Dear Republicans and the House Selection Committee on Benghazi,
On behalf of Democrats everywhere, I want to personally thank you for your
prosecution of hearing with Hillary Clinton yesterday. In those 11 hours of slinging sh*t against the wall and hoping it would stick, you allowed Clinton to provide answers to the questions you had raised about her in the desperate hope they would put doubt in voters’ minds.
In the face of a comical level of partisanship, Clinton proved she can be non-partisan, serious and policy minded. She is, in fact, a human being rather than a robot. She most certainly has the energy to be president.
You generously put the cherry on top of an epic October for Clinton’s campaign. Biden isn’t going to challenge her. She dominated the first Democratic debate. She was funny in her cameo as Val the bartender on SNL. AND Republican Reps. McCarthy and Hanna erased any doubt that the Benghazi investigation was designed to hurt her politically – costing taxpayers just south of $5 million (so far). Yesterday’s hearing was just another Clinton victory in a month full of them.
This isn’t just me talking. Conservative commentators were disgusted at your inability to connect with a single blow on Clinton. Your big screw up has been obsessing over the email investigation to the point that it became directly tied to the Benghazi probe. The latter stinks of partisanship so the former does by association.
You embarrassed yourselves and, to the surprise and delight of progressives, made Clinton look more presidential. Congratulations.
After your Chairman Trey Gowdy started things off by getting into a pissing match with Democrat Elijah Cummings about the partisan nature of the Committee – Clinton calmly delivered an opening statement that turned out to essentially play as a eulogy for the four Americans who died at Benghazi.
Clinton spent the rest of the hearing staying close to the line that she would cooperate in trying to uncover anything that would improve the future security for Americans abroad. She shared emotional stories about the night of the attacks. She described the tense hours when the State Department could not locate Ambassador Stevens and how Libyans showed support for him after he was killed. She stated that she found it “deeply distressing” that she was being blamed for his death.
She stayed composed in the midst of Gowdy becoming agitated, Rep. Mike Pompeo being a condescending jerk, and Rep. Peter Roskam yelling at her for listing her accomplishments in Libya.
Roskam accused her of trying to “turn progress in Libya into a political win for Hillary Rodham Clinton” and then shifting her attention away from the country.
Clinton calmly called it a “political statement” that had nothing to do with the matter at hand.
Frankly, she kicked your ass and made you look petty.
You see, the point of yesterday was to uncover new information about the Benghazi attack but there is nothing more to learn about what happened. Four Americans were tragically killed by terrorists. Clinton didn’t know the attack was coming. She was the official most engaged in the immediate response.
You basically tried to get her on two points: 1) That she was the chief force behind the US Libya policy and 2) she was taking more advice from her friend Sidney Blumenthal than she was from Ambassador Stevens.
You were right on the first one. Clinton was the main person behind the US Libya policy. She organized the coalition that took down Qaddafi and convinced Obama that it was right thing to do. So, again Republicans, congratulations. You proved things she wrote in her book and that journalists reported at the time. Kudos.
Your Blumenthal angle was a misfire and the definition of a red herring. This guy is not much more than a hanger-on who emailed Clinton a lot with borrowed intel. He’s never been to Libya and had no firsthand information about security there. The references to his emails only showed how little yesterday’s hearing had to do with the actual situation on the ground in Libya or the security there.
Pompeo chose to grill Clinton on whether Stevens had her email address, her home address, or her phone number. Her home address can be found on Google, genius. It wouldn’t have been hard to reach her in an emergency, and, in fact, she was alerted very quickly when the Benghazi compound was attacked.
Seriously, nobody thinks yesterday helped you or hurt Clinton.
After Roskam accused Clinton of using Libya as a tool for her political advancement, she simply batted him aside.
“For the witness to be right is a failure of the committee,” Lawrence O’Donnell, a former staff director for the Senate Finance Committee, said on MSNBC right after that exchange.
One veteran Republican strategist reportedly stopped watching the hearing because “the questioning [was] so bad.”
Republicans and Benghazi Committee, I will wrap up by thanking you again for yesterday. There could not have been a better display of her strengths and your glaring weaknesses. I think she should ask for more rounds of questioning right before the election just to seal the deal. You guys need to go into damage control and shut this thing down before it hurts you more than it already has. But as for now, Clinton is sitting pretty. And I thank you for it.