Benghazi, it’s back in the news again as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before a select committee investigating the events of September 11th, 2012. If you lean right, you came away thinking that she was covering up the truth about the attacks and what the folks in the Obama Administration knew and when they knew it. If you lean left, you came away thinking that this was an attack against Secretary Clinton, thereby supporting the claim by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that this was a witch hunt.
Speaking of Representative McCarthy, just why did he make such a claim? It’s no surprise that the more radical elements of the Republican Party have been disappointed with the leadership of Speaker John Boehner and were looking for a change. When former Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his re-election bid to a primary challenger, the line of succession for House leadership had been disrupted. Enter Mr. McCarthy as the new Majority Leader and by virtue of his position, one of the heirs apparent to the Speakership. The only problem with his accession, of course, was the radical wing of the party putting forth its own candidates for the top spot. To the casual observer this looked like a fractured party incapable of governing, so now the question that the leadership had to answer was how to deal with this situation. Apparently, the conclusion they reached was to throw the radicals under the bus.
The statement that issued forth from Mr. McCarthy’s mouth several weeks ago claiming that the Benghazi hearings were a political stunt calculated to discredit Hillary Clinton, was in fact designed to discredit and/or marginalize the more radical elements of his own party and bring them to heel. In the aftermath of what happened though, his chances of becoming Speaker evaporated rather quickly. Too bad, so sad for Mr. McCarthy, or was it? I’m no chess expert, heck, I don’t even know how to play, but there are moves on the chess board where important pieces are strategically sacrificed by one player. The player doing the sacrificing now has the upper hand since only he/she knows what the next moves are going to be and that fosters an element of uncertainty on the part of the opponent. Control of the match is therefore ceded to the sacrificing player. The Republican leadership would be that sacrificing player, which means that there will be more to come on this apparent schism within the Republican Party.
Much has been made of Hillary Clinton’s recently recovered/released emails. In fact, they were the reason that there was such a renewed impetus to continue with the House Select Committee on Benghazi hearings. Sidney Blumenthal had been a longtime Clinton confidant and was one of the people whom Ms. Clinton was in constant communication with when it came to the Middle East. The assertion that he was giving policy recommendations to Ms. Clinton is a little bit of a stretch in my opinion. What has apparently flown under the radar though, is the fact that Mr. Blumenthal was denied a position within the State Department and the Obama Administration. This slight rankled Mr. Blumenthal as evidenced by some of the language he directed at the Administration and its lack of understanding as to how the world really worked. Chairman Gowdy made a point of reading a few of the choice comments Mr. Blumenthal had penned in his emails to then Secretary Clinton.
What’s the big deal, one may ask. The big deal is the fact that Ms. Clinton chose to communicate with an individual who had been persona non grata with her bosses. She chose to do it in a clandestine way via her very own email server. Regardless of what the legality of such an act may entail (that will be determined by the FBI and the Justice Department), she chose to do something that was bound to upset the very people she worked for and with. Like Camp Clinton, Camp Obama has been be none too forgiving of those who have crossed them, and I’m sure that they will find a way to have this play out in the Democratic primaries and possibly even the general election. Whatever tenuous peace that may have existed between the two groups, has been forever shattered and the Democratic Party may not be in that much better shape than their Republican counterparts.
This is definitely going to be an interesting election season, to say the least.