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May 08, 2013 12:14 PM The New HillaryGate

By Ed Kilgore

Today is another big Benghazi! day in the House, and Republicans are lucky to have picked a day when actual political news—other than Mark Sanford’s victory in South Carolina—is very sparse. And so they’ll get maximum attention—understanding that there is a fairly low ceiling on efforts to flog a “scandal” that’s so long in the tooth and so intensely over-exposed—for their testimony from so-called “whistle-blowers” and a couple of parents of the Americans slain in Benghazi.

Republicans say today’s hearings are an effort to “get to the bottom” of the events before, during and after Benghazi. A lot of liberal observers say it’s just another closed-circuit dialogue between GOP Members of Congress and their conservative “base,” which is ever-hungry for evidence the Obama administration is deliberately sacrificing Americans to its traitorous, morally-relativistic coddling of the Real Enemy, Muslims.

But one thing that everyone ought to be able to agree on is that the latest Benghazi push is aimed at putting Hillary Clinton in the bullseye and doing something about her dangerous popularity. Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of VA nailed it in a quote appearing in The Hill today:

“The meta message that they’re trying to get out there is that this is a failure in judgment that goes to character,” Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, a senior Democrat on the Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels, told The Hill. “It didn’t work with Obama, so [they’re hoping that] maybe it’ll stick to Clinton.
“They’re trying to bring her numbers down. That’s what this is all about.”

Bingo. Recent polls have shown Clinton trouncing various Republicans in 2016 trial heats. Worse yet, they’ve shown her winning double-digit Republican support against all comers, and gaining positive job approval ratings from nearly a quarter of Republicans. That has to change, Republican pols believe, and even if most Democrats and independents have tuned out the Benghazi! show, they have the power to take down HRC a few pegs among their own rank-and-file, and then claim she’s “losing support” nationally.

The ultimate goal, I suppose, is to aim at bringing conservative perceptions of HRC back to when they were in 2007 or 1997, when she was still Bill Clinton’s Red Queen and the beating heart of secular-socialist radicalism (in other words, when Barack Obama hadn’t come into focus as America’s Enemy). In that Long Game, today’s hearings are an important moment.

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

  • c u n d gulag on May 08, 2013 12:26 PM:

    Pretty much after it happened, and the facts came out, I knew they were going to use this to try to disgrace the President, and use it as a pre-emptive strike against Hillary, in case she decided to run in 2016.

    I've been joking for months that the Republicans must think that Benghazi is Libyan for Whitewater or Monica.

  • Quaker in a Basement on May 08, 2013 12:28 PM:

    You can't fling the poo you wish you had; you have to fling the poo you have.

  • Peter C on May 08, 2013 12:48 PM:

    Happily, the Republicans seem completely unable to explain why we should care. They just come across as hysterical and partisan. I don’t think that will play well to the public at large.

  • Peter C on May 08, 2013 12:50 PM:

    We could call them 'dog-whistle blowers'.

  • ComradeAnon on May 08, 2013 1:07 PM:

    But you're missing the REALLY big picture here Ed. When virtually nothing comes of this, as nothing ever does from Fox, Issa, etc., they can then scream "Cover Up!"

    Gotta go long term buddy.

  • Rabbler on May 08, 2013 1:08 PM:

    I've been noticing an uptick in negative Clinton asides across a range of MSM entertainment TV recently as well. I guess the 2016 campaign has begun...

  • FriscoSF on May 08, 2013 1:12 PM:

    While they're at it .....

    Maybe that committee could locate those missing
    Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction

    I KNOW they're SOMEWHERE out there

    Have they already been found ?????

  • ComradeAnon on May 08, 2013 1:12 PM:

    But you're missing the REALLY big picture here Ed. When virtually nothing comes of this, as nothing ever does from Fox, Issa, etc., they can then scream "Cover Up!"

    Gotta go long term buddy.

  • James Conner on May 08, 2013 1:33 PM:

    I still think Hillary's biggest problem — and the problem for which no solution exists, or can exist — is that she will be 69 years old in 2016. If elected, she would be the second oldest person, after Reagan, to take the oath of office for the first time. In my judgment, and I'm older than she is, she's too old for the job.

  • martin on May 08, 2013 1:48 PM:

    “The meta message that they’re trying to get out there is that this is a failure in judgment that goes to character,” Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, a senior Democrat on the Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels, told The Hill.

    Now if Dems had the messaging muscle the Reps have, Connoly would have followed with "And coming from the party the just re-elected Mark Sanford, such efforts are laughable."

  • biggerbox on May 08, 2013 3:56 PM:

    Clearly, it's Clinton's fault for not having put in place the consular security forces that the Congress refused to pay for, and deploying Marines she didn't have control over, or keeping a tighter leash on an Ambassador who shouldn't have put himself in harm's way, or, or, um, er, ... VINCE FOSTER!!!!

    Also, too, she should have told everyone that she was responsible for not getting those rescue soldiers on the air transport that would have left the ground in Europe an hour and a half after the fighting stopped, so clearly the fact that she didn't must be a cover-up!

    Don't you understand?!! This is WORSE THAN WATERGATE!!!

  • Stevo on May 08, 2013 5:43 PM:

    IT WAS THE VIDEO!!!

  • Stevo on May 08, 2013 6:07 PM:

    Brian Ross is reporting that it was a riot started by the Libyan tea party.

    [You get the last word, since the trolls from one of the wingnut sites have shown up. --Mod]