Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DURST: GOP’s Benghazi smoke screen

By Will Durst, Raging Moderate | 5/22/2013

Up until about an hour ago, most Americans thought Benghazi was the guy who palled around with John Cassavetes back in the 1960s, but now it’s obvious we’re talking about the foreign policy arm of a multi-ramped tar pit in which the president has found himself swimming — up to his armpits. Yes, friends, it’s pity time at the White House.

After flogging the issue nonstop since Sept. 11, 2012, the Fox News team’s persistence finally pushed the story of the Libyan Embassy riot that resulted in the death of four Americans over the cliff into the public consciousness. (Space available only because both “Survivor” and “Duck Dynasty” are on hiatus.)

Up until about an hour ago, most Americans thought Benghazi was the guy who palled around with John Cassavetes back in the 1960s, but now it’s obvious we’re talking about the foreign policy arm of a multi-ramped tar pit in which the president has found himself swimming — up to his armpits. Yes, friends, it’s pity time at the White House.

After flogging the issue nonstop since Sept. 11, 2012, the Fox News team’s persistence finally pushed the story of the Libyan Embassy riot that resulted in the death of four Americans over the cliff into the public consciousness. (Space available only because both “Survivor” and “Duck Dynasty” are on hiatus.)

The hue and cry from the right is demanding many questions be answered. Was the protest planned or spontaneous? Did the group that initiated the attack have any affiliation with Arab terrorists? Who altered the talking points — the CIA or the U.S. State Department? Where were the drones? Queens? Wasps? Chigger mites? How many angels can dance on the head of a bent and broken Romney/Ryan pin? What would Cheney do?

Having taken all this in, the American people responded with what can only be characterized as even more penetrating questions such as: “Who cares? What difference does it make? Aren’t we stuffed to the gills with enough partisan gobbled-goop already? Isn’t there a seafood buffet around here somewhere?”

The revelations have been as startling as mint jelly on lamb. Tragic, violent events occurring in the Middle East? Oh no! Not that. Perpetual infighting amongst government agencies? That couldn’t happen here, could it? Republicans accusing a Democratic administration of not being patriotic enough? What are the odds?

Next you’ll tell me the Justice Department investigation of the Justice Department’s seizure of AP reporters’ phone records will lead to the Justice Department concluding that the Justice Department did nothing wrong. The public’s eyes are glazing over like a fifth-grader lectured on the nutritional aspects of broccoli rabe.

Haven’t we been told for the past 20 or 30 years that Libya is a godless pit of iniquity and now they want us to heap truckloads of blame onto our own guys because someone got killed over there? After they themselves voted down additional money for embassy security? Another example of that whole “dynamite the front steps then complain what a pain it is to climb into the house on a rope ladder” school of logic.

But the GOP remains convinced they have the administration on the run, and is calling for all sorts of investigative committees and dedicated inquiry boards and pretty soon it will be special prosecutors and courtrooms full of hopping kangaroos and then pointy sticks and barbed wire and dungeon doors with keys specifically designed to be thrown away. Just in time for the midterms.

And if everything goes according to plan, Hillary Clinton and her nascent 2016 presidential run will wither and rot behind the same Benghazi charges. But the Republicans must know how tricky this sort of maneuver can be. As with all smoke screens, you have to pay real close attention to which way the wind blows, or you could easily end up choking on the same stuff you’re spreading.

Will Durst is a political comic and syndicated columnist. Email him at durst@caglecartoons.com

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