Benghazi gate is not going as Republicans planned, and in fact, the failure to gain traction on their narrative is further compelling Republicans to hysterics. Since they drew so much attention to this issue, courtesy of the need to defend Romney’s Libya debacle just hours after the attack, the media is now paying attention just in time to catch the GOP crazy in full bloom.
It was impossible to miss John McCain’s growing desperation yesterday, as his plans to bring down Obama backfired and the narrative of the day became him skipping the very briefing that would have answered his questions. Trending on Yahoo all day was “John McCain Missed Briefing While Slamming Obama Over Benghazi Attack”. Alexa treated him no better.
Embarrassed and humiliated, the Senator screamed at a CNN for pointing out that while he appeared on TV to talk about how he needed more information about Benghazi, he missed his own committee briefing on Benghazi.
Asked to comment, he said, “I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?” Followed up by, “I’m upset that you keep badgering me.”
Then, Republicans in a House Foreign Affairs hearing ratcheted up their accusations to full scale crazy, likening what the Obama administration has done on Benghazi to being worse than Watergate and repeatedly accusing him of lying.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) bordered on hysteria about how “this” was not just some cover up of a third-rate Watergate burglary, “What is clear is that this administration, including the president himself, has intentionally misinformed, read that LIED, to the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy… This is not simply a cover up of a third-rate burglary.”
The ranting continued with other Republicans chiming in.
The problem is that as Republicans have escalated the charges, the facts aren’t backing them up. Suggesting that this “cover up” (not proven, there is not even any factual reason to suggest this other than political dreams of a deeply embarrassed party) is worse than a Watergate demonstrates how far Republicans have gone off the rails in their attempt to get one good smear on this President.
Not only is the intelligence community backing up that their assessment changed as new information came in, but the video of the attacks showed pretty much what the intelligence community has been saying and demonstrated why it was so confusing to determine what happened, given that there appear to be two attacks possibly driven by different motives.
Also, Petraeus killed their conspiracy meme yesterday. That’s dead in the water.
Soledad O’Brien humiliated GOP Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada on CNN yesterday just by letting him talk. She pointed out that his argument that Ambassador Rice should be blocked from nomination because she repeated the intelligence given to her but was not in a position to know better, whereas Condi Rice knew better when she misled the public into war with Iraq, was actually more of a defense of Ambassador Rice. This has been John McCain’s basic argument as well.
O’BRIEN: Let’s walk through that more slowly — let me walk through that more slowly so you don’t lose me. You’re saying the issue in both cases, weapons of mass destruction and information intelligence coming to the U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, both cases the information was wrong. What you take exception with is what the White House did later?
O’BRIEN: I feel like you’re saying, from your own comments, that Susan Rice had nothing to do with either of those things. She didn’t have something to do with the intelligence failures, which I believe you just said. And it looks as if she had no knowledge at the time. Why would you possibly blame her then?
HECK: I’m not blaming Ambassador Rice.
But he was sent to CNN to blame Ambassador Rice. Fail.
Why is Benghazi Gate backfiring so badly on Republicans? While it’s true that the facts don’t support their outrageous accusations, that never stopped Republicans before. Remember the last tinfoil hat conspiracy theory that was all the rage in right wing circles – the Fast and Fail scandal of a decade!11!!
Epistemic closure is biting the Republicans hard, just as it destroyed Mitt Romney in the foreign policy debate. Republicans believe Fox News narratives, and they don’t realize how crazy they sound to the rest of the world. Because they believe it, they get more and more hysterical as time goes on.
They are also not used to being called out by the media, or President Obama, or Democrats. All three of those things are changing.
The media is challenging their claims and calling them on hypocrisies, President Obama has a new don’t mess with me attitude, and Democrats are telling Republicans if they want to know what went wrong, look in a mirror.
The President no longer has to run for any office and is emboldened by the mandate, Democrats are similarly emboldened and the media also got the message that the Democrats in really and truly in power and in favor with the people more than the Republicans. These facts drove Republicans over the edge until they showed their hands yesterday. They now have to back up charges of deliberate lying and a cover up bigger than Watergate, and they have to prove that this was not only a lie, but a bigger and more damaging lie than lying us into a war that killed thousands. Good luck with that.
Expect more hysteria from Republicans as their attempts to get everyone else on board with their trumped up charges and flimsy arguments fail. No one is talking about the scandal of Benghazi, they are talking about how John McCain was screaming on TV about not knowing what was revealed in the hearing he missed because he was screaming on TV.
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.