Rightbloggers: Had Enough Benghazi? Too Bad!
Let's look at this latest iteration of the brethren's second favorite Lost Cause.
You may recall that Congressional Republicans held Benghazi hearings a year ago, which revealed that though the Administration offered the anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims -- which had reportedly caused a attack on a U.S. embassy in Cairo -- as a cause of violence that killed four Americans in the Benghazi consulate, there was also evidence that Al Qaeda operatives had wanted to attack the place regardless.
This would be unsurprising to anyone who was following America's fortunes in the Middle East, but conservatives insisted it meant that Obama was engaged in a "cover-up," though what crime the President was supposed to be covering up, none of them has ever coherently explained.
Those hearings did not lead to the popular uprising for which the brethren hoped, but in the interim they have done their best to keep Benghazi alive, helped greatly by Fox News, which finds reasons to bring it up daily, not excluding the recent Flight 370 story ("The network news doesn't want to cover important stories, like the IRS and Benghazi," railed Bill O'Reilly, "but they can cover the airliner without any political consequences").
Republican politicians are in on the gag, too, occasionally dragging Benghazi witnesses like former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell back to Capitol Hill to see what they can shake out of them, or saying things like what Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in March about the Ukraine crisis: "When you tell the world we're gonna find the people who killed our four Americans in Libya, including the ambassador, and you do nothing about it... it sets in motion exactly what you see." Benghazi, like original sin, poisons all it touches.
Even Putin knows the truth -- why are Mr. and Mrs. America not getting it? Maybe because skeptics, not to mention Wikipedia, have noted that there have been lethal raids on American diplomatic missions abroad for decades, yet opposition parties have not previously made the kind of stink about them Republicans are making now. This suggests to cynical minds like ours that the brethren are animated by purely political considerations, though they insist it's just because they want to impeach Obama, which is simple patriotism.
Since last year's hearings, every so often a little Benghazi would break through rightbloggers' gloom, only to leave them disappointed yet again. In October, for example, 60 Minutes ran a report on Benghazi which had the brethren forgetting every mean thing they'd said about the Lame Stream Media; alas, the report turned out to be bullshit, and they fell back into dark mutterings and bitching about SNL sketches about Benghazi. Even reliable rightwing talking-point force-multiplier Charles Krauthammer told his comrades it was time to hang it up.
But last week, conservative investigators Judicial Watch got some White House Benghazi files they'd FOIA'd, and among these was an email that White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had sent to former UN Ambassador Susan Rice after the attack, stating the Administration's "goals" for her when she went before the public on Benghazi. Among these: "To convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad. To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not in a broader policy failure," and other, similarly anodyne ass-covering sentiments.
In other words, the White House accentuated the positive, just as we had originally seen and just as Administrations always do -- as when, for example, Ronald Reagan told America about the Challenger, "they have slipped the surly bonds of earth" instead of "NASA fucked up and killed those poor bastards." But ecstatic rightbloggers described it as the smoking gun they'd been waiting for.
"Benghazi email 'a smoking gun,'" charged the Savannah Morning News. "JW Finds Benghazi Smoking Gun!" own-horn-tooted Judicial Watch." "Benghazi Smoking Gun Exposed," cried FrontPageMag. "Why Sean Hannity Believes This Is the 'Smoking Gun' on Benghazi" was The Heritage Foundation's stop-the-presses headline.
Even Charles Krauthammer was ready to get the Benghazi band back together. "It's to me the equivalent of what was discovered with the Nixon tape," said Krauthammer. Which was a smoking gun!
In their newly-reinvigorated Benghazi offensive, rightbloggers dismissed any possible mitigating circumstances: They took it on faith, for example, that no one at the White House ever believed the anti-Islam video had anything to do with the sudden violence -- though the smarter among them were circumspect in giving this impression, e.g.:
"WHITE HOUSE TO SUSAN RICE: BLAME THE VIDEO FOR BENGHAZI ATTACK," announced Breitbart.com's John Sexton. "...the messaging goals offer insight into how senior advisers in the White House saw the video as an important scapegoat, a way to direct public attention away from questions about the president's foreign policy toward another cause... As we now know (as the administration should have known almost immediately), the truth about what had happened in Benghazi did not quite fit the mold. In fact, a more accurate account would have undercut the White House's messaging goals." And you know what the opposite of an accurate account is? A lie!
"The memos all center around the efforts of the White House, State Department and CIA to prep United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice prior to her infamous appearances on the Sunday talk shows," said Doug MacEachern of The Arizona Republic -- "the ones in which she blamed an Internet video for causing the attacks. The totally made-up explanation, that is." Well, we did say the smarter ones.
"Email Shows White House Planned Benghazi Video Deception," headlined Neil Munro at The Daily Caller. "White House officials consciously planned to spin the successful 2012 jihadi attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound... In her Sunday appearances, Rice implemented the White House's spin... The email is black-and-white evidence of deception and spin... Clearly, it is a problem for Obama, whose poll ratings are sliding amid his failure to block Russia's advance in Ukraine, and his decision to lie about the impact of Obamacare on Americans' legal ability to keep their preferred health plans..." Benghazi and Ukraine and Obamacare in one "news" story! Munro will never miss a meal.
At National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy said "the administration's 'Blame the Video' fairy tale" went even further than elsewhere reported -- because Obama was lying about the Cairo uprising as well as the Benghazi one. "When Benghazi comes up, the administration -- President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Jay Carney, et al. -- loves to talk about the Cairo 'protests,'" seethed McCarthy. "Why? Because the media, and thus the public, have bought hook, line, and sinker the fraudulent claim that those 'protests' were over the anti-Muslim video."
That's weird: Several newspapers, here and in Egypt, thought the Cairo riot was video-related; in fact, the State Department officials at the Cairo embassy apparently thought so, too, since they distanced themselves from the video on Twitter the day of the riot. Ah, but that was just a ruse, said McCarthy -- the Cairo embassy people were covering for Obama on Benghazi, even before it happened: "The transparent purpose of the State Department's shrieking over the video," he charged, "was to create the illusion that any security problems at the embassy (violent rioting minimized as mere 'protests') were attributable to the anti-Muslim video, not to President Obama's policies and patent failure to quell al-Qaeda." They're all in on it! Why, when Ambassador Stevens refused extra security at Benghazi the month before the attacks, probably he was preemptively covering for Obama too.
"But as damning as Rhodes's email seems to be, Democrats don't seem too worried," said Jeffrey S. Tobin at Commentary, and he knew why: No, not clear consciences, but because "the story is being largely ignored or downplayed by most of the same mainstream media that helped foster the narrative that Republicans were nuts to claim the White House was covering something up." And what else could explain that except pro-Democrat spin?