Last night, the House voted to form the select committee on #Benghazi!, devoted to investigating the September 2012 attack in Benghazi, which has already been investigated seven times, four times in the House, two times in the Senate, and an independent commission by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.
The measure passed almost entirely along party lines, 232-186. Seven Democrats voted to enable this GOP witch hunt, Reps. John Barrow (D-GA), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Ron Barber (D-AZ), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
“Lord, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Today, House Democrats have rejected, for now, participating in the new Select Committee on Benghazi! Dems reject GOP offer on Benghazi. I disagree for two reasons, one practical, one strategic.
First, the practical reason offered by Steve Clemons of The Atlantic last night on The Last Word – Thursday, May 8:
I`m one of those — I understand that many members don`t want to give legitimacy to this processing committee and don`t go in. But as some one that has worked in the institution, I think it`s always important when you have the minority party represented, they have an ability to raise issues too. They have an ability to stand up, ask questions, make points, and if the American public sees on going abuse of that minority, that too will come back and, and nip at the heels of the Republican Party.
So, I would if I were running the show, endorse, five, very, very good solid Democrats to come in and basically continue to raise the profile of what the legitimate question should be. I think that can be powerful.
The second reason is strategic. The House Select Committee on #Benghazi! is really not about finding out what went wrong in Benghazi and how we can prevent it from happening again at all.
It is a precursor to something far more near and dear to the hearts of those who live in the fever swamps of the conservative media entertainment complex closed information feedback loop. Dave Weigel at Slate reports, Will Republicans Try to Impeach President Obama?:
On Saturday night, as Washington’s press corps was distracted by a surge of celebrity selfie opportunities, it was missing a kind of milestone. Jeanine Pirro, a former New York Republican star who tumbled out of politics and onto Fox News, was calling for the impeachment of President Obama over “a story no one wants to talk about.”
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Pirro’s point—she was saying that the media failed to see where the Benghazi story was going to lead. Hint: Impeachment.
“We have impeached a president for lying about sex with an intern,” she said. “A president resigned in the face of certain impeachment for covering up a burglary. Why wouldn’t we impeach this president for not protecting and defending Americans in the bloodbath known as Benghazi?” Pirro then addressed the president directly—though at this point in the evening he was giving a sardonic dinner speech—with a warning that “your dereliction of duty as commander-in-chief demands your impeachment.”
Just one segment on a slow news night, but there was a sense of inevitability about it, of the Overton Window being shifted by hand. Ever since the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, Republicans and conservatives have compared the Obama administration’s on-the-ground failure and intra-office spin job to Watergate. Politicos compare contemporary scandals to Watergate for one of two reasons: Laziness, or to gently raise the specter of impeachment.
The only thing that tamps down impeachment talk is the fear of a backlash, of looking crazy—of looking like former Rep. Dan Burton, basically. Ever since Republicans took back the House of Representatives, Speaker of the House John Boehner has fretted that one of their investigations would veer into the same fever swamp where Burton shot at pumpkins to re-enact theories about the death of Vince Foster. Boehner, elected in 1990, remembers how Republicans bet the entire 1998 election on the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and how their subsequent surprise defeat ended the speakership of Newt Gingrich.
“We’re probably one email away from Benghazi being an impeachable offense for much of our party,” fretted Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers in 2012, right after Obama’s re-election. “I think that’s nuts, but that’s where we are right now.”
That’s why Boehner’s endorsement of the select committee on Benghazi was so significant. “At one time,” former Rep. Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax, “Speaker Boehner said, if there’s any indication that that this leads to the White House, you know we’re going to go after this.” Boehner knew that Democrats would spend the next few months or years deriding a “witch hunt,” just as they mocked the Clinton impeachment.
And that’s also why the backup from Fox News matters, and why more conservatives will join the discussion. Next month the attorney and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy will publish Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. “There is a rich legal case,” writes McCarthy, “but impeachment is not about what the law allows. Impeachment is a matter of political will.”
McCarthy’s book is brief and structured around seven potential articles of impeachment, which accuse the president of everything from “usurping the constitutional authority of prerogatives of Congress” (for example, making recess appointments when Boehner refused to recess the House) to “failure to execute the immigration laws faithfully” to, inevitably, “the Benghazi fraud.”
Most of the scandals cited by McCarthy faded under the klieg lights of big media, but he puts some of the blame for that on Republicans. He cites a 2013 event with Sen. Ted Cruz in which a constituent asked why Obama couldn’t be impeached and the senator called it a “good question.”
The reincarnation of Joe McCarthy, Ted “Calgary” Cruz, this week Released His Definitive List of 76 ‘Lawless’ Obama Actions:
Cruz’s The Legal Limit Report No. 4 (.pdf) obtained by The Daily Caller, delves into little-known and little-reported details of President Obama’s executive actions. Cruz was set to discuss his report at the Federalist Society in the Promenade Ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Wednesday.
Joe McCarthy Ted “Calgary” Cruz speaking at The Federalist Society.
President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998. He was acquitted of the charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999.
Article 1, Section 3, Clauses 6 of the U.S. Constitution requires “the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members” of the Senate for conviction (67). This is simply not going to happen under any conceivable set of circumstances. The goal of the GOP is to damage the legacy of President Barack Obama and to tar former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to improve their chances of capturing the White House in 2016.
The multiple problems confronting this country will continue to go unaddressed by a Tea-Publican Congress that has descended into madness for consumption by the conservative media entertainment complex.