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Republicans Punish Their Own For Speaking The Truth

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Republicans Punish Their Own For Speaking The Truth

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“A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” — journalist Michael Kinsley

So another Republican congressman has come forward to admit that his party’s Benghazi obsession is little more than an undisguised effort to damage the presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) defended his colleague, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had acknowledged that obvious truth as well.

“Sometimes the biggest sin you can commit in D.C. is to tell the truth. This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual: Hillary Clinton,” said Hanna.

Well, of course. Anyone who has been paying the slightest attention already knows that the unending series of Benghazi “investigations” began as a way to embarrass the administration of President Barack Obama, including his then-secretary of state. When Clinton announced her presidential campaign, the investigations began to center on her (and are now more focused on her use of a private email server).

If you only dimly recall the origin of the GOP battle cry “Remember Benghazi!” it started with a tragedy. On Sept. 11, 2012, Christopher Stevens, then U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans were killed in separate assaults by Islamic jihadists on U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.

The incident deserved a thorough probe to see whether there was anything that could have been done to prevent the deaths of diplomatic personnel in the future: Was security too lax? Intelligence ignored? The area too dangerous for diplomats?

But in the days after the deaths, it became clear that leading Republicans were much more interested in scoring their own attacks on Democratic targets than investigating the “Battle of Benghazi,” as it has been called. For one thing, they focused on such superficial and unimportant details as whether Susan Rice, then the president’s national security adviser, had clearly described the assault as “terrorism” or merely extremism. It’s not at all clear what difference that makes, but that line of attack derailed any shot she had at succeeding Clinton as secretary of state.

With that, Republicans were emboldened. And they haven’t given up their efforts to sink some notable Democrat with even a tenuous link to Libya and its national security implications.

They’ve not had any luck so far. After seven congressional and two executive-branch investigations, there has been no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, malfeasance or cover-up. The last was an exhaustive probe conducted by the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee; it found no evidence that either the U.S. military or the CIA had acted improperly. There was no delay in sending a military rescue team, as many conservatives have insisted.

So there was no genuine surprise at what McCarthy told Fox News in a September interview:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy told Sean Hannity.

Still, he paid dearly for the slip. Criticized by Republican leaders for dropping the gauzy veil over their nakedly partisan smear campaign, he was forced to abandon his plan to succeed John Boehner as speaker of the house.

McCarthy was supposed to keep up the pretense that the House Select Committee on Benghazi is conducting a high-minded probe free of partisan tilt. And that pretense continues. Clinton will appear before the committee later this month.

If there is any better example of the excessive and stultifying partisanship that has laid waste to Washington, it’s hard to know what that may be. After all, it can hardly be considered shocking that an American diplomat was killed in a dangerous country full of Islamic militants. Tragic, gut-wrenching, awful, yes. Shocking, no.

Still, the GOP’s listing and rudderless Benghazi ship — white whale on the horizon — sails on.

(Cynthia Tucker Haynes won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.)

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Cynthia Tucker Haynes

Cynthia Tucker Haynes, a veteran newspaper journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, is a Visiting Professor of Journalism and Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Georgia. She is also a highly-regarded commentator on TV and radio news shows.

Haynes was editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper for 17 years, where she led the development of opinion policy. More recently, she was that newspaper’s Washington-based political columnist. She maintains a syndicated column through Universal Press Syndicate, which is published in dozens of newspapers around the country. Besides winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, Haynes has also received numerous other awards, including Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists.

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49 Comments

  1. Dominick Vila October 17, 2015

    Lack of party discipline, and absolutely ideological loyalty, is tantamount to sacrilege in the Republican party. That, by the way, is one of the most important differences between the two parties, and one of the reasons the GOP wins elections. Add to those “attributes” the fact that they are always motivated, and vote in higher numbers than Democrats do, and it is not too difficult to understand why they have such a large majority in the House, and managed to get control of the Senate. Needless to say, an outstanding propaganda machine, highly effective gerrymandering, and an inexhaustible flow of financial contributions by the elite pave the way to political success.

    Reply
    1. Buford2k11 October 17, 2015

      and now we are headed down the path of Voter Suppression, to compliment their other strategies…

      Reply
    2. Matforce October 17, 2015

      The GOP’s house of cards message base on their false narrative about trickle down prosperity for all USA citizens, and the demonizing of the Big Bad Government, which amounts to: “Just lay down your only defense against the looming Oligarchy, and it will all go well for you…” depends on its core principles to be shielded from public view by their disingenuous rhetoric.

      What, you ask, are their core principles? Simply put: advantage for the millionaires and billionaires, while they wring all they can from unsuspecting middle class workers (aka: consumers), feeling no need to put anything back into same middle class consumer (except maybe easy credit that benefits the banks and keeps consumption of products and services up), along with a paramount emphasis on Wall Street and corporate profit margins that fuel the markets.

      Who knew that putting all your eggs in the basket of corporate and Wall Street gains would eventually lead to the decline of the middle class consumer and hence, demand for products and services? A veritable house of cards!

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila October 17, 2015

        I think there are three major forces at play within the GOP.
        One is the dwindling establishment, backed by a very nervous elite. They favor traditional conservative politics of the kind that were in place when Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower were in office. They are convinced that the key to economic and job growth depends strictly on how supportive the government is at all levels. Their solution ranges from large tax breaks and subsidies to private enterprise, to the elimination of organized labor, under the belief that profitable and prosperous businesses will hire and retain workers. Trickle down economics. This group understands that compromise is essential to incremental political gains.
        Another major group is represented by the early Tea Party group, whose idea of economic might and prosperity depends on austerity. To accomplish their goal, and promote public sector investment, this group believes that the key to fiscal solvency and economic growth depends on a balanced budget and national debt reduction. Their solution is a combination of more tax breaks to the business community, and privatization or repeal of social programs. Their approach is an uncompromising political agenda. No deals. No political compromise. No RINOs.
        The third group is the Dixiecrats and Bible Belt evangelicals. For them, what matters ranges from banning abortion, to rolling back Civil Rights (The interpretation of Take Back America in the Northeast means something entirely different in the land of Dixie), to preventing the destruction of Christianity at the hands of evil liberals, to the need to incinerate every Muslim – and the few commies that still exist – to prevent sharia Law and pave the way for the Second Coming of the Lord.
        Judging by polls, which I take with a grain of salt, it looks like the GOP establishment is in full retreat, and that many of its members are throwing in the towel and leaving politics in disgust.
        What remains is a major political battle between Tea Party economic zealots, and religious zealots; and politicians desperate to please both groups to achieve their personal and professional goals.

        Reply
        1. Matforce October 17, 2015

          So well stated, Vila! Explains the ramifications that necessitate the disingenuous rhetoric emanating from the tangled web that is the right wing message laced with lies and half-truths. Thus, has the GOP defiled itself. A balancing act (circus) consuming them, and requiring they double down on the false narrative to preserve the façade of veracity…

          Reply
  2. rednekokie October 17, 2015

    They lost my vote some 35 years ago, and have done nothing since to regain it.
    The sad thing (for them) is – that they don’t even realize they have lost not only mine,
    but millions of other Americans, as well.
    It truly is the party of discontent. And well on its way to completely wrecking our society.

    Reply
    1. Cloudherder October 17, 2015

      On it’s way? I would say they’ve been there, done that … And are going to get a whole lot worse if the next President is a republican.

      Reply
  3. Bren Frowick October 17, 2015

    Oh, but one can feel certain that after a ten-day recess to do some soul-searching, town hall meetings with constituents, conferring with their advisers, and generally regrouping, they will come back to Washington reenergized, fired up, and ready to…. keep on doing the same damn fool things…

    Reply
    1. Matforce October 17, 2015

      Advisers? Do you mean their leagues of lobbyist from the corporate and financial sectors and their teams of business lawyers and “experts?”

      Reply
  4. Eleanore Whitaker October 17, 2015

    So let’s see if I’ve got this right. The tyrant Republicans lie, lie, lie and when they are outed by one of their own for being truthful that makes us want them elected?

    How in the name of all that is holy can anyone EVER trust a liar? Liars can’t be trusted. The bigger the lie, the less they can be trusted.

    Chaffetz got away with using a bogus edited video and then called on women for his Planned Parenthood investigation to slather the “I Had an Abortion” gory details just to insure that these MEN get their rocks off defunding PP?

    A lie based on lies and Chaffetz gets away with that? In a federal investigation? Did the US Constitution change that right of innocence until proven guilty and “innocent” when all of the lies used to label guilt is totally bogus? Innocent men have gone to prison for lies. Now, the GOP is proving what a bunch of liars they are.

    Don’t wonder why their party is in the toilet.

    Reply
    1. @HawaiianTater October 17, 2015

      They trust the liars because they believe the lies. Facts have no particular bearing on these kinds of people. They believe what they want to believe and if the liars are telling them what they want to hear, that’s who they trust.

      Reply
    2. The lucky one October 17, 2015

      I agree with your other points as well and hope that “How in the name of all that is holy can anyone EVER trust a liar? Liars can’t be trusted. The bigger the lie, the less they can be trusted.” will lead you to reconsider your support of HRC. Sanders is the best hope we have for true leader as pres.

      Reply
      1. greenlantern1 October 17, 2015

        Remember Nixon?
        Remember his party?

        Reply
        1. The lucky one October 17, 2015

          Yes and what is your point? I intend to vote for Sanders.

          Reply
          1. greenlantern1 October 19, 2015

            Our ONLY, convicted, attorney-general was Nixon’s first, John Mitchell!
            Our ONLY VP, to enter a plea bargain, was Nixon’s first, Spiro Agnew!
            Our ONLY president, to receive a pardon, was Nixon!
            Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, erased the Watergate Tapes!
            Continue?

            Reply
          2. The lucky one October 19, 2015

            What is your point? Are you implying that Sanders is connected to Nixon or that he is a closet Republican? I’ve never voted for a republican for president and with the group of clowns in the race now won’t be this time. Maybe you didn’t read all of my previous post. I’M VOTING FOR SANDERS!!!

            Reply
          3. greenlantern1 October 19, 2015

            Wise choice!!
            I voted for Hillary in the primaries before and will do so again.
            Nevertheless, when she lost to Obama, I voted for him.
            Should Sanders win the nomination, I will vote for Sanders!

            Reply
          4. The lucky one October 19, 2015

            Although I have seen very few Republicans in the past 50 years worthy of voting for I don’t vote party line. If Sanders is on the ballot he has my vote. If not then I will likely vote for Jill Stein. HRC is preferable to Repubs on social issues but no significant difference on foreign affairs, the economy or climate.

            Reply
      2. Cloudherder October 17, 2015

        So tell me, what did Hillary lie about, that isn’t GOP propaganda?

        Reply
        1. The lucky one October 18, 2015

          I’ll just give you one example, an important one I believe,
          and then you can do your own due diligence. In the debate she was asked about her flip on the TPP given that she had referred to it as THE gold standard for trade agreements. She lied and said she had only stated that she HOPED it would be the gold standard. In fact she had called it THE gold standard. It is only
          one word but it makes a huge difference. You can check politifact for more examples. I agree that the GOP has floated a lot of negative propaganda about HRC. Some is exaggerated and some is false but some of it is accurate. Also like her GOP counterparts she deals mostly in generalities and platitudes
          without enough substance to be labeled true or false.

          Reply
        2. David October 18, 2015

          Let’s see….
          Whitewater;
          Vince Foster;
          Bimbo Control;
          Sniper fire in Bosnia;
          Movie causing attack in Benghazi;
          Emails;
          ad nauseum

          Reply
          1. John Murchison October 19, 2015

            Everyone of these are manifactured scandals. All they proved is that enough invented muck still stains. I think, though, that this latest faux scandal finally has people wondering if any of these things are not much more than one big smear campaign sponsored by deep pocket conservatives with an ax to grind.

            Reply
        3. John Murchison October 19, 2015

          No fair! You’re using logic! Cheers.

          Reply
      3. David October 18, 2015

        That’s why we trust Hillary!

        Reply
  5. Polana October 17, 2015

    If my memory serves me right Under Bushie the cushie or Decider we had 10 or 11 terrorist attack against US Consulate (less guarded than Embassies) and Embassies( fully Guarded by marines). Was there any investigations why, who ???NONE.
    Obviously the other people lives didn’t matter to them i t was on their watch.
    Funny thing is – all the participants including journalists who asks stupid, rude questions that has no substance and the hapless wanna be President succumb like lambs to such demeaning treatment. They all already trained and rehearsed for their role. ALL is scripted…….. They All hope that this exposure gives them more TV time, sway gullible, stupid voters with clever that’s what U like to hear ( or your way of thinking) answers, that most of them make a living out of dishing out such stupid answers.
    All these staged shows that Republicans keeping up with emptiness, no substance and me better than U attitude, and the Press is always looking for the Breaking News story, so they can make zillions of dollars at the expense of the nation.
    In my opinion all the debates is nothing but a charade and a cash cow for Media and brain washing for the gullible, naive and I,want the piece of pie. They will be happy with the crumbs swept of the floor. The party might be going to the toilet but light s$$$t always flows to the top, unless U have a good pressure and a finger on the handle long enough to flush it. Unfortunately not many like clean, fully flush able toilets.
    They talk about term limits laws etc. We don’t need term limits, Your VOTE is the TERM LIMIT.

    Reply
    1. Matforce October 17, 2015

      There was once a time in recent USA history when acts of aggression served to unite us and weren’t used as a political wedge to divide, demonize and infuriate

      Not sure what began us down this rhetorical slime slope, maybe it was the deeply resented Michael Moore film, Fahrenheit 9/11, but Republicans sure have perfected the art of deceptive, divisive rhetoric. These guys would make Joseph Goebbels blush!

      Reply
      1. John Murchison October 19, 2015

        The art of propaganda was brought to a whole new level under the GOP.

        Reply
    2. Insinnergy October 18, 2015

      The best part is the relentless fundraising that the Republicans have done deliberately and specifically using Benghazi, including the RNC. There are example of the emails sent out all over the place: “Don’t let Hillary get away with the Benghazi coverup! Support us now”.
      Not only are they politicising the death of Americans for partisan gain, but they are making money off it, too. Sick.
      I hope Ambassador Steven’s family gets a cut…

      Reply
      1. John Murchison October 19, 2015

        A sick use of murdered Americans who served the Country.

        Reply
      2. Polana October 19, 2015

        Not in your life. I am surprised though that the families not speaking out to stop the exploitation of their loved ones deaths. They ALL belong to Hall of Shame.

        Reply
  6. atc333 October 17, 2015

    Why are you still a Republican? Isn’t it to reevaluate?

    Reply
    1. David October 17, 2015

      Uhhh….because I have a brain — that works!

      Reply
      1. @HawaiianTater October 17, 2015

        Republicans have working brains and never let anyone tell you otherwise. It takes an impressive amount of imagination to live in the fantasy land that Republicans inhabit. Anyone who says they don’t have a brain is clearly wrong.

        Reply
        1. dgj October 17, 2015

          That kind of imagination puts Alice in Wonderland to shame! It is just difficult for people that use facts to fathom sometimes.

          Reply
          1. StarWars Fan January 25, 2016

            “We have not been under Keynesian economic theory for about 35 years now. We have been under the Austrian school of economic theory since Reagan and Thatcher. That is why Keynesianism has failed in your eyes and in the eyes of many others. That is why we desperately need to revisit it before it is too late to save our democracy.”
            Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The only way you could believe that is if you’ve been living under a rock for the past 40 years! Total bullshit. Yes Keynesianism was slightly minimized during the Reagan era, but government still grew and so did government spending. That’s still keynesian. We’ve been under hardcore keynesianism since Bush Sr. Bush Jr. wasn’t a conservative or individualist, he was a progressive who gave the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan to print lots of $$$$$$. Honestly I don’t know if we’ve ever been under Austrianism.

            Reply
      2. JPHALL October 17, 2015

        BUT IIT DOESN’T ACCEPT REALITY! It must be nice to live in a fantasy world.

        Reply
      3. browninghipower October 17, 2015

        Doubt it, Festus.

        Reply
      4. Insinnergy October 18, 2015

        That I doubt very much.
        Have a blessed day.

        Reply
    2. greenlantern1 October 17, 2015

      I USED to be a Republican.
      Nixon cured me.

      Reply
      1. Matforce October 17, 2015

        Filibustered Senate Bill S3816 cured me.

        Reply
  7. pmbalele October 17, 2015

    I hope you read my posting on Benghazi. FoxNews and especially Bill O’rielly should be held accountable for dramatizing Benghazi. I know it was awful we lost diplomats in Libya. Benghazi issue has cost millions of tax-payers money to investigate a none-issue. These Repubs and TPs have been brain-washed by Bill O’rielly. It was after Bill O shouted about Benghazi-Benghazi-Benghazi that Repubs and TPs in Congress jumped on Benghazi. For days and days FoxNews repeated the Benghazi issue. There was no legitimate reason to pursue Benghazi tragedy other than to attack Obama administration and to tarnish Hillary clean record. But as I have said, people away from home – tourists and diplomats are subject to be held captives and even killed by host countries villains. That is why we should have armed guards at embassies. There are countries in this world whose people do not value human life and especially when it comes to their religion. I have no idea how and why people get so obsessed with religion when everybody is eligible for heaven. Those who killed the diplomats should stand trial. I have recommended the relatives of Benghazi victims to sue Bill O’rielly and FoxNews for reminding them of their loved ones. Would Bill Orielly like to be reminded of his dead father? No. Further, somebody should sue these morons in Congress who have wasted tax money pursuing Benghazi for political gains. No doubt Trump calls Repubs and TPs in Congress as stupid people.

    Reply
    1. bandit October 20, 2015

      Pure Exrement ! As expected.

      Reply
      1. pmbalele October 20, 2015

        That is all you could say! Flesh your posting

        Reply
        1. bandit October 20, 2015

          Nuf said . What part don’t you understand .

          Reply
          1. boB October 26, 2015

            It isn’t that we don’t understand your comment, it’s that your comment has no content.

            Reply
          2. bandit October 26, 2015

            Neither does your skull .

            Reply
          3. boB October 26, 2015

            Wow, what a reasoned and well articulated argument. I’m convinced.

            Reply
          4. bandit October 26, 2015

            Your Welcome .

            Reply
  8. greenlantern1 October 17, 2015

    Pastor [?] Terry Jones has already been tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the murders at Benghazi!
    When is his e-mail going to be asked for?
    Rush Limbaugh CLAIMS to have stand cables.
    Where are they?
    Perfectly clear?

    Reply

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