Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) has apparently had enough of the Republican games.
A House Foreign Affairs hearing went wild today, with Republicans accusing Obama of being worse than Watergate over their thus far fictional Benghazi conspiracies. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said the President had “lied”. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) joined Rohrabacher in accusing Obama of lying (still no proof or even a valid reason for this accusation). Other Republicans spent their time orating instead of asking questions of the witness, suggesting that this is really more about manufacturing a narrative than getting to the truth.
And then Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) exploded:
Ackerman said, “The stench of hypocrisy that hangs over this city today emanates from this room. I’ve listened to my colleagues talk about the President of the United States and others in the administration using [the] terms ‘deliberate’, ‘lies’, ‘unmitigated gall’, ‘malfeasance,’ which is malicious and knowing evil-doing, ‘disgust’, ‘coverups’. If you want to know who is responsible in this town, buy yourself a mirror!”
He accused the Republicans of, according to NBC, having:
“the audacity to come here” when the administration requested, for worldwide security, “$440 million more than you guys wanted to provide. And the answer is that you damn didn’t provide it! You REDUCED what the administration asked for to protect these people. Ask not who the guilty party is, it’s you! It is us. It is this committee, and the things that we insist that we need have to cost money.”
He added, “Could you tell me which of my colleagues on this committee was as bodacious in their insistence that we provide more money for American security in the State Department budget. I would appreciate it.”
Ackerman then asked them to raise their hands and gave them a count of five to do so. None did.
So now we get to just one of the issues Republicans are trying to avoid by pointing the fingers first.
Dana Milbank reported on the Republicans cutting funding for embassy security in October:
House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012….Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.
Ryan, Issa and other House Republicans voted for an amendment in 2009 to cut $1.2 billion from State operations, including funds for 300 more diplomatic security positions. Under Ryan’s budget, non-defense discretionary spending, which includes State Department funding, would be slashed nearly 20 percent in 2014, which would translate to more than $400 million in additional cuts to embassy security.
They were told that they were putting our security at risk, but the taste of socking it to Obama was too delicious. It turns out that while they were playing juvenile games of “gotcha”, lives were indeed on the line, just as Clinton and even right wing policy makers warned Republicans.
Now that the results of their obstruction are staring us all in the face, instead of owning up to it, they are screaming at the top of their lungs that it’s the other guy’s fault and he’s a liar. Usually, this method of distraction works well for Republicans, as the media follows their pointing fingers to a shiny ball and forgets to go look up just who denied that funding.
The bit about the other guy being a liar is meant to discredit anything the other side says before it can take root that yes, indeed, Republicans denied this funding just to say no to Obama.
This is the old Rove play book of accusing the other side of what you did in order to wear down the impact of the truth when it finally comes out. By that time, the public will be so weary of the screaming they will decide “both sides do it.”
You notice that Issa was one of the House Republicans who voted for an amendment to cut 1.2 billion from state operations going to diplomatic security in 2009, and yet he is leading the charge into “investigating” just who is responsible for the lack of security.
And because it should be repeated every single time a Republican brings this issue up, “Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.”
Look in the mirror, Republicans.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.