Clinton, Benghazi and the Republican Outrage Machine

As I write this, the Select Committee on Benghazi has been investigating for 759 days, which is longer than the investigations of Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, Iran-Contra, and Hurricane Katrina. To date, nearly $7 million has been spent with nothing to show for it other than a partisan points against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her campaign for president — and that doesn’t even include the costs of the 8 previous reports by seven Congressional committees that, like the Select Committee, have found nothing to prove right-wing conspiracy theories that Clinton and President Obama callously allowed four men to die.

NewImageSo what’s really happening here? A political travesty, if you ask me. One which disqualifies the current batch of Republicans in Congress of the moral right to lead that branch of government. You may disagree with me, but we both are entitled to our opinions.

Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, blew his chances of succeeding John Boehner as Speaker when he stepped in front of a TV camera and directly linked the special committee to Republican efforts to hurt Clinton’s election campaign: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

NewImageRepublicans deserve to lose control of Congress because they have shamelessly, recklessly and blatantly fundraised off this tragedy while squandering tax dollars that could have been used on other things (while hypocritically talking about the debt and how funding for social programs that citizens rely on must be slashed, corporate subsidies and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans preserved, etc., ad nauseum).

Precedent and Presidents

Where was Republican outrage and a determination to get to the truth when it came to pre-war intelligence failures used by the Bush administration to invade Iraq? They made this “phase two” of an investigation, with Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) saying in March 2005 that it was “on the back burner”, then, a few days later: “I don’t think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence. I think it would be a monumental waste of time to reflow their ground any further.”

Said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), “There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence. But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.”

Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told caucus members that any impeachment of President George W. Bush was off the table.

Now, compare the way the Democrats handled investigating Bush and lies about how we’d find non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq — with an estimated 3,200-4,300 civilian deaths resulting — to the way Republicans have persisted on investigating an incident in Libya where 4 Americans were tragically killed. Only one of those saw more than 4,400 US soldiers dead and $6 trillion spent.

Hell, the Republicans were so thirsty to impeach a Democrat that they crucified Monica Lewinsky to do it. Maybe so we’d forget about Watergate? I dunno…

While I doubt that it can be said that no Democrats tried to use WMDs to hurt Bush or the GOP politically — that’s just not the nature of the beast we are talking about here — it’s clear the Republicans currently in Congress are, relatively speaking, the ones who have exploited something for political gain to a greater extent.

NewImageI don’t want to minimize the deaths of those four men. Surely it was a terrible tragedy. But compare what happened to October 23, 1983, when a truck carrying explosives drove into a Marine compound in Beirut, Lebanon and crashed into the barracks for the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regimental Battalion Land Team. A suicide bomber traced to Hezbollah murdered 220 Marines and 21 other service personnel.

Less than a year later, President Reagan pulled US troops out of Lebanon and the Inman Report was released a year after that, finding that Marine officers did not take proper steps to protect the barracks against terrorist attacks. There was no consequence to the Reagan administration.

Can you imagine the political shit-storm today’s GOP would have made of that if, instead of Reagan, there’d been a black Democrat in the White House and a female Secretary of State? Tell me I am wrong… Republicans would be saying we emboldened the terrorists to carry on their terror attacks and suicide bombings by tucking tail and running away.

But Republicans don’t want you to remember those dead Marines in Beirut or how the second President Bush allowed Al Qaeda to attack us on 9/11 and tortured people and lied about why we should invade Iraq and stirred up Middle East extremism and nearly wrecked the US economy. They trust you have a shorter memory and will blame Obama for the “Great Recession”.

A Cynical Strategy is a Poor Substitute for Leadership

NewImageThe philosophy of the modern Republican party follows the rhetoric of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister in Nazi Germany, who famously said, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth.”

You think I am kidding? Consider this quote from Donald Trump’s book “Art of The Deal”: “I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.”

In other words, he’s completely full of shit, just like the party he now leads as its standard bearer. No offense to my Republican friends, but please stop trying so hard to take down Obama and Clinton. Rather than suppressing the vote, maybe you guys can come up with some original ideas and win on the merits of those instead of always trying to convince the American people that you just are the lesser of two evils.

The rise of Trump is a recognition by ordinary Americans that your Congressional delegations don’t give a damn about their interests.

I’m not asking anyone to fall in love with Hillary Clinton. I have a Bernie Sanders sticker on my car, so i am certainly not a passionate advocate for her. All I am asking is that you look at the cynical tactics being employed against her and reject them to the end result of keeping an open mind, however you decide to cast your vote this November. You can still hate her for being a woman or a Democrat or whatever keeps you warm at night. Just don’t be stupid.