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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves during her arrival at the Los Cabos International Airport, before the start of the G20 summit, in Los Cabos June 17, 2012. G20 leaders will kick off two days of meetings in the Pacific resort of Los Cabos on M
Republicans have found something to get upset about in the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram. Of course, it involves Hillary Clinton. They're assailing her for not officially designating the group as terrorist, claiming that she is responsible for the kidnappings as a result. Naturally, Rush Limbaugh is claiming Clinton held back because Boko Haram's members are black, because that's the kind of overt racism that works for his particular section of the Republican base. Reince Priebus, meanwhile, is claiming Clinton's alleged failure on Boko Haram is evidence that she was a flop as secretary of state; trust Reince to take one bit of absurdity and try to leverage it into a whole new realm of ridiculousness.

As is frequently the case with official State Department decisions, information actually exists about this that is not derived from Republican fears of Hillary 2016. Republicans, Dana Milbank explains:

... found their opening in a decision by the State Department not to put the group on its list of foreign terrorist organizations after Boko Haram bombed U.N. headquarters in Abuja in 2011. The FBI, the CIA and various lawmakers argued for its inclusion, but Nigeria’s government, which Boko Haram is trying to topple, argued against it, as did academic experts on Nigeria. John Campbell, U.S. ambassador to Nigeria during the George W. Bush administration, told Fox’s Chris Wallace on Sunday that, “along with a good many other Nigerian experts at the time, we all opposed designation.”

Opponents figured the designation would elevate the prestige of Boko Haram, which was essentially a domestic Nigerian organization. Instead, Clinton in 2012 put three of the group’s leaders on a list of foreign terrorists. After Boko Haram killed more than 160 civilians in Benisheik, Nigeria, in September 2013, Clinton’s successor, John Kerry, finally put the group on the terror list — and Boko Haram’s brazen attacks continued unimpeded.

Oh, wow, who knew that the State Department putting a group on the terror list doesn't automatically stop it from doing bad stuff? Not Republicans in this particular instance, anyway! The whole thing is absurd, of course. You can measure Republican desperation about 2016 by how far they're reaching to connect Hillary Clinton to any given news story, and this reach involves one of those telescoping poles people use to fish dead bugs out of pools. The middle of an Olympic-sized pool.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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