Today, Republicans are wondering why they didn't manage to make Hillary Clinton fall whimpering into a fetal position of the floor of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room, then get up and admit that the Obama administration had engaged in a massive cover-up of their terrible crimes in Benghazi. Senator Ron Johnson, one of the most intellectually challenged members of that august body, with whom Clinton had an exchange that ran on all the news programs, triumphally told a reporter he had got "under her skin," and said, "I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. It was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me." Diabolical indeed, that she managed to evade your skillful cross-examination. John McCain, on the other hand, blamed an "adoring media" for not helping the Republicans stick it to Clinton.
Could be. Or it could be that when you trump up some inane faux outrage over something, and then the person at whom you're directing said outrage actually has a chance to respond directly and decides to call bullshit on you, you don't end up looking too good.
In that exchange with Johnson, he was once again harping on the fact that in the wake of the Benghazi attack the administration had said that there was a copycat protest over that anti-Islamic video, which turned out not to be the case. In frustration, Clinton finally said to Johnson, "The fact is, we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?" What I think she was saying was not so much "What difference does it make what their motivations were?", but "What difference does it make what somebody said on a goddamn TV show?" Because that, you'll remember, is what Republicans have described as the Crime of the Century here, that Susan Rice went on the Sunday shows and repeated some inaccurate information that had been given to her. To hear Republicans tell it, that wasn't just some misleading talking points, it was a conspiracy to fool the American people, a conspiracy so sweeping and sinister that it was literally worse than Watergate. And they just can't understand why all Americans don't agree.
It's one thing to sit down with Sean Hannity and have him agree with you that Rice's appearances on those shows constitute a scandal of epic proportions. But it's quite another to make your absurd claim and then have someone right in front of you, someone with her own authority who knows what she's talking about, tell you what a load of crap you're slinging. That's why they didn't get what they wanted.
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