard Stern show-level logic, not the mindset of somebody who can name every Supreme Court Justice and what President appointed them. You go to war with the opponent you have, not the one you wish you had. You talk to the audience as it exists, not the one you wished existed in a better world. He sees more of a reflection of himself in the mob than he sees that there is a mob.

    Science is not in a debate with somebody who thinks the Earth is 6000 years old and wishes we were closer to burning witches that warping space or creating a fusion reactor. It's okay to lie to you. You are going to Hell where you will burn forever and ever and ever. God will put you there, because he loves you. Or so they say. Bad faith. Again.

    You can love the sacred institutions, it's hallowed methods and practices, you can be nostalgic for the 'good old days' when Tipper and the Gipper were downing beer and singing Irish songs after a hard's days work of dismantling the American middle class in the name of Sally Quinn and David Broder approved bipartisan compromise.

    The Clinton Impeachment wasn't enough, and I'm sure the Obama Impeachment won't be enough.

    Enabling behavior is destructive behavior.

    There is no good faith to be had with the GOP.

    It doesn't exist.

    Fox News will simply not show the hearings if they are a disaster, or edit out the 'bad parts'. CNN, the WaPo, and the Network news divisions on Sunday Morning, will all find a way to frame Democrats getting the upper hand as partisan rancor, and if the GOP romps it will be broadcast as a rout of the President and his party. Heads you lose, tails they win. It's a humiliation and a sign of a need for more of the same. Or. It is a sign of just how disfunctional DC is. Democratic voters, bonus, do not give a rat's fuck about Benghazi.

    In 2014, after Dukakis '88, After the non-stop assault that was the Clinton years up to and including a sitting Republican shooting an edible approximation of the late Vince Foster's head, after Gore 2000 and Kerry 2004, after the run-up to the Iraq War and all the other examples of bad faith that manifested itself during the Bush years, after the non-stop mugging of Obama and the completely bogus 'you have to elect Republicans to protect Medicare from the Democrat Party that wants to kill it' bullshit that was the 2010 mid-terms, the Democratic Party still does not respond well, and with a united front, to the challenge of dealing with those who are acting completely in bad faith.

    The Benghazi hearings are 'made-for-Fox News' television.

    Participation, especially because of concern trolling from the same lazy cowards in the Village media who tote water for every single bad faith-fueled fake outrage and faux scandal like good little useful idiots, is enabling behavior. This is not a real inquest. This is not a real quest for truth or justice. This is a taxpayer funded ratfuck as fainting couch theater on C-Span and Fox News.

    The idea that one person 'keeping an eye on them' or a full slate of Democrats trying to put on a counter-show, is going to mitigate the damage of making it seem legit to useful idiot Villagers who will then go on to say Democrats have an "obligation" and a "duty" to do more of the same, to enlighten people who are one fake scandal away from sticking their dicks in a hot toaster because Michelle Malkin said that makes you smarter is 1991 era thinking.


    "Real journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." -George Orwell

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun May 11, 2014 at 07:00:35 PM PDT

    •  Best comment I've read this year... (10+ / 0-)

      Turn this comment into a diary, it deserves to be read by mre people than just us lurkers who scroll through every comment section.

    •  You may need to resharpen your knife (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti, Lujane, FindingMyVoice

      after that skinnin job. Kudos.

      This is a  difficult read because it points out how far we have to go to get back to the Democratic principles that Congress once operated under.  Too much money is involved.

      Another sad fact - -we may never get back to the Walter Cronkite days when accurate "news reporting" was almost a religion.  Again "Too much Money"

      Banks will only lend you money if you can prove you don't need it.

      by olegar on Mon May 12, 2014 at 03:10:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hear you loud and clear! (0+ / 0-)

      Look to the Iran-Contra hearings as an example of how easy it is for things to go horribly wrong at a congressional hearing. In that case we had a real scandal: The secret illegal sales of arms to a Iran. Further, we had control of the House (and thus the chairmanship of the hearings). But even with that much more favorable fighting ground, Ollie North came out looking like a persecuted American hero to low information voters (aka the majority). Then all the timid Dems went running for cover and the whole giant scandal became untouchable, setting the stage for Bush/Cheney's later even worse abuses. In short, we crashed and burned. It will much harder to avoid crashing and burning again with this hearing.

  •  It's distasteful, but... (3+ / 0-)

    The only way to show that it's all a show trial is to play the role of truth teller to power.  The Dem's have to be involved in real-time to point out the folly.  Just cross examining and having "witness'" read over reports refuting all the propaganda and lies the Republicans put out during this farce is well worth it.  Look at the good work that Rep Cummings does to expose Rep Issa's lies.  I think most of the non-right wing media take most of his assertions as lies, they are not taking the bite anymore.

    If Dem's make the argument they can govern, then they have to participate in order to show the way they would govern.

    The point is to win over the fence sitters and open minded folks, the extreme right wingers will never change their minds.  I agree with the assertion that the truth will win out.  

    The last example is the propaganda waged against the
    ACA, it is finally collapsing because reality is exposing the lies.

    •  The underlying assumption of this approach (0+ / 0-)

      is that the majority of "fence sitters and open minded" Americans have not already moved on to more pressing issues as being important to them.

      I don't currently have the numbers to verify if this assumption is correct or not, but it does make a difference.

      Simply turning a House commission on Benghazi into a "bipartisan" House commission on Benghazi has the potential to create fence-sitters where there were none before.

      It means the difference between "Convincing a group of undecideds that you're right," which is always a tall order in any circumstance; and "Creating the group of undecideds that you then have to convince that you are right." In other words, counter-productive no matter what.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:57:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The scum will not allow that. As with Cummings, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkestHour, bluezen, JerryNA

      the mic will get shut off.

      The last thing you do wth a kangeroo court is try to play lawyer.

    •  No. Because Dems would be on defense. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluezen, JerryNA

      The entire pretext for having the kommittee is that the Administration in particular, and the Dems in general, are at fault, and need to be punished.  And you can't score points on defense.

      All that is necessary for the triumph of the Right is that progressives do nothing.

      by Mystic Michael on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:14:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i'm not completely on-board w/ equating Bill Nye (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happyshadow, artmartin

    with a co-equal branch of the federal government.

    the ability to make one's self heard during and after-the-fact seems disparate enough to be considered a controlling variable in the potential swing of opinions.

    Righteousness is a wide path. Self-righteousness is a bullhorn and a blindfold.

    by Murphoney on Sun May 11, 2014 at 07:33:13 PM PDT

    •  The underlying analogy I was making (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was the Republican claims of a Benghazi conspiracy compared to all credible evidence discovered at this point, to Creationist claims compared to all credible evidence discovered at this point.

      but I understand your objection with the analogy. I constructed this analogy based on its utility more as illustrative, rather than instructive.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:37:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I formed the objection based on the "take a lesson (0+ / 0-)

        " reference in your diary title.

        That and the 1 to 1 comparison you conjectured for the outcome of the Nye/Ham spectacle and a potential confrontation of rightwing obstructionist politics in the House.

        Given that you fell into instructive rhetoric on accident, I'm still of the mind that the illustration might not be very illuminating because the differences of circumstance far outweigh the coincidental similarities.

        Righteousness is a wide path. Self-righteousness is a bullhorn and a blindfold.

        by Murphoney on Mon May 12, 2014 at 02:07:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is a big difference (0+ / 0-)

        And that is that Bill Nye was given an equal playing field in the debate. Yes, it was on Ham's "turf" but it was broadcast live and in full, he had equal time to present his remarks, answer questions, etc. Ham did try to create a "fair" debate. Which means he lost.

        The House Republican caucus is emphatically not in favor of having a fair debate. It's not a debate, it's a rigged witch hunt. It's more along the lines of cooperating with the House UnAmerican Activiites Committee in the guise of speaking one's mind, even though it was specifically set up to prevent that.

  •  Exactly. Just ignore them and go about your (0+ / 0-)


    Personally, I think the House Dems should just stay home for the rest of the term. They have been nothing but seat warmers for 4 years.

  •  Rethugs have little to lose. (8+ / 0-)

    Democrats have a lot to lose.  That's the bottom line.

    So why shouldn't Rethugs take a chance, to see if they can score some points against the Dems.  They themselves have nothing positive to offer the country - and they know it.  So their only hope is to rough up the Dems in order to make themselves look better by comparison.

    Even if the Dems "win" by making the Rethugs look ridiculous, what have they really gained by playing a game they should never have had to play in the first place?  The Rethugs already look ridiculous, so how much have they really lost?

    But if the Rethugs should happen to score some major points against the Dems through cunning use of their usual propaganda tactics, then for them the kangaroo kommittee will have proven to be hugely successful.

    In short, Rethugs have little to lose, but much to gain.  Dems have little to gain, but much to lose.  So tell me again: Why are we even considering grabbing onto this tar baby?

    I believe it was Mark Twain who said (and I paraphrase):

    'Never argue with a fool.  He will drag you down to his level, then beat you with experience.'

    All that is necessary for the triumph of the Right is that progressives do nothing.

    by Mystic Michael on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:28:23 PM PDT

  •  fwiw, mr. bluezen & i vote for d's to boycott the (0+ / 0-)

    whole thing. participation = lending legitimacy, & the teapublicans deserve to be ignored.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

    by bluezen on Mon May 12, 2014 at 08:16:08 AM PDT

  •  Opportunity and risk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If Dems do not participate, then agree with previous comments that the "no show" gets 1 day of coverage unless a counter media strategy is engaged.  

    If Dems are seated on the committee..what role will they play? I do not know what the rules of the subcommittee will be.  Rep John Lewis fought back hard on the Issa-thons even when his microphone was shut down...I was so proud of him.

    Even if it is a "kangaroo court" if no Dems are on the subcommittee ..then there will be no recorded statements, arguments, counter points made by the Dems. If you forfeit a game even in protest...they other side automatically wins (baseball rules).


  •  I don't think the science creationism (0+ / 0-)

    debate is a particularly good analogy,  private parties aren't congress.  In a long term cultural debate over  the source of knowledge, repetition and opportunities to be heard are important.

    With a political issue in a Congressional hearing, with a mismatched media bias, over nothing at all,  the presence of Democrats won't amount to a win in any event or meaning of the word.  It is not about getting some facts out in this case, the procedure of hearings never really allows that anyhow.  Its ten minutes of speechifying and then a stupid or loaded question and they interrupt the witnesses' 30 seconds to answer to boot.   There is no point.

  •  I debate evolution (0+ / 0-)

    I have been thinking about doing a radio program about it.
    I do believe the evidence for evolution is much stronger than much of the general public knows.
    H. sapiens has 46 chromosomes; chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan have 48. Why would there be such excellent correlation of internal structures in the chromosomes in these different species? Why do horses, donkeys, and zebras show so many similarities?
    Scientists should understand that the debate about evolution will go on, even without them.
    As for Benghazi, I would keep a presence on that committee in case it becomes valuable in some event.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Mon May 12, 2014 at 09:06:41 AM PDT

  •  One more part of the Nye vs Ham Analogy (0+ / 0-)

    While some would say it was necessary for Nye to debate Ham, I am not one of those.  As a former scientist, I would object to debating creationism because science and creationism are not the same; therefore, there should be no equivalency.  However, one more thing should be kept in mind about the Nye vs Ham analogy:  Ken Ham is a con artist.

    Joe Sonka and a few other bloggers at have done a masterful job of demonstrating that Ken Ham promotes creationism for MONEY. If the so called Creation Museum in KY wasn't enough to convince people that Ham is a con artist, his push for the Noah's Ark Theme Park is.  Besides conning the state of Kentucky out of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies for this so called "job creator," the Noah's Ark theme park is to sell items about dragons and unicorns at the gift shop.  

    It appears that besides dinosaurs being a big sell with the kids fantasy creatures such as dragons and unicorn paraphernalia will be peddled.  Not only will T-Rex be supposedly shown getting into the Ark, but dragons will be shown as well.  It seems that Ham has researched this product targeting, and he is more than willing to place fantasy creatures on the Ark for the kiddies.

    By the way, the Noah's Ark theme park may not get off the ground because of lack of investor interest, but there is speculation that the land Ham purchased with the planned state improvements will be worth more than what he bought it for.  In other words, KY invested to make Ken Ham money on a real estate deal.

    I really do NOT think that scientists should debate con artists, and I especially think that all Republicans are in the same category with Ken Ham.  Democrats should avoid the Benghazi Committee like the fucking plague.

  •  Apples and oranges. (0+ / 0-)

    I see where the comparison is made but it's not the same.  Dem's not showing up to the hearings at all isn't going to help our message - it's ceding the floor to the crazies and c-span and the entire loony media will report those hearings as if they are legitimate.  We will gain nothing.  

    A better analogy is voting.  We cede our decision-making to loons if we don't vote.  Cumming, and other Dem's need to be there to point out the lies and hypocrisy.  

    Remember the IRS 'scandal':  "Obama targeted conservative groups!"  It took a Dem, in a hearing to show that the evidence was cooked by Issa and his gang - they only asked for conservative numbers - they didn't ask if liberal names were targeted as well.  

    They have misled on what memos and emails say.  We can yell from the Capitol steps all we want, but our place is as duly elected congress members and stand up.  

    If they lie, if they cut the mic, if they don't allow access to evidence and testimony, or give us subpoena power then THAT wins a few news cycles.  

    You don't think they already have their Luntz-crafted soundbites if we don't participate?  We're 'afraid' of the truth, or God knows what.  

    Our precious 'principles' about not legitimizing this circus will not be championed by the media.  We lose the entire story to the loons if we don't participate.  

  •  If they don't believe it, (0+ / 0-)

     They won't see it.

  •  Someone like Barney Frank would be good on that (0+ / 0-)

    Benghazi "investigating" committee.  He was great at coming up with succinct, pertinent, amusing put-downs, even on the fly.  If the Democrats have someone else with that talent, he/she should be on the committee.  Maybe Alan Grayson?

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Mon May 12, 2014 at 02:27:49 PM PDT

  •  How about an investigation into the time and money (0+ / 0-)

    wasted by Republicans during all the previous Benghazi "investigations", which have turned up sod-all. There should be a Congressional equivalent to the concept of "frivolous lawsuits", with those initiating such clearly pointless "investigations" billed for the costs incurred.

    Republicans - A pathology, not a party.

    by storeysound on Mon May 12, 2014 at 03:07:15 PM PDT

  •  If the Dems do participate... (0+ / 0-)

    I would think that the best strategy is to have at their disposal all the facts ascertained at the prior hearings on the event.  You start out by taking the position, publicly, that the hearings are not going to discover any new material facts, and then you prove it along the way, every day.

    "We heard today from Witness X who testified as follows: ..."
    "We already knew that information from the hearing on Date Y, wherein Witness X (or someone else) already testified to the same facts.
    "We are wasting time and taxpayer money...every day."
    This assumes a Dem or two can get on the TV to say it; maybe the Sunday shows and you do it on a weekly, not daily, basis.

    Then you rub their noses in it at every election cycle.  GOP does nothing but waste time with the ACA repeal votes, the Benghazi witch hunt, etc...

  •  Most such debates are just speeches to the loyal (0+ / 0-)

    Virtually no minds are changed by "debates" on creationism or abortion, because (at least on one side) they involve fundamental (religious) beliefs, rather than rational thought.  Benghazi and climate change are subjects that rely on fact rather than such fundamental beliefs.  If there were not major money funding concerted efforts to spread false propaganda on these subjects, they would be foregone conclusions even for the less informed.

    I live in a third-world country that most people in the US would believe to be inferior in thought to the always-superior US.  Here and in every other country in the region (and in virtually every country but the US), climate change is an accepted fact.  

    Of course, the whole Benghazi political affair is ridiculous.  While it was tragic to have a consulate fall and four people killed, the attack pales in comparison to the number of deaths in US Consulate attacks during the Bush years (some consulates hit more than once), yet the same people who are hot to jump on Benghazi defended the Bush administration against the "unpatriotic"  questions about those attacks (then there was also the little matter of the other 9/11 attacks, in 2001, when thousands of lives were lost because the Bush administration ignored intelligence warnings of the attacks).

    The US is quickly becoming, if it isn't already, the most ignorant developed country on the planet.  While the US military is feared and its checkbook diplomacy tolerated, the US is resented and ridiculed by many people in other countries.  Just the arrogance of holding a monopoly on the use of the name "Americans" when there are 35 other American countries says a lot (here in Latin America, the term "Estadounidenses" is used.

  •  Dems shouldn't participate in this witch hunt (0+ / 0-)

    The only people who hear anything about or care about Benghazi are Faux "News" viewers and right-wing radio listeners.  Any evidence that challenges their pre-existing beliefs will be ignored and hardly any minds will be changed.  Everybody else, especially the people who haven't given this "issue" much thought, don't give a crap about Benghazi.  The Dems have everything to lose by participating in this "investigation".

  •  A few thoughts... (0+ / 0-)

    1) The issue has already been investigated and addressed beyond any legitimate further inquiry.

    2) There is no upside for Democrats.  This is pure political theater by the Republicans, framed to advance their agenda.

    3) As pointed out, Bill Nye came out ahead in a similar situation (after much preparation and consulting with a team of scientists familiar with creationist debate), but still didn't win anyone over.  How many think Dems on this committee will be as prepared or do as well, especially with the Repub chairmen gavelling over them?

    4) This type of spectacle is meant only to rouse the faithful, not get at any truth.  It is pure propaganda and the only way to win is not to play.

    5) I predict the Dems will step right into the trap and end up looking like fools, squealing all the while about how they had to do it, 'cause "bipartisanship."

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site