Republican Party

Clinton Emails Have Provided GOP Yet Another Excuse to Cry “Benghazi”


Yesterday, we saw a Weekly Republican Address which had no relationship to our shared reality, or even a passing familiarity with facts. Not an at all uncommon occurrence, of course.

In fact, it is a depressingly familiar event: the Weekly Republican Address has become the worst-scripted, poorly acted sitcom in America.

This week it was Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) John Boehner put in front of the camera, and instead of lying about the Keystone XL pipeline, she assured the American people her owners that the House select committee is still – yes STILL – investigating Benghazi.

Rather than crowing about this, you’d think they’d be slinking away in embarrassment. After all, they’ve been obsessing over this obviously fabricated scandal for over two years, studiously ignoring every unwelcome fact along the way. Brooks’ weekly address is just more of the same.

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Brooks’ lies come to us now because Hillary Clinton’s emails give the GOP one more chance to try to discredit her. As Brooks put it in her address, “these communications may help us answer vital questions.”

We need to know why the security at our embassy was left inadequate. Why were requests for additional security denied? Why was our response not sufficient? Why were some members of the administration slow to acknowledge a terrorist attack had actually occurred? It is simply unacceptable for so many questions to remain unanswered. And it is unjust and simply wrong for anyone to withhold evidence that may lead to the answers.

The thing is – and it is a very obvious thing indeed – we know why embassy security was inadequate – because Brooks’ own party slashed the budget for embassy security. As Rmuse wrote here last June,

Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, requested additional funding for embassy security early in 2011 to protect American diplomats working in Muslim countries. Republicans in the House rejected Mrs. Clinton’s request because as proud Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah boasted upon being asked if he voted against increased embassy security funding, “Absolutely. Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country. When you’re in tough economic time, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this.” Not only did the Republican House not increase embassy security funding, they voted to cut $300-million from the U.S. embassy security budget as part of their priorities due to what they call “tough economic times.

Hillary Clinton warned them of the risks of these funding cuts, saying, “The truth is that cuts of that level will be detrimental to America’s national security” [2.14.11]

Let’s recap:

  1. Republicans cut embassy security funding;
  2. Hillary Clinton warns them of the risks;
  3. Republicans bag about cutting it;
  4. Embassy attacked, 4 Americans killed;

The trail of causation could not be more clear and obvious. You would think with all their investigating, that Brooks’ select committee would uncover THOSE facts. Yet repeated Republican investigations have yet to turn up a single one.

Compounding their sins, the House Republicans just attempted to defund Homeland Security, for crying out loud. Yet, had Boehner not caved, you can be assured that in the months to come, Republicans would be demanding to know why security funding was inadequate when disaster struck.

Of one thing you can be assured: the Republicans in Congress will never, EVER find a fact uncongenial to their needs or ideology.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives issued its Benghazi Report in November last year and the contents should be pretty well known by now.

This, we are told, “is meant to serve as the definitive House statement on the Intelligence Community’s activities before, during, and after the tragic events that caused the deaths of four brave Americans.”

The U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Investigative Report on the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012, says, in summary,

“The Committee finds that there was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks…the IC [Intelligence Community] did not have specific, tactical warning of the September 11 attacks” and that “The CIA only changed its assessment about a protest on September 24, 2012, when closed caption television footage became available on September 18, 2012 (two days after Ambassador Susan Rice spoke), and after the FBI began publishing its interviews with U.S. officials on the ground on September 22, 2012.”

So about that “definitive” thing. Now I don’t know about the GOP, but when I check Merriam-Webster, I find the following applicable definitions:

  1. serving to provide a final solution or to end a situation;
  2. authoritative and apparently exhaustive;
  3. serving to define or specify precisely.

It seems clear then, that according to the House’s own report, there are no more questions to answer, no more mysteries to be solved. Been there, done that, as we say in the vernacular. In fact, been there again – and again. And again.

And now we’re there again, even though we’ve seen all there is to see. Why? Because of Hillary Clinton. Because if she runs in 2016, Republicans will not see the inside of the Oval Office again for at least four years, possibly eight. Except as visitors.

This continuing obsession with Benghazi only goes to show how absolutely, brain-killingly terrified the Republican Party is of the specter of Hillary Clinton.

Brooks reveals that “When we began our work, Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the select committee, told us: facts are not Republican or Democrat,” but her own words belie that claim. In fact, Gowdy (R-SC), is the man whom, two days ago, Politico called “Hillary Clinton’s Enemy No. 1.” (It is interesting to note that in talking to Gowdy, Politico managed to never once mention the Benghazi Report).

The “facts,” as Republicans ironically refer to their talking points, are entirely political in nature and have nothing to do with our shared reality. They never have. Republican “facts” do not bear even a passing resemblance to actual facts, and if they did, Republicans would acknowledge the findings of their own Benghazi report, rather than, rejecting those facts, demanding yet more investigations.

Brooks claims “this isn’t about Hillary Clinton,” but this is 100 percent about Hillary Clinton. Set aside for a moment the complete hypocrisy of Gowdy and Brooks and their select committee and his Republican colleagues and the corporate-compliant mainstream media in attacking Hillary Clinton over her emails.

The sheer volume of dishonesty expressed both in this weekly address and overall in Republican ranks since 9/11/2012, is suffocating. It has seldom, if ever, been equaled. They haven’t even really made any attempt to disguise that it is all about Hillary, despite Brooks’ feeble protests yesterday.

There is a happy counterpoint, however, a certain inexorable, almost crushing inevitability to all this: The attacks will go on, regardless of the facts. Facts were ignored before and will be ignored again. But Hillary will continue to be more popular than any living Republican. And if Hillary runs in 2016, there is not a single thing the Republican Party can do to keep her out of the White House.

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