Benghazi Tragedy Incredibly Lucky Break For Congressional Angry White Men
The hot post-election topic, these days, appears to be the Fifty Shades of Republican soul-searching that is getting a very public airing. Hundreds of suggestions have been floated about how the Republican Party could best reinvent itself in order to actually win some elections someday.
Those ideas span a predictable gamut from Bobby Jindal’s “lose the stupid,” Meghan McCain’s “nuclear option” of switching parties, Franklin Graham’s flog the evangelical vote, to Marco Rubio’s cynical don’t-waste-time-taxing-rich-people-they’ll-get-out-of-it and, of course Charles Krauthammer’s “hug a Latino” solution.
That’s fine for the Young Guns, maybe, but some Republicans are too old, bitter and important to stand for the self-effacing route so they’ve hopped on the “crazy train” bound for Benghazi and, oh, what a Mother Lode of partisan bitterness it is for those who are brave enough to eschew facts and make total asses of themselves, in the media, in order to take one last manly swipe at the ObamaNation and inflict themselves on an otherwise euphoric electorate for one more term.
For a solid month of high dudgeon, we’ve been treated to embarrassing old-man-tantrums that escalated when Mitt Romney “shocked and awed” the home team with his ability to go down the tubes dragging a record-breaking money bomb with him. Harsh!
The Benghazi terrorist attack and the death of four Americans there was, undeniably, a tragedy that we all hope will not be repeated. All of the evidence that has accrued, over the past month, from eyewitness accounts, CIA and FBI investigations, as well as closed door Congressional hearings, put to rest any notion that there was any lying, obstruction or cover-up, by the Obama administration, regarding the particulars of the attack. It was an unfortunately chaotic situation carried out by opportunistic terrorists to create a maximum amount of confusion.
Despite the fact that “Middle East expert” John McCain immediately recognized that it was a terrorist attack, without the aid of time-consuming inquiries and eyewitness accounts, says more about Sen. McCain’s world class ability to jump to convenient conclusions than it does about anything substantive. And now that the election’s been lost by the GOP’s “great white hope,” a few more zealots have jumped on the Benghazi Bandwagon to make it an old-fashioned “all in” GOP Grudge Match.
McCain has been joined by Lindsey Graham and Dana “clear-cut the rainforest to solve climate change” Rohrabacher, one of the more fact-averse old-hands who, as such, is, of course, a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs where he serves as chairman of the subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, as well as the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
McCain is, well . . . McCain who has built up a rather impressive resume of getting things wrong and sticking to his guns. And getting nasty about it. McCain is, after all, though a politician and knows how to look out for his own behind. Facing a term limit on his current senior assignment in the Senate, McCain was scrounging around for some “special” way to remain relevant and stumbled upon the idea that Benghazi is just as bad, if not worse than (dundundun) Watergate! by God! and therefore should have its own Special Investigative Committee, headed up by—you guessed it—John McCain.
The post-election Harry Reid, who no longer has to suffer fools kindly, fired off a “Dear John” letter apprising McCain of, among other things, the fact that:
I refuse to allow the Senate to be used as a venue for baseless partisan attacks…
…You already have the opportunity to engage more fully in the fulsome and ongoing investigation in the events in Benghazi… [but] failed to attend a classified briefing held by the Senate Homeland Security Committee on this very issue.
and CCed the rest of the gang: Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, lest they get any further bright ideas.
Lindsey Graham, the gentleman from South Carolina, has decided that the best use of the Benghazi Windfall is to use it as a vehicle for his re-election.
Nice. Clearly Lindsey’s worried about another primary challenge.
Dana Rohrabacher (R-SoCal Super-rich Enclaves), one of California’s endangered species—the pileated Republican Nuthatch—has been entertaining Congress-watchers for years. Here are a few of Rohrabacher’s Greatest Hits:
In April 2012, CNN reported that “A top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs committee was asked by the State Department not to go to Afghanistan because President Hamid Karzai objected to the visit. ... Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, told Security Clearance he was readying to travel with five other Republicans from Dubai to Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, when the State Department requested he stay behind.”
In August 2012, Rohrabacher noted on his official website that he had written a letter to the U.S. State Department noting he supported U.S. sponsorship of separatist movements in Iran, which elicited criticism from the Iranian-American community that included challenging Rohrabacher’s understanding of the historical background he included in his letter to the Department of State.
Rohrabacher voiced support for the Taliban when they seized power in the 1990s, visiting Afghanistan when it came under their control, saying that the Taliban would provide “stability”, and eliminate threats to the United States. He also claimed the Taliban “intend to establish a disciplined, moral society”. He said he believed complete Taliban control over Afghanistan would be a “positive development”, that they were “devout traditionalists, not terrorists or revolutionaries”, and that “sensationalist” media coverage of the Taliban’s introduction of Sharia law was “nonsense”.
On April 17, 2007, while defending the Bush administration’s program of extraordinary rendition. Rohrabacher stated that the unfair treatment of one innocent suspect is an acceptable “unfortunate consequence” of holding others who would otherwise be free to commit terror acts. After he received boos and groans from the gallery, Rohrabacher responded, “Well, I hope it’s your families, I hope it’s your families that suffer the consequences”, and “I hope it’s your family members that die”. Rohrabacher was named Countdown with Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” on April 25
In 2004, he sponsored an amendment that would have prohibited federal reimbursement of hospital-provided emergency care and certain transportation services to undocumented aliens unless the hospital provided information about the aliens’ citizenship, immigration status, financial data, and employer to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Aliens who were in the country illegally would receive reimbursement only after they were deported. The proposed bill was defeated 88 – 331.
Rohrabacher denies that global warming is caused by humans. During a congressional hearing on climate change on February 8, 2007, Rohrabacher mused that previous warming cycles may have been caused by carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by “dinosaur flatulence.“On May 25, 2011, Rohrabacher expressed further skepticism regarding the existence of man-made global warming. However, he suggested that if it is an issue, a possible solution could be clear-cutting rain forests, and possibly replanting.
In an appearance as a panelist on Real Time with Bill Maher in January 2012, Rohrabacher cited Obama’s secret determination to “gut the military” as one reason why prominent Republicans are justified in making public displays of disrespect for a sitting president. He made this assertion despite non-partisan data indicating military spending has actually increased in each year of Obama’s presidency. When confronted with this fact on the show, Rohrabacher stumbled and later blamed his ineffectual television performance on the distraction caused by what he called the “aggressive and rude interruptions” of co-panelist and libertarian radio host, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery.
This three ring circus has already yielded up some fine cable-tv entertainment which will probably be further enhanced by the Benghazi Gang’s Sunday Morning appearances. For sheer spittle-flecked raving rhetoric, I’ll be tuning in to watch Dana Rohrabacher mixing it up with Greta on Fox. Others may want to check out John McCain on Face the Nation or Lindsey Graham on Meet the Press. Of course, I’ll be gathering up whatever bon mots are subsequently excreted in an update, if warranted.
For those of you who need immediate catharsis, after reading this, here’s Anderson Cooper’s recent evisceration of Dana Rohrabacher, on the subject: