Political Animal


May 13, 2013 4:36 PM Wanted: A GOP Benghazi Czar

By Ed Kilgore

Brother Benen made a good catch this morning in noting that Darrell Issa seems to have uttered a conscious untruth on Meet the Press yesterday about the alleged unwillingness of former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering to appear before his committee, which might have been more credible had Pickering not been sitting right next to Issa on MTP to contradict him.

What makes this incident interesting, of course, is that the alleged utterance of conscious untruths on a Sunday Show was the original Benghazi! “scandal,” and still the one congressional Republicans talk about the most.

Part of what makes this “scandal” so slippery is that its propagators constantly change the charge and even the focus. There are the famous “talking points.” There is the claim (which Rand Paul is making every time he opens his mouth) that military measures could and should have been taken after the initial attacks on the Benghazi consulate that would have saved lives (contradicted, most recently, by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who suggested such claims were based on a “cartoonish” notion of military capabilities). And now we have the suggestion that the “cover-up” of Benghazi! has involved reprisals against “whistle-blowers.” Hovering above the whole mess is the idea that the Obama administration would rather protect Islamic terrorists than U.S. military and diplomatic personnel.

While this scattered indictment might appeal to those who want to maintain a full-court press on the administration, it’s terribly confusing to everyone else. My suggestion is that congressional Republicans appoint a “Benghazi Czar” we can consult to keep all the stories straight. You’re welcome.

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.


  • hue & cry on May 13, 2013 5:06 PM:

    It bears repeating this gem from the Benen article as to the non-veracity of Republican Representative Partisan Darrell Issa....who said on Sunday's Meet the Press program:

    Issa said..."Ambassador Pickering, his people and he refused to come before our committee."
    Pickering, who was seated next to Issa at the time, said the far-right congressman was lying.
    "I said the day before the hearings, I was willing to appear to come to the very hearings that he excluded me from."

  • Mark-NC on May 13, 2013 6:23 PM:

    OMG - a Czar? Are you a commie?

  • Dave W on May 13, 2013 7:06 PM:

    Oops, I read that as car not czar.

    I guess it just saw a whole lot of republicans getting out of one tiny "scandal".

  • Anonymous on May 13, 2013 7:20 PM:

    "former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who suggested such claims were based on a 'cartoonish' notion of military capabilities"

    Not surprising, given that most notions held by RightWingers are "cartoonish", whether they be financial, economic, foreign policy, military, or societal.

  • buddy66 on May 13, 2013 7:28 PM:

    I'm surprised, Ed, that a guy your age didn't call it''O Benghazi!" Because it really is that sort of show.

    But you LOL'd me with the czar.

  • Shivas on May 14, 2013 12:11 PM:

    The whole point of all of this is to say the words, "Benghazi", "Scandal", and "Coverup" a reptillian number of times until it is ingrained in the electorate's lizard brains.

    Next election cycle all they will need to say is, "Benghazi" and no amount of reasonableness or explanation will be able to cut through the fog they have created. They know that there is no real scandal there and they don't care. This is all psy-ops.

    What is a scandal is that the Republicans can go an entire 4 years with nothing to show for their efforts, other than "Taking the Country back" about a hundred years.

  • Derek Todd on May 14, 2013 12:13 PM:

    I will never understand the compulsive need of opinion and news bloggers to echo the often odious suggestions of their sworn enemies as they gradually reveal their weakness and vulnerability. Adding a whiny tone to the regurgitation of these Republican attack lines does not diminish their credibility. On the other hand I utterly fail to understand how supposed defenders of the sensible evidence driven and analytical approach to governing can fail to notice that the Rios Montt conviction in Guatemala also implicates the sainted gipper in some pretty horrible behavior along with others who were also subsequently involved in the Iraq disaster; also an issue that ought not be forgotten as Jove looks, er, forward from beneath his Nobel laurel at a world ever safer from pesky whistleblowers, people who object to torturers, internet activists and other threats to the status quo His pals tell him matter. The problem, dear Ed, is not the scurrilous libel of the Republicans but the spineless and unprincipled refusal of the opinion makers who celebrated the election of a Democrat and a black one of that to demand from that man, he is a man, that he cease to take for granted the people who worked for him and show some fight on issues that matter. That is the answer to Benghazi! not providing Republican nonsense additional play.