Benghazi: A Political Circus

WASHINGTON — Nothing better for a do nothing congress than to create a scandal. Politicians love few things better than a diversion, to trip up their opponents, and mask the fact they have done nothing of substance in creating jobs or solving the nation’s problems. Republicans hope that last year’s fatal attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya will do exactly that to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front runner for the 2016 Presidential Election.

History suggests it might be a tough case. It is going to be hard to convince the public that the death of a four diplomats is “Watergate level” conspiracy after thousands were killed and injured in a war in Iraq based on Republican lies. There was no Republican outcry as a long parade of American flag draped caskets flowed into America over twelve years.

The issue is complicated, the next presidential election is more than three years away, and a number of reports and a majority of officials have disputed criticisms of Clinton’s role when she was secretary of state but the facts do not seem any interest to Republicans who are desperate to damage Democrats and Clinton.

Still, Republicans and conservative talk “wing-nuts” hosts are hammering away at Clinton’s and the Obama administration 8 month after this old news story broke and became history. Even though Congress looked at this issue months ago and found nothing. A daylong House Oversight Committee hearing last Wednesday starred three State Department officials invited by Republicans proved nothing but a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

Clinton, seen as the overwhelming early Democratic favorite for president in 2016, leading all Republican hopefuls by large margins, draws strong reviews for her four-year stint as secretary of state. The Republicans rail against Clinton and the Obama Administration’s handling of the tragedy but fail to acknowledge the fact that they have gutted funds to protect US embassies that left Benghazi with weak security.

US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. President Obama immediately acknowledged the attackers were well-equipped terrorists acting under plans and a major independent inquiry totally cleared Clinton of wrongdoing but Republicans refuse to face the reality that no scandal exists.

The lack of findings has incensed many Republican leaders and conservative news outlets, who falsely portray Benghazi as a simmering scandal about to erupt.

The three officials testifying Wednesday offered no new details or findings. Afterward, Republicans all but acknowledged they’re still seeking a knockout punch.

“This hearing is now over, but this investigation is not,” said Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the hard-charging Republican chairman of the House committee, as his committee found nothing new. He urged mythical “whistle-blowers” and “witnesses who have been afraid to come forward” to step up and “tell us your story, and we will make sure it gets public.”

Republicans hope public anger over the Benghazi attacks and their aftermath will hurt congressional Democrats in next year’s midterm elections and more importantly damage Hillary Clinton in 2016.

By late Wednesday, Democrats were laughing and Americans yawned.

“The unsubstantiated Republican allegations about Benghazi have disintegrated one by one,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the House committee’s top Democrat. “There’s no evidence of a conspiracy to withhold military assets for political reasons, no evidence of a cover-up.”

“The Republicans are pulling out the stops to manufacture a scandal, to redirect attention from their failed policies.

“It may not be a smoking gun or a warm slingshot,” Republican Rep. Doug Collins said in the hearing’s final hour. “But we have four dead Americans,” and his constituents “are looking for the truth.”

There are issues that need addressed related to Benghazi from preventing this from happening again but the mistake of making this issue political has probably resulted in a lost opportunity to address some weaknesses that could have been corrected.

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