Let's open with this:
I CAN PINPOINT the precise moment when I realized that Hillary Clinton was as toxic as one of those old Superfund waste sites . . . Anderson Cooper . . . asked her which enemy she was proudest of making . . . No, the current Democratic front-runner . . . threw in a couple of expected and innocuous things like Islamic terrorists, but then lobbed fire at her real target: Republicans.The article is titled Hillary Clinton: Public Enemy No 1--and was linked yesterday by Real Clear Politics, an extremely important political news aggregator. In other words, it isn't just a blathering letter-to-the-editor somewhere, it's the Internet equivalent of front-page-news.
Here's this--from Jay Cost, a sober stats-analysis guy.
If DoJ doesn't indict HRC, Obama better damn well pardon Petraeus.— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) October 26, 2015
Those words, depraved words [about the internet video], were spoken by then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton . . . [ [ The Benghazi staff were killed ] by jihadists carrying out what Clinton, Obama, and high-ranking national-security officials throughout the United States government knew full well was a planned terrorist attack, not a “protest” run amok and incited by “an awful Internet video.”And from Neo-Neocon, an intellectual right-wing blogger:
But the substance of what she actually said and did [ About, largely, blaming the attack on the video ], now and back in the fall of 2012 and after, should be seen as abhorrent. Yet it doesn’t appear that enough Americans care, and because of that we may be in the lamentable situation where Hillary is in a good position to become the next president of the United States.
Another PerspectiveThis is from October 25th Face the Nation (ABC):
DICKERSON: Her testimony and then also the CIA best information to the -- to the rest of the administration was, at first Ansar al- Sharia claimed credit -- credit for it and then they withdrew it and that that's what led to this confusion. So at first she believed those reports. Then they were withdrawn and that's what made her change her position.
NUNES: Yes, so specifically there were different lines of intelligence. There were signals intelligence. There was word from the ground. The people that were on the ground. But then there was the open source reporting. When you take that in its totality, I think it's tough to end up with a position where -- that this was because of some video of -- that -- that said something bad about the Prophet Mohammed. I just don't believe that. And I think that's what the Benghazi Committee has to get to the bottom of.
DICKERSON: You said there was nothing new, but as Chairman Nunes pointed out and others have pointed out, there were -- there was some new information about what Hillary Clinton knew on the night of the attack. And that story was different, that it was a terrorist attack, than the one that ultimately dribbled out over the -- the next several days. So that seems to be important if we expect people to tell us the truth when they are our leaders.
SCHIFF: Well, it is important, but it's not new. And we did an investigation, that Devin was a part of that, in the intelligence committee, that looked at, frankly, each of these conflicting streams of intelligence as they came in. The early claims by Ansar al-Sharia responsibility that were very quickly followed with human intelligence, signals intelligence, open source reporting, that there was a protest. It wasn't until about eight to ten days after the events where we actually got the tapes from the compound that we could see quite demonstrably on those tapes that there had been no protests. But it was the -- the considered judgment, the assessment of the intelligence experts for that week until we got those tapes, that there had been a protest. And that turned out to be wrong.And there's this (an interview with the guy who was captured as being "behind" the Benghazi attacks--before he was captured):
"The film which insulted the Prophet was a direct attack on our values and if America wants good relations with the Muslim world it needs to do so with respect," Abu Khattala said. "If they want to do it with force, they will be met with force."
What HappenedApparently what happened was that in the immediate aftermath of the attack the Al Qaeda organization that carried it out posted to Facebook that they were not behind the attack. This left the Obama administration with (a) actual intelligence (which has not been discussed publicly) leading to different conclusions and (b) a national election coming up.
The smoking gun Hillary emails were written within the window of the first batch on intel. The public statements came within the window of the second.
The question is: did Hillary / Obama (A) totally lie? Or did they (B) exploit a gray area, choosing the facts/intelligence that looked the best for them?
It appears, from Schiff (D) and Nunes (R) that we are in category (B). This is not, shall we say, Secretary of State of the Year award--but neither is it Fall of the Republic stuff.
The TheoriesWhen Clinton, famously, in her first appearance asked "What difference does it make" (why they were killed) the answer was pretty clear: Republicans felt that if the truth had come out on time it would have lost the election for Obama--but that by claiming the video was responsible, the administration dodged responsibility for the incompetence that got everyone killed.
In other words, the video allowed them to "steal the election."
There isn't any evidence for this claim--the test case was when Romney fumbled his 2nd Debate question about Benghazi--never came to fruition.
That's not the only theory. Another theory is that the video never really existed in the first place and was a creation of the CIA for [ reasons ]. This ties into all kinds of speculation about illegal gun-running to Syria and various assorted black-ops for which the Benghazi situation--the kill, enabled by Hillary issuing a Stand-Down-Order to rescuers--was a cover up.
There's no evidence for any of this either.
The TruthThe Truth is that the Benghazi attacks never reached the level of an administration-killing scandal. A black-eye, yes. If, properly managed, damage to the administration--but in order to break the back of the administration there would have to be action from terrorists in America that killed Americans. Not CIA operatives and ambassadors in Libya.
The Truth is that while Hillary and Obama spun the story to their advantage, Team Romney, making several missteps, helped to defang the event before it had time to metastasize (this included the zero-day press release criticizing the administration).
The Omnivore thinks that this is really about humiliation. The GOP base--and a lot of its chain of command as well--has suffered humiliation at the hands of the Obama administration. This humiliation has come in a number of different ways. From Obama passing a lot of his agenda (Obamacare, to pick one)--to being re-elected when it seemed an impossibility. This was compounded by Romney & McCain before him, being the "electable choice" that didn't actually get elected.
The Clown-Car effect, which was supposed to be done with this cycle seems even more pronounced with Trump and Carson leading and Scott Walker (and a revitalized Rick Perry) dropping out early.
The fixation over Benghazi--which is still continuing--looks far less driven by a search for facts rather than a search for a damaging narrative. At this point, it appears, the GOP is only doing damage to itself.