A Further Perspective

What Are the Democrats Afraid Of?

There's no moving on from Benghazi.

By 5.5.14

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Why is it that Democrats don’t want to talk about Benghazi?

Why do Democrats get angry and defensive when asked about the events of September 11, 2012 which resulted in the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya?

Why do Democrats act like it happened during the Civil War?

Why do Democrats want to change the subject? It seems like Democrats would rather talk about Obamacare than talk about Benghazi.

We all remember when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified on Capitol Hill in January 2013 and asked Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”

Her successor, John Kerry, was no better. When he testified on Capitol Hill in April 2013 he told longtime GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, “We got a lot more important things to move on to.”

In May 2013, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney proclaimed, “Benghazi happened a long time ago.” As I noted at the time, Benghazi had happened exactly 232 days before.

A year later not much has changed despite new revelations late last week. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Judicial Watch obtained White House e-mails revealing the strategy behind then UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s TV appearances which advanced the narrative that the Benghazi attack was as a result of an anti-Muslim Internet video, not a terrorist attack or a result of policy failure despite overwhelming evidence that Benghazi attack was a deliberate, well-organized act of terrorism and had nothing to do with the Internet video. As our own Natalie deMacedo writes:

Besides the sickening egotistical nature of those words—forget the four dead Americans and focus on how awesome the president is—they also reveal that Rice’s comments about the video were not unintentional, but clearly part of a government plan. And they suggest that the White House was deeply involved, not just Susan Rice.

Yet Democrats insist there is nothing to see.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked reporters during a press conference, “Why aren’t we talking about something else?” Not to be outdone, former White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told Fox News Channel’s Brett Baier, “Dude, this was two years ago. We’re still talking about the most mundane thing.” Only to an Obama Democrat could the loss of four American lives be a most mundane thing.

For good measure “comedian” Bill Maher does not understand why Republicans persist on talking about Benghazi and on his HBO program asked why the GOP was “handcuffing themselves to this dead hooker of an issue?” Let’s remember that Maher spent a million dollars to get President Obama re-elected.

Of course, had four Americans been murdered at any of our consulates under a Republican administration, Hillary, Kerry, Carney, Pelosi, and Maher would be clamoring for a special prosecutor, if not impeachment. We shouldn’t expect anything less from Democrats and their apologists. But I do expect more from someone like Max Boot of Commentary Magazine who believes that Benghazi is of little consequence:

No, Republicans seem intent on focusing on the micro-issue of why administration spokesmen, led by Susan Rice, insisted at first on ascribing the attack to a spontaneous demonstration rather than to a planned act by terrorists who may have been affiliated with al-Qaeda. 

Granted, those early talking points were off base. I will even grant that they may have been off-base for political rather than policy reasons: With an election two months away, and Obama doing his utmost to take credit for killing Osama bin Laden and finishing off al-Qaeda, the White House did not want to be blamed for a major terrorist attack. But this is not Watergate. It’s not even Iran-Contra. Unless something radically new emerges, it looks to me like the same old Washington spinning that every administration engages in—a bit reminiscent of Bush administration denials in the summer of 2003 that Iraq faced a growing insurgency.

Where to begin? The circumstances of the Benghazi attack are not a “micro-issue.” It matters why four Americans were murdered on the 11th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. It also matters why 12 soldiers and one civilian were murdered at Fort Hood in November 2009. Now imagine if the Bush Administration had said the 9/11 attacks weren’t an act of terrorism. Yet we don’t have to imagine where it concerns the Obama Administration. They have moved heaven and earth to deny these were acts of terrorism.

As for the Bush Administration, its officials might have underestimated the extent of the insurgency in Iraq, but they didn’t make a story out of thin air much less cast blame where it didn’t belong. There is a world of difference between being wrong about something and lying about it.

Even more troubling is that Boot echoes Pelosi’s sentiments about Benghazi being a distraction as well as Maher’s arguments about the political viability of the Benghazi for Republicans albeit far less crudely:

Republicans should focus on the shameful failures of Obama’s defense and foreign policy but Benghazi, in my view, is a distraction from the real issues–and it’s not even likely to help Republicans politically. It certainly did little good for Mitt Romney and I suspect Republicans are now dreaming if they think it will help a GOP nominee defeat Hillary Clinton. I just don’t see much evidence that most Americans–as opposed to Fox News Channel viewers–are focused on, or care about, this issue.

That’s a snide comment about Fox News viewers. Perhaps Boot has forgotten Charles Krauthammer’s famous comment that Fox News’ niche market is half the country. I wonder if Boot wouldn’t view Benghazi as a distraction if the New York Times put it on the front page as often as it did Abu Ghraib. Of course, this would be the same New York Times that in December 2013 tried to advance the Obama narrative that the attacks were motivated by the Internet video and that al Qaeda wasn’t involved.

From where I sit, there is no distraction where it concerns the needless deaths of four Americans and the Obama Administration’s efforts to mislead the public about it. There are few things more important than having a government that protects its people from grievous harm and a government that is honest and forthcoming in its conduct. The Obama Administration has shown itself to be neither and Republicans, as a matter of principle, must draw public attention to it at every opportunity even if it doesn’t yield political dividends. Some things are more important than winning elections.

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About the Author
Aaron Goldstein writes from Boston, Massachusetts.