I’m continually amazed by the amount of time, attention, and resources given over to the notion that there’s some sort of scandal or cover-up associated with the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.
Don’t get me wrong: I well understand the motivation of Republicans in Congress. The implication is that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did something nefarious and that the GOP is doggedly determined to get to the bottom of things on behalf of the American people. So, continually making unfounded allegations is good for their cause in the upcoming midterm elections and in the 2016 presidential elections too.
But I suppose what boggles my mind is that the allegations seem so devoid of any force. From what I can tell, Congressional Republicans claim they will demonstrate that members of the Obama administration decided to publicly associate the Benghazi attacks with an internet video, but that the video didn’t actually have anything to do with the attacks (which weren’t spontaneous but were instead planned ahead of time to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary). If this is true, then what?
Again, the allegation seems to be that the Obama administration purposely misled the American people in advance of the 2012 presidential election. If the administration hadn’t wrongly focused on the video, voters would have known — or would have known sooner — that it was a coordinated terrorist attack. If this is true, then what?
The presumption, apparently, is that the administration would have looked worse than it did (when it looked as if the administration had no idea what was going on) if the truth of a coordinated terrorist attack was known. This is because the administration had been touting the death of bin Laden and its policies that had terrorists on the run. The new evidence is that White House deputy strategic communications adviser Ben Rhodes sent email messages to Susan Rice to prepare her to speak publicly about the videos at a time when people within the intelligence community already knew that the video wasn’t the impetus for the attack.
And that, it seems, is the centerpiece of the scandal. Perhaps I’m missing something absolutely crucial that’s gotten — and kept — Republicans in such a lather. Because, frankly, this just seems like very weak sauce.
What the Republicans seem to be relying on is the taint of scandal on the administration much more than the actual facts of the scandal (despite their alleged commitment to uncovering all the actual facts). In other words, all that really seems to matter for the GOP is that voters associate the administration — and Democrats more broadly — with some sort of scandal.