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April 24, 2013 10:15 AM Why Didn’t GOP Blame Clinton First?

By Ed Kilgore

There’s a new 46-page report to which five different House committees contributed, about the House GOP’s very favorite subject in the whole wide world: Benghazi! Benghazi! Different news sources deal with the report from slightly different perspectives, but one thing is clear: whether it’s alleged pre-attack “negligence” and rejections of requests for more security measures, or alleged post-attack manipulation of how the whole incident was perceived and reported, the report goes after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with hammer and tongs.

With all this firepower being focused on HRC, it has to make you wonder what might have happened in the initial wave of reactions to the Benghazi killings had the GOP kept its focus on HRC? Instead, they made preventing Susan Rice from becoming HRC’s successor as Secretary of State their obsessive goal, apparently because the president seemed to personally favor Rice. That worked just fine, as an exercise in petty vindictiveness. But now Republicans are looking down the barrel of a Clinton political operation that could crush the GOP’s supposedly brilliant field of 2016 presidential possibilities pretty easily.

I don’t know if the word finally went out to House staffers that they’d better start painting HRC’s portrait into the Benghazi! Benghazi! saga pretty prominently. I do know that doing so earlier, back when Benghazi was a legitimate news topic rather than yet another conspiracy-theory fever swamp for wingnuts, would have been a whole lot more effective.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • clarence swinney on April 24, 2013 10:29 AM:

    DEMOCRATS=SUCCESS
    1945-1980 democrats worked hard in creating a successful middle class
    that had jobs that paid enough to afford a nice home,
    Health Care and Education for children.
    Since 1980, it has been decades of loading them with debt in order to afford a middle class life style. Since 1980, the top 1% had a 281% after Tax income and middle 20% got 25% which was less than. Inflation. The wealthy had the money to loan and took advantage of it.

    The Outsourcing of our Manufacturing Industries was biggest sham and hit on the middle class and decent paying jobs.

    The Tax Code was loaded with goodies for the rich and corporations

    There is a series of Solutions to reverse course before we go over that cliff.

    Progressive Flat Tax by Group. Tax Total Income not AGI with the loads of exemptions
    Assure a progressive Flat Tax that will balance our budget and start paying down that horrid Republican created Debt of $15,800 Billion

    Fed fund campaigns and election—6 months—3 primary 3 general—free equal tv time—No personal or outside money. Debate a week=12-=adequate to evaluate candidates

    Since no need to raise campaign funds keep em on job not on road.
    Ban ALL federal employees from accepting anything with a financial value.
    This closes K Street Bribery.

    It give middle class a chance to win an election since they cannot be bought.

    Burn the tax book—It gets enough revenue $1100B that immediately balances our budget.
    Start anew—Exemptions must serve a common good not fat wallets
    clarence swinney burlington nc

  • catclub on April 24, 2013 10:30 AM:

    I disagree. When she was still SEC State and still part of the system, especially an ex-senator, that would not have worked because she would have the tools to fight back.
    Remember her appearance before a committee in which she looked really good?

    Now that she is out of the system and will not be appearing before those committees, she is a less dangerous, more easily attacked, target.

  • walt on April 24, 2013 10:37 AM:

    Benghazi might conceivably rise to the level of a manufactured outrage but only among the droolers on the hard right. Most adults are aware that bad things occasionally happen (9/11, e.g.) and somehow manage not to impute sinister motives to those whose watch it occurred on. Our attention span, limited as it is, will have plenty of other things to occupy it by 2016. Benghazi won't be among them.

  • c u n d gulag on April 24, 2013 10:49 AM:

    Uhm...
    Maybe, on top of try to prevent a "Great Unraveling," the party is, in the midst of all of the chaos and in-fighting, losing its political touch?

    Too many faction went for the immediate, "Anything BUT what that KenyanSocialistFascistCommunistHeathenMuslim wants!!!," instead of, "Hmm... What's better for us in the long run?"

    It looks like having only short-term goals, instead of long-term ones, isn't just a problem in our business world, but in our political one as well.
    See: And Republicans On Immigration, Short-term Relection Goals, Over Long-term Party National Electability.

  • Milt on April 24, 2013 10:53 AM:

    Walt is correct and this feeble effort to discredit Clinton shows how inept Republican strategists are. Benghazi was a terrible event but let's face it, the vast majority of people couldn't identify anything relating to it. Because of television and computers Americans now have an attention span of about ten seconds. Yet Republicans are asking people to stay angry about something that happened months ago. All in all, it seems like they are trying to knock down a 747 with a flyswatter.

  • MuddyLee on April 24, 2013 11:12 AM:

    I just hope the regular Americans - not the professional rightwingers - who have caught Obama Derangement Syndrome and Clinton Derangement Syndrome from the conservative media will be able to get mental health treatment under Obamacare.

  • boatboy_srq on April 24, 2013 11:32 AM:

    With all the recent political savvy on display from places like Greater Kochistan, we forget that the GOTea as a political party is a mess. There's no strategy that won't be undercut by some portion of the membership, no statement that won't be countered, and no vote that can't be immediately, conveniently forgotten in the pursuit of the newest shiny object. Party discipline is at once absolute and momentary: the GOTea votes for whatever the most wingnutty branch of the party wants at the moment that branch wants it and conveniently forgets that when it comes time for either party strategy or public accountability.

    "Dysfunctional" hardly begins to describe this.

    It would pay those of us on the Left who see the GOTea in political terms as anything besides a herd of corporate/special-interest-owned cats (all doing their own individual things and conveniently ignoring the party platform and leadership) except when it comes time for a vote (at which point they all line up to be counted). At least that way we can focus on the ones owning the individual members, and address them, instead of perpetually chasing the GOTea itself as some kind of unified force arrayed against us.

  • boatboy_srq on April 24, 2013 11:34 AM:

    With all the recent political savvy on display from places like Greater Kochistan, we forget that the GOTea as a political party is a mess. There's no strategy that won't be undercut by some portion of the membership, no statement that won't be countered, and no vote that can't be immediately, conveniently forgotten in the pursuit of the newest shiny object. Party discipline is at once absolute and momentary: the GOTea votes for whatever the most wingnutty branch of the party wants at the moment that branch wants it and conveniently forgets that when it comes time for either party strategy or public accountability.

    "Dysfunctional" hardly begins to describe this.

    It would pay those of us on the Left who see the GOTea in political terms as anything besides a herd of corporate/special-interest-owned cats (all doing their own individual things and conveniently ignoring the party platform and leadership) except when it comes time for a vote (at which point they all line up to be counted). At least that way we can focus on the ones owning the individual members, and address them, instead of perpetually chasing the GOTea itself as some kind of unified force arrayed against us.

    PS: Captcha still sux.

  • mr.peabody on April 24, 2013 11:36 AM:

    They may have missed their initial opening, but don't forget the tenacity of the Right-Wing Noise machine. They will keep this alive for the next 4 years on Fox, Limbaugh, Hannity, Breitbart and all the rest of the mouth-breathers.
    They'll be like a dog on a bone, because it's really all they've got.

  • BillFromPA on April 24, 2013 12:23 PM:

    Yet another example of how the once mighty GOP Faux Scandal Machine has lost its mojo. They still have the fine knee-jerk response to any American bad news, but they're not focused. As the article notes, they wasted whatever 'value' this news story had by going after the short term reward of bagging Rice. Since then they've flogged this nothing burger with no results to the point that only the knuckle draggers are even paying attention.

  • Bokonon on April 24, 2013 12:35 PM:

    But ... in the GOP's view, that right wing fever swamp is exactly what counts. First you need to get them on board, and fire them up. And then you turn to the rest of the nation and see if you can get them to buy in whatever "scandal" or "controversy" you are trying to peddle.

    Think of it as the scandal equivalent of the Hastert Rule. The GOP always has to build its constituencies outward from the right.

  • Frank Popper on April 24, 2013 3:05 PM:

    With whatever respect is due Mr. Kilgore, his blog post shows the kind of small-bore triplethink that most Americans rightly can't stand about DC.