Poor Hillary. First she had to back off the statement that she and Bill were almost penniless when they left the White House. (And what about the tens of millions they’ve made since?) Then, on Monday night, Diane Sawyer of ABC took her on about the 9-11-2012 attacks in Benghazi.
Clinton’s performance was sharp and hard-nosed. She failed in her effort to emulate Obama’s “I wasn’t there, I didn’t do it and I’m shocked and angered” standard defense because she has all the charm of a rusty hammer. What we saw was a presidential candidate fending off an attack from a network that heretofore was her ally and protector.
The segment began with films of the Benghazi diplomatic outpost and asked us to imagine what Ambassador Chris Stevens thought as he saw the armed terrorist gang approach. Sawyer showed a video clip of Stevens passionately arguing for a better Libyan future. And then she asked Clinton about the final entry in Stevens’s diary in which he wrote, as shown on camera, of “never ending security threats.”
When Sawyer began to ask about Stevens’s presence in Benghazi, Clinton interrupted to say he was there “of his own choosing,” trying to shift blame for his death from herself to the dead ambassador. When Sawyer countered that Clinton wanted a post there, Clinton tried to deflect the question by saying that it was important to have diplomatic assets there.
But why was it important? Clinton never said. What she did was try, unsuccessfully, to deflect the issue again by saying there was a long list of American facilities abroad under threat. When Sawyer tried to tie her down, Clinton wouldn’t even concede that the Benghazi diplomatic post was one of the top risks, and then admitted that maybe it was in the top ten under threat.
Sawyer reminded her that there had been at least two attacks on the Benghazi diplomatic outpost before 9-11-12 and that both the Red Cross and the British government had pulled out of Benghazi because of the high threat level.
Clinton said, “There were places where we had much higher concern.” Seriously? If we’re talking “top tens,” that is one of the Top Ten lies in Clinton’s interview.
According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on Benghazi, which Bob Tyrrell and I wrote about in the March issue of TAS, there were about ten terrorist camps inside the city of Benghazi at the time of the attacks. Which of our facilities could have faced a plainer or more serious threat? The fact that Clinton allowed Stevens to even be in Benghazi — without military assets including combat aircraft alerted to protect him — when those camps were active was tantamount to abandoning him to the terrorists.
Clinton said that the diplomatic security force supposedly there to protect Stevens “performed heroically” during the attacks. Really? The SSCI report said that the diplomatic security team failed to fire a single shot that night. Rep. Trey Gowdy’s select committee investigating the Benghazi attacks needs to get the sworn testimony of the diplomatic security personnel to find out why there wasn’t a pile of dead jihadis in front of the “safe room” where Stevens suffocated to death after the terrorists set fire to the building.
Clinton never wavers. She’s spinning a fable worthy of Uncle Remus and she sticks to it.
It gets worse when Sawyer tries to get Clinton to take responsibility for something, anything, that led up to the attacks. Sawyer asks Clinton if the American people were looking for some acceptance of responsibility, a sentence beginning with the words, “I should have…” In her answer, I heard Bubba’s voice, not hers. She says, “I take responsibility but I was not making security decisions.” That’s “taking responsibility” just like she and Bubba did on Whitewater.
Clinton even refuses to recant her infamous “What difference does it make?” statement in congressional testimony. When Sawyer starts to ask whether the Benghazi attacks are a reason she shouldn’t run for president, Clinton interrupts again to say that it’s more of a reason to run than not.
Like Obama, both Clintons see things only in terms of political gain or loss. When they add Benghazi to the roll call of earlier Clinton scandals — the failure of the “reset” with Russia, the military intervention in Libya, not to mention those that occurred when she was Bill’s “co-president,” Whitewater, the death of Vince Foster, Webb Hubbell’s fraud, and Bill’s failure to kill bin Laden when we had a clear shot at him — the Clintons see no obstacle to another Clinton being elected president.
We’ve endured more than twenty years of the Clintons, including eight years of his presidency and about a decade of her being a senator and then secretary of state. I remember clearly the day that MoveOn.org’s ad appeared in the New York Times with the headline, “Petraeus Betray Us.” And the hearing a day or so after in which Hillary told Gen. Petraeus that his reports from Iraq and Senate testimony required a “suspension of disbelief.” Enough.
Anyone who doubts Hillary will run for president is dreaming. That’s not to say that she will win or even be nominated. I think Rush Limbaugh is right. The Dems are more likely to find a candidate who is younger, more attractive to voters, and doesn’t have the trainloads of baggage Hillary has to pull everywhere she goes. But their bench isn’t deep. They’ll choose Hillary over Biden and probably a bunch of others.
She has had no success anywhere in life. Not as Bill’s wife, defending him from the constant bimbo eruptions. Not as a senator, not as secretary of state. But that’s not to say she can’t be nominated or that she won’t win the 2016 election. There’s a great political machine the Clintons have built that will be well financed even in the terms of the billion-dollar campaigns Obama has run. And there’s always the likelihood that the Republicans will nominate another Dole/McCain/Romney that the American people will reject.
And the optimist in me is confident that the Dems will nominate someone who is as bad for the nation as Obama, even if it’s not Hillary.