A few days ago one of my loyal readers posted a Liz Warren campaign song video (even though she’s not running for anything right now). The video was posted to my comments section with a snide comment and reminder of the Obama songs we contended with in 2008.
I wondered why we never see any good campaign songs for the GOP contenders? Rather than mock Warren’s supporters, how about putting together some ditties for your candidates? So I figured in this time of dark headlines and world unrest, we could use a lighter post today. Here are my song fragments for a few of the leading contenders for the GOP POTUS run.
Mitt Romney (provide your own melody)
Mitt’s the hit, he’s the hole in one.
Michigan’s favorite son.
Vote for Mitt and you can bet
He’ll wipe out Russia, our biggest threat.
“Bankrupt Detroit”, our Mitt foretold
That GM cars would all soon explode.
The war on women will gets its licks
When Mitt opens up his binder of chicks.
VOTE FOR MITT, HE’S THE HIT!!
Rand Paul (provide your own melody)
Rand Paul, he’s our man
A tried and true Libertarian
Rand Paul, he’s our man
He won’t send your son to die in Iran.
He’ll get the gov out of your bedroom
And let you smoke pot and eat your shrooms.
And just like his Daddy said
He’ll stop foreign aid and audit the Fed.
Jeb Bush (to the melody of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”)
Everybody’s talking ’bout Iraq, Afghans, Katrina, failed banks, Cheney, Rumsfeld.
All we are saying, give Jeb Bush a chance!
Everybody’s talking ’bout Father, Brother, dynasty, even Mother say’s it’s bullshit but
All we are saying, give Jeb Bush a chance!
Marco Rubio (to the melody of “La Bamba”)
Come on and vote for Marco.
Come on and vote for Marco, the Cuban wonder.
He’s not like Obama.
He’s not like Obama, he will not plunder
Your hard earned wages.
Your hard earned wages will stay with you, will stay with you, will stay with you!
Come on and vote for Marco.
Come on and vote for Marco, the Rubio.
He will fix immigration.
He will fix immigration but do it slow.
Don’t want to piss off the right wing
Don’t want to piss off the right wing and Tea Party
He will fix immigration
He will fix immigration very slowly, very slowly, very slowly.
Chris Christie (to the melody of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”)
Have yourself a President Chris Christie.
He’s a voice that’s new.
While others coddle voters, he just says “Fuck you!”
So have yourself a President Christie — FUCK YOU!
One of my readers and frequent comment contributors recently noted the myth behind so-called liberal tolerance. My knee jerk reaction to this is to disagree. I do tend to think of liberals as more tolerant and accepting than conservatives. Then, every once in a while I am reminded of the error in my thinking.
I was watching MSNBC’s “Up with Steve Kornacki” (hosted today by Washington Posts’ Jonathan Capehart) and the discussion turned to the anniversary of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin. One of Jonathan’s guests, MSNBC personality Joy Reid observed that the prosecutors in the case lacked passion and that contributed to the acquittal. I confess I’m not a huge fan of Miss Reid in the first place, having seen her twists facts in the past to suit her point. After watching her bemoan the prosecution in this case, the following Twitter exchange ensued:
Before all of Joy’s fans descend upon me, let me make clear my first tweet to her. In our criminal justice system the burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the defense. The prosecutors needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon in self defense. Whether we like it or not, Trayvon’s likelihood to be violent — the likelihood that he could beat Zimmerman to within an inch of his life — is entirely relevant. Whether we like it or not, Trayvon was no choir boy. His attorney’s comparison of him to Medgar Evers made me want to vomit. From his Twitter handle “No_Limit_Nigga” on down, Trayvon was clearly embracing the thug culture. Quite honestly, the prosecution had to walk on egg shells to portray him as a wonderful boy who would never beat the crap out of someone. The fact that they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had nothing to fear was entirely logical. Trayvon turned out to be one of the worst standard bearers for racial profiling imaginable. The fact that the last person on Earth who should have been carrying a gun was wackjob cop-wanna-be George Zimmerman, was sadly beside the point.
So, let’s look at Joy’s response to my tweet. First, the irony of what she said was thick as London fog. I didn’t KNOW Trayvon so I had no right to speak. I stereotyped him. Now unless Joy has been reading my blog on a regular basis (which I highly doubt), she does not KNOW me and yet she stereotyped me as a “stereotyping” (hint, racist) “jerk”. The fact is, both Joy Reid and I know more about Trayvon Martin than Joy Reid knows about me. Yet she was quick to stereotype me while ignoring some unpleasant truths about Trayvon.
Joy stayed true to her dismissive “be gone” and ignored my two follow up Tweets. I wasn’t surprised. To answer my first response, she would have had to admit that she is a hypocrite who finds Trayvon an ignorant thug but can’t admit it publicly. Or she would have had to join the throngs of blacks who toss their self respect out the window, defending the indefensible. On that score, all I can do is recommend to Miss Reid some Bill Cosby videos about proper standards of behavior that know no racial boundaries, and violations of this behavior that deserve no excuses.
On a much more serious philosophical level, Joy Reid proved the point of my conservative comment contributor. The minute she saw an opinion that differed from her own, she went on the attack with just as nasty a tone as any “intolerant” conservative. Now I will readily admit that Twitter is hardly the ideal place for an intelligent exchange. I will also admit my Tweet was slightly provocative. Yet I honestly think I might have gotten a more intelligent response from the likes of Sean Hannity. First, her reply was outright stupid. Did she KNOW Trayvon? I don’t think she did. 99% of the folks weighing in on the Zimmerman case did not KNOW any of the participants. Then she follows up by doing to me the very thing she was accusing me of doing to Trayvon. How she could hit “reply” on that Tweet, without seeing her total lack of self-awareness, is dumbfounding.
A few years ago I made the mistake of visiting a liberal blog and suggesting that some women actually wound up pregnant because they CHOSE to have unprotected sex. I made the wild assertion that women could and should in certain situations take responsibility for their (sexual) choices and not make excuses. What bothered me was a person on the blog who said she “found herself pregnant”. It was as though she woke up one morning, got a positive pregnancy test result and said “how did that happen?” It was as though she tripped and fell upon an ejaculating penis. It bothered the hell out of me. So, I objected. The response was vicious attacks by the ladies who frequent the blog and a successful attempt to out my true identity by one of the readers there. I was stunned. While I am not a “Daily Kos liberal”, I am most certainly an “MSNBC liberal” and here I was being torn to shreds by folks whose basic ideology I thought I shared.
The intervening years made me forget how vicious the left could be. My exchange with Joy Reid brought it all back again. The truth folks is that an ideologue of any stripe is likely to be intolerant because no ideology can square completely with reality. Conservative ideology ignores the truth of honest-to-goodness victims who need help. Liberal ideology ignores the truth of folks not making sufficient effort at caring for themselves. Not only do both ends of the political spectrum refuse to tolerate each other, they don’t tolerate moderates within their own tribe.
Well I’ve got news for you Joy Reid. Your wish that I “be gone” will not come true. I will continue to write pieces (and tweet Tweets) that mostly piss off conservatives and if I damn well want to, I’ll write stuff that pisses off blind followers of liberal ideology who enable minorities and women to dodge responsibility for their own actions.
If you don’t wear blinders you can be sure that some group of lowlife scum will make you ashamed of being American on the 4th of July. Such was the case this week in Murrieta, California. Fifty of our finest citizens with the IQ of a gnat impeded the progress of a bus carrying illegal immigrants to a government holding facility.
Armed with the typical placards demonstrating their superior intellect, the “protesters” yelled “go home”, all red faced and angry. This might not have been so unusual if the bus had been full of “Mexicans out to steal our jobs” but the bus was full of women and mostly children fleeing South American oppression. Yes, that’s right folks. Some of our fellow Americans (in name only) stood in front of a bus and terrorized little children.
The bus was in compliance with the law. The protesters blocking traffic were not. The cops on the scene did nothing.
So here is my solution. Had I been the bus driver, I would have gone Tiananmen square on their ass. I would have yelled out my window to thugs and cops alike, “move or be moved.”. Then, after a five-count, I would have put the foot to the floor and mowed every one of those motherf*ckers down. Don’t tread on me, indeed.
What about scared little children did these mental midgets not understand? I don’t care what your politics are. Angry with Obama, fine. Angry with Congress, go for it. But in a humanitarian crisis, you leave the kids alone.
These fifty or so idiots don’t get a “Happy Independence Day” from me. They defy everything that is great about our nation.
Far left manifesto Daily Kos beat me to the punch with the headline “Pigs Fly – Megyn Kelly Slams Cheney”.
I was sitting away from the TV when I thought I heard Fox’s Megyn Kelly ask blowhard ex VP Dick Cheney the question any self respecting journalist would have asked him but lacked the guts to. But it could not be. This was Fox, the network that single handedly powers the mechanical heart of Darth Cheney. I had to see it with my own eyes.
Alas, it was true. Dick Cheney, the heartless Tin Man to Bush’s brainless Scarecrow, got his ass handed to him just when he thought he was in his safe place. Since 2009, Bush ’43 has shown nothing but class. It might be modesty about his self-perceived accomplishments or shame about his obvious failures. It matters not. Bush has been a true patriot, honoring the Presidency, if not Obama, with his silence.
The same cannot be said for Dick Cheney, one of the architects of the most expensive and deadly boondoggles in recent history. The man just can’t shut up. His latest pronouncement about Obama in the Wall Street Journal topped all previous examples of arrogant self delusion.
Rarely has a U.S. President been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.
Megyn Kelly threw his words back in his face, confirming what every honest American already knew.
But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir. You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005. And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’ Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?
Cheney’s answers to Kelly were predictable and not worth inclusion here. Suffice it to say he is unable to accept responsibility for the grave injury he inflicted on his country. The phrase found in much of the coverage of his Op-Ed is “unmitigated gall”.
The bottom line is that in a fifteen minute interview Megyn Kelly transformed Fox News from partisan hackery to serious journalism. She also laid to shame every other network without the balls to put Cheney in his place – to his face.
There are those who say Cheney and his merry band of neo-cons from the dawn of this century shouldn’t even be allowed to spew their bullcrap on TV. I disagree. Bring them on and let’s have more folks like Megyn Kelly expose them for the dangerous fools they are.
For the full Kelly video and more Fox commentary go here.
With everything the Republican Party has thrown at Barack Obama, why has so little of it gained traction? For all his alleged wrongs, Obama still won a second term. I think it has a lot to do with what the American public can grok.
Let’s look at arguably the two biggest scandals of the past 30 years. Iran-Contra, trading arms for hostages. Those four words say it all. Easy to understand, easy to get outraged about. Lying about receiving fellatio from a subordinate in the Oval Office. Again, what could be simpler?
Fast forward to 2009.
Fast and Furious: too complicated a plot line with the reasonable fallback excuse of “sometimes an operation gets botched.”
Benghazi: the fog of war makes the real story debatable, Americans don’t have the patience to sort through all of it and the fallback excuse “sometimes an operation gets botched.”
IRS: might have had legs if Joe next door got abused but WTF is a 501(c)(4) anyway? Yawn, change the channel.
But Obama’s luck, for lack of a better word, may have finally run out.
The failed ACA rollout: forget the “you can keep your doctor” misinformation; the real kicker here was a website that didn’t work. We live in an age where even the dumbest ignoramus uses a computer and can tell a sucky web site from a good one. Obama flubbed the most fundamental aspect of his landmark legislation — the ability to actually sign up for it. This won him universal skepticism about his competence. This was capped off by the “well-timed” resignation of his Secretary of HHS.
The VA Scandal: you don’t mess with one of our most beloved minorities, the combat veteran. Not only were they dying, waiting for treatment, but the public was being lied to about the speed at which folks were being admitted into the system. This, again, is an example of basic incompetence easily understood by the American public and repugnant to 99% of it. This was capped off by the resignation of his Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
The Bergdahl Trade: we traded a traitor for five (arguably) dangerous Gitmo detainees. What could be easier to understand? Again, this scandal plays on America’s reverence for noble military service and its fear of terrorists. In the Benghazi conflict Susan Rice’s comments are still debated to this day as to their veracity at the moment she spoke them. In this case, however, she outright lied about Bergdahl’s “honorable” service. This weekend she clarified that her remarks referred to Bergdahl’s enlisting in the service but I think most of us would agree the honor is in serving, not in enlisting and certainly not in deserting.
Regarding the Bergdahl fiasco, I spent much of the past week shaking my head and saying “I just don’t understand this. Why the Rose Garden grandiosity? Why not do this on the down-low? Why the claim of imminent death due to poor health when the dude looks in pretty good shape? Why not give Congress the 30 days notice? Poor project planning or brazen contempt for the law?” I am no armchair foreign policy expert. If I was thinking this, then I assure you many others in the country were wondering the same thing.
For reasons I cannot wrap my head around, Obama has transitioned from complicated conflicts where good arguments could be made on both sides, to getting the basics wrong — to blowing the easy stuff. All the Republicans need is control of the Senate and these easy to understand examples of incompetence, in some cases mendacity, mean impeachment cannot be far away. The public won’t tolerate a trumped-up impeachment but they won’t object too loudly if Obama makes it too easy.
With each new screw-up, that is exactly what Obama is doing.
The cover story of the latest edition of The Atlantic has the liberal media a buzz. The essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates is entitled “The Case for Reparations”. Before reading the essay I watched Mr. Coates discuss his piece on MSNBC and Bill Moyers PBS show. I disagree with one of his points in particular and his broader thesis in general though his approach is novel and worth discussing.
A specific point made by Coates with which I strongly disagree concerns the modern day black man’s role in his own victimization. Coates criticizes Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter for telling black men to pull up their pants and look respectable. Coates claims that no amount of respectability will win the black man respect. I hope I am just misunderstanding him because this idea is total nonsense. There are standards of conduct that transcend race. Blacks should not be exempt from these standards by hiding behind “culture”. There is nothing cultural about pants hanging off your ass. It’s ignorant.
Since Coates doesn’t predicate his argument on the lack of black complicity in their own plight, the above criticism might be a nitpick. Looking at the broader theme my problem is one of timing. It seems to me that reparations should be temporally proximate to the harm done while some perpetrators and victims are still alive. Otherwise we are punishing folks who haven’t done anything to anybody. A quick look at some notable reparations supports my timing concern.
First let’s take Native Americans off the table because the lands of the tribes are considered “nations” and our arrangements are treaties. These arrangements govern ongoing relations and don’t fall into a short term reparations category. Reparations from West Germany to Israel commenced in 1952, within the decade following WWII. Reparations from the U.S. to Japanese citizens wrongfully detained started as early as 1948, only three years after the war. (These reparations programs lasted a bit longer going all the way into the 80′s.)
Even the most recent egregious offenses described by Coates begin to abate in the 1960′s, making reparations a half century later punitive to many innocents. So while I oppose reparations for blacks, I still think Coates’ approach merits discussion.
1. Rather than focus on human suffering, Coates concentrates on financial robbery. Blacks propped up an entire Southern economy with zero compensation. Post-slavery, they had no legal rights to property which could be (and was) regularly taken from them. Into the mid 20th century, they were hoodwinked in con artist real estate deals. They were zoned out of any possibility of integrated neighborhoods. By default, parts of the New Deal, such as Social Security, left them out in the cold. In short, the American power structure, over and over again, conspired to disenfranchise them and render them impotent. Hence Coates builds his case for reparations on purely monetary grounds, taking much of the subjective emotional content out of the discussion.
2. Coates walks a fine line between putting the reparations burden on whites as opposed to Americans. This is even more evident in his interviews about the article. He even states that as a taxpayer he would bear some of the burden. But he seems to be more about discussion than actual Benjamins. Most importantly he wants an American discussion, not a white vs black discussion.
3. This is where I find his argument most compelling. Yes, we talk about race a lot. However, we usually talk about specific current grievances prompted by some particular incident. We don’t often talk about our national conscience on a grander scale that encompasses the totality of our wrong doing. Liberals frown at the Confederate flag but we don’t view it with adequate shame. The Confederacy was not a legitimate short-lived nation. It was a criminal rogue state. It was a pox upon our country. Yet, we tolerate a certain nostalgia about it. A perfect example was a visit I made to Atlanta many years ago. The hotel TV tourist channel advertised tours of nearby plantations with not a hint of the degradation that went on there. I think Coates would agree with me that a far more satisfying alternative to financial reparations would be to have all these plantations declared memorials to the men and women abused there, sort of a black holocaust museum. How about Congress issuing a proclamation officially condemning the Confederate States of America as a rogue state and sponsor of terrorism? Let’s not limit our truth telling to the South. The North was not much better. Our national apology should reach back to the framers who had a chance to get this new democracy off to a clean start and passed.
These are just a couple of ideas that might see the light of day if Congress debated reparations. Beyond any remuneration, Coates is hoping for a national coming to grips with our shameful past and an official public accounting to the world of our wrongdoing. This would start with our asking forgiveness for what we have done before taking any further pride in how far we have come.
“The Benghazi Hoax” was written by David Brock, Ari Rabin-Havt and the gang at Media Matters. The title of course says it all. These guys think that the entire controversy over the tragic events in Benghazi, Libya on September 11-12, 2012 were a hoax perpetrated by the right wing on a gullible public. Though I lean left, true to the “common sense” theme of this blog, I wanted to read the book as objectively as possible and apply some common sense to their arguments. In particular, I tried to inhabit the body of a skeptic (maybe even a conservative one) and see if the book met the basic test of convincing me of their assertion.
What follows is not my independent analysis of Benghazi. I fully admit I am not up to that task. This is simply my opinion of whether the authors of the “Hoax” met their test. I will run through the book, point by point, giving a YAY or NAY on each one,with a brief explanation of why I “voted” that way.
Let me start by saying that, to their credit, the folks at Media Matters devoted almost half the book to end-notes. It shows their effort to at least not do a half-assed job. I think it would make any college professor proud. The end-note that immediately caught my eye was a State Department report on attacks on embassies and embassy officials. It supports one of their conclusions that Barack Obama was certainly not the first President to deal with embassy related violence. How many other Presidents received this much scrutiny when these events happened on their watch? Folks will say “but this was an Ambassador”. Tell that to the many embassy workers who have lost their lives in dangerous locales over the years.
1. Mitt Romney’s Statement – YAY – Mitt clearly dropped the ball in both content and timing when he released a statement about Obama sympathizing with terrorists before the blood in Benghazi was even dry. Interestingly, the statement by Romney, castigating the Obama admin for being apologetic with respect to Cairo and Benghazi, tied both to the anti-Muslim video posted to the Internet. Clearly even the Romney camp bought into the theory that would later be used to smear Obama with lying and cover-up. Beyond that, Romney was factually wrong. The apologetic tone of the embassy in Cairo was independent of official State Department instruction and was quickly repudiated by the State Department. So he was wrong on the facts AND his timing — politicizing a tragedy in real time — could not have been worse.
2. Terrorism or Act of Terror – NAY – A single reminder to Media Matters: words matter. The Presidential statement in the Rose Garden in which he referred to “acts of terror” was so awkward and indirect that he deservedly was skewered by the right wing. In no part of his statement that dealt directly with Benghazi did he use the term “terror”. Only toward the end of his statement, in a generic declaration, did he employ the phrase “acts of terror”. When CNN’s Candy Crowley ambushed Romney regarding Obama’s wording during a debate on foreign policy, the part of me that wanted Obama to win the debate was cheering. But the truth is Romney was right. The president never clearly tied the the notion of terrorism to the Benghazi event in his Rose Garden remarks.
3. The Attack on Susan Rice – YAY/NAY – Their argument on Susan Rice gets a mixed review. On the YAY side they make the valid point that she was doing her assignment. Sometimes we forget that at the end of the day, these folks have JOBS that involve doing what your boss tells you to do. When I was in the corporate world I was assigned the role of Project Architect, a role for which I was totally unprepared. After my initial protest, I took one for the team and did the job as best I could. As cliched as it may sound, Rice’s appearance on five Sunday talk shows amounted to “just following orders”. She was taking one for the team. It must also be noted that she was tempering her language with an emphasis on how preliminary the findings were. She gave herself an “out” on the facts — an out that was subsequently ignored by the right. So why the NAY? The boys at Media Matters were doing fine with their argument until they lumped Rice in with Eric Holder and Van Jones to imply a racist motive for Rice’s persecution. That is total nonsense. Rice went on TV and gave misinformation that was fed to her. That made her easy pickings for opponents of the Obama administration. There was nothing racist about it.
4. The Talking Points – A qualified YAY — Moving from Susan Rice the person, to the actual points she made, Media Matters presents one compelling fact. The talking points tying Benghazi to Cairo and therefore to the explosive Internet video, originated not at the White House but at the CIA. David Petraeus, beloved by conservatives and head of the CIA at the time, was instrumental in this spin on events. The reason given was that the CIA didn’t want to put all our cards on the table so early in a criminal investigation. The reason I qualify my YAY is that White House documents (some released before the Media Matters book and one released just this past week) show a State Department interested in protecting its reputation. To any loved ones of the dead, this petty office politics is repugnant.
5. The Republican Investigations – NAY – The author’s analysis of Darrell Issa and his congressional committee amounts to whining. They accuse the committee of partisanship (no kidding) and incompetence but they don’t actually do a deep dive on what evidence the committee heard nor do they prove their assertion that the primary motive of the committee was Obama-hate.
6. The Fake Concussion – YAY – Not even worth discussing. The notion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was malingering to avoid testifying to Darrell Issa’s committee is so grade-school it is embarrassing. That grown men and women promulgated this meme says volumes about how low our public discourse has fallen.
7. Hillary Clinton Faked Her Emotion – YAY/NAY — Again a mixed review from me. Some conservatives said that when Hillary teared up during her congressional testimony she was “acting”. This is right up there with the previous point about the faked concussion. Pure grade school foolishness. But then Media Matters slips up again and blames the conservative attack on, wait for it, sexism. So, not even halfway through the book the authors have played the race card and the gender card for no good reason.
8. A Disengaged Administration – YAY – The notion that Obama didn’t care about the events in Benghazi that night is another silly GOP talking point. The President was briefed on the event and gave the very obvious advice to his subordinates to stay on top of it. What Benghazi was real-time was confusing chaos. Everyone knows that it is the job of the President’s subordinates to handle situations and that he is enlisted for dedicated attention only when lower levels have been exhausted. The notion that he would delegate observation of this event down his chain is not at all unusual. It’s like expecting the President to drop everything he is doing to monitor the events at the latest Fort Hood shooting. It’s a naive assessment of Presidential priorities. (For that matter, if inattentiveness is the accusation, why did folks not ask about Obama’s whereabouts during the Cairo protests of the previous day? When does a threat to an American’s safety merit dedicated Presidential attention?)
9. Military Options – YAY – If you don’t want to believe the left leaning media about whether we responded adequately to the Benghazi attack in real-time, how about listening to two Republicans? Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates called the notion of military intervention “sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces“. “The House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11. 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya” drew a similar conclusion in their preliminary report. No realistic military option had been summarily dismissed or overlooked.
10. The “Critical Cables” a qualified YAY – One of the prime faults in “The Benghazi Hoax” is the constant GOP bashing by Media Matters, that plays well to its liberal followers but ultimately undermines some of its arguments. In this particular argument they score a clear victory but obscure it in accusations of the Republicans trying to undermine Hillary Clinton’s 2016 aspirations. Honestly, whether or not that is true, it’s an unnecessary side show. The main point presented here is that Hillary does not physically sign most of the memos that the State Department sends out in her name. Anyone who works for a large firm and gets a letter from the CEO congratulating them on their 10th anniversary with the company is a fool to think the CEO really signed that letter — or for that matter has any idea who the hell they are. That is standard operating procedure for big bureaucracies. A memo “signed by Hillary” in relation to embassy security simply does not contradict the notion that she knew of no such memo. It is as simple as that.
11. Attacks on the ARB – YAY/NAY – The authors convincingly assert that the State Department did what anyone would expect them to do (and apparently what they are required to do): investigate the incident and recommend how to prevent a recurrence. The ARB report issued 64 recommendations and four staffers were disciplined (although not fired). The only NAY on this argument is that Media Matters does not adequately explain why Hillary Clinton was not more extensively interviewed by the investigators. Apparently they had a brief discussion with her at the end of their research. As head honcho at “Foggy Bottom” Hillary seems worthy of more than a brief interview at the end of the investigation.
12 Muzzled – NAY – Media Matters deals with the fact that a CBS reporter with a questionable past floated a story about the Obama administration intimidating possible witnesses who might testify to Issa’s panel. Unfortunately, they only discredit the muzzling of one whistle blower, Gregory Hicks. They don’t delve deeper to discredit the entire notion of intimidation. If you believe folks were coerced not to testify or to lie, this argument by Media Matters will not convince you otherwise.
13. Left Behind – YAY – The authors provide a timeline that I think lays to rest the notion our people were “left behind” to die.
14. The Stand Down Order – YAY – This is similar to the previous point. No order to tell forces to do nothing was issued. The House Armed Services Committee itself confirmed that no stand down order was issued related to Benghazi.
15. Jonathan Karl’s Scoop – NAY – ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported on an email chain that he did not actually read himself. He relied on a skewed reading by an “informant” thereby discrediting Karl’s “scoop” that State Department emails showed a preoccupation with protecting the department’s reputation. The only problem is that the REAL emails released by the White House do show State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland trying to cover the department’s ass. Emails from Deputy NSA Ben Rhodes, minus the skew, do come off less damning. (More email from Rhodes was released in the past week and frankly add nothing new to the emails we had already seen from him). Bottom line, all Media Matters does with this point is prove that Karl reported the truth badly. His incompetence in sourcing did not change the fact that Nuland was interested in protecting her boss.
Very sadly the primary point proven by “The Benghazi Hoax” was that the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2012 was politicized by both parties. One party went to absurd lengths to prove that a President would deliberately lie about the tragedy in order to get reelected. The other party for much less complex reasons — for rather mundane reasons — strove to cover its ass and cast aspersions on its opponents. The Republican’s endless digging for a smoking gun that simply doesn’t exist speaks for itself. But the tone of Brock and Rabin-Havt’s book shows an opposition of cry babies, ready to ascribe distracting accusations of racism and sexism to what is transparently simply politics. When you’re done reading, you have to wonder about the maturity of all the folks in Washington. So much of what is described in the book, from the GOP action to the left’s reaction is so Kindergarten that it is embarrassing.
From my reading of the book, the Benghazi “scandal” comes down to mundane petty office politics. Not even grand intriguing international politics. Just ordinary people playing CYA while their inquisitors indulge their fantasy of a terrorist-sympathizing President and his callous Secretary of State. The truth about Benghazi is not the drama you see on Fox and MSNBC.
The truth about Benghazi is tragic and ultimately very ordinary. We Americans don’t like ordinary. We like drama. That is what elevates Benghazi to a scandal.