Monday, October 19, 2015

Benghazi hurt the Republicans, and nobody else

The Benghazi Hearings have now gone on for over a year and a half. They have spent nearly five million dollars in interviewing dozens of witnesses, lasted through a midterm election and the start of a presidential one, all with the purpose of...well, your view of what the committee's purpose is depends on which political party you belong to.
On September 11th, 2012, a mob of terrorists breached the gate and the walls at the American embassy in Libya, supposedly they were angry about the YouTube video Innocence of Muslims, although it turned out later that this was actually concerted attack, and had nothing to do with the cheap film, not that it would have been in any way justified had the film offended them.
Four Americans died that night.
The hearing seemed to be a natural occurrence. An American ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens had died, and we needed to get to the bottom of it.  And so the hearings began, and have been going on for month after month. But Republicans are still angry, possibly justifiably so, (the context of the statement can be debated) over Hillary Clinton saying “at this point what difference does it make?” Whatever Hillary was trying to say there, it was in poor taste, and yes, it does make a difference.
But at the same time, while President Barak Obama’s administration has been full of scandals, from the former attorney general Eric Holder being held in contempt of congress, to the Secret Service to the IRS scandal to the Obamacare rollout scandal, none of them have come back to bite him. Perhaps none of them really were his fault. But even liberal writers like Richard Reeves agree that “the president knew everything, and the president knew first.” Plausible deniability doesn’t mean you didn’t know, it just means we can’t prove it.
Trey Gowdy
The Republicans in the House have not helped their cause, or, indeed, anyone at all by the way  the investigations have been run. Sometimes they have been like a bar room brawl, such as when Cummings was screaming at Issa and Issa ordered the mic turned off. Other times they have been like House of Cards, when only a couple of weeks ago Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House destroyed his own chances to be Speaker of the House when he went on FOX News and said that part of the reason for the investigation was to bring down Hillary’s poll numbers.
Currently e Republican run House of Representatives is in shambles. John Boehner is on his way out and there is no replacement for him. Hillary Clinton will finally make her way under the dome covered in scaffolding in a few days to testify, but now, when serious questions put to her she can simply it’s all partisan. The last Republican standing with any credibility is on this issue if Trey Gowdy, who continues to say those staffers and members of the committee who say this is partisan have no idea what they are talking about, and don’t know what is going on. He says it is all about facts.
When you run an investigation, you are either supposed to find everyone innocent, or find everyone guilty and destroy them. The investigation is not supposed to destroy the investigators. But it’s been three years now, Clinton has not been punished, in fact she is running for president. The biggest loser here is the Republican House. They don’t have a leader, they don’t have the backing of the party, and they aren’t getting anything done.
Investigations are important things to have. But so is public trust in the investigators, and the Benghazi investigation is losing any public support it once had. Gowdy certainly doesn’t want to stop now, he believes it is his duty to find out why J. Christopher Stevens died that night, and whose fault it was. It still makes a difference, but because of the bungling of the investigation, from many quarters, we may never know who messed up, allowing armed terrorists to kill American citizens.  And Hillary Clinton, even if she is guilty, will never pay.

Andrew C. Abbott

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