Benghazi bonanza: Raising campaign cash off four dead Americans

     

    I had mistakenly assumed that this week’s hilarity highlight would be the wordplay between Bryan Cranston and Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. But those guys were trumped by the House Republicans, who demonstrated yesterday, yet again, that their Benghazi fixation puts them in touch with their inner goofball.

    Seriously, when it comes to the Benghazi issue – or should I say “issue” – they take more pratfalls than Kramer ever did on Seinfeld.

    Benghazi is boffo again, supposedly because of some newly released email message that says something or other (Fox News deemed it so important, it put two blondettes on camera to call it a “smoking gun”). Accordingly, the House Republicans have now created a special Benghazi “select committee” to get to the bottom of things once and for all, to conflate it into Watergate and somehow use it against Hillary.

    Anyway, yesterday morning, select committee chairman Trey Gowdy surfaced on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and vowed that the new probe would be fair, factual, credible, judicious, dignified, and substantive – a probe that “transcends politics.” Because, the congressman said, “even in a culture of hyperpartisanship, (there are) certain things that ought to be above politics, like the murder of our four fellow Americans.”

    So when Gowdy was asked whether his colleagues should therefore refrain from invoking Benghazi for the purpose of raising money, he replied: “Yes, and I will cite myself as an example. I have never sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans.”

    But 30 minutes before Gowdy made that remark, the national GOP sent out an email blast trumpeting its new political mission – to raise buckets of campaign money on the backs of four murdered Americans.

    Trey Gowdy, meet Homer Simpson:  “D’oh!”

    Folks, the National Republican Congressional Committee (which touts House candidates) stands ready to monetize your Benghazi outrage, to leverage those dead Americans for campaign lucre. “You’re now a Benghazi watchdog,” the email declares, and all watchdogs are invited to donate anywhere from $25 to $500 to the party kitty – or way more if you want. Get out your checkbook.

    Well. You can just imagine Gowdy’s embarrassment. He has yet to even pound a gavel, and already his hyperpartisan colleagues are tying his shoelaces together. They just can’t help themselves (this is who they are), although Gowdy certainly wishes otherwise. Yesterday afternoon, he went on CNN and pleaded: “I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi. I also advise my colleagues to follow suit.”

    Yeah, good luck with that advice.

    How can Gowdy possibly expect his colleagues to refrain from playing politics, when in fact the renewed Benghazi fixation is all about politics? It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots. The midterm elections are looming; Republicans want to ensure a big turnout from The Base; Benghazi (as in, “It’s all Obama’s and Hillary’s fault”) is catnip for The Base.

    That’s all that matters. So what if the House Republicans have already conducted 13 hearings and examined 25,000 pages of documents? So what if there have already been 50 briefings? So what if Hillary, in her capacity as Secretary of State, has already accepted responsibility? So what if the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has already refuted the GOP’s claims of Obama administration weakness? So what if Benghazi investigator Thomas Pickering, a three-time ambassador under Ronald Reagan, has already mocked the GOP’s claim of a coverup when he said that “the notion of a quote ‘coverup’ has all the elements of Pulitzer Prize fiction”? None of that matters, because it’s election season.

    Gee, if only the House Republicans had been remotely this vigilant during the Iraq war. If only they had demanded over a span of 13 hearings that Bush and Cheney be held accountable for a major war launched on the basis of phony evidence. If the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi are indeed unacceptable, then surely the deaths of 4,486 Americans in Iraq should’ve prompted similar Republican outrage. But those deaths never did, which is why House Republicans aren’t taken seriously now. They forfeited their credibility long ago.

    So no matter how well Trey Gowdy conducts his select committee hearings, we all know what’s really going on – as does he. There’s campaign moolah to be made off those four dead Americans, and operators are standing by.

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    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

     

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