With Benghazi Frenzy, GOP Sets Its Sights On Hillary Clinton — In 2016
The Republicans have been up in arms about Benghazi and a “cover up” that they keep insisting on in the wake of the terrible September 11, 2012 event that cost the lives of four Americans, including US. Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens. For some background and the latest on the situation, click here.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings last week and Republicans continue to harp on the changes to talking points that were used in discussions of the incident with the media and Congress. Squarely in their cross hairs is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not only is this situation being used to attempt to damage President Obama, it’s being preemptively used to hurt Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 presidential run. Note the use of the word “possible” because Hillary Clinton hasn’t said that she’s even running. So this is what we’re spending precious government time and resources on. Sigh.
Already, the National Republican National Committee has made a video and used the situation as part of its fundraising efforts. According to The Washington Post, the “Clinton/Benghazi fundraising page made Friday the most trafficked day in the history of its Web site.”
Certainly, when a tragedy of this magnitude happens, it’s worthwhile to investigate, find deficiencies, and solve them, which it looks like Clinton tried to do. The article goes on to say that there are some legitimate questions being asked about what happened before and after the incident. But, as WaPo writes, “the moment Republicans get a little too ambitious in tying Clinton to the issue is the moment that Democrats can credibly say that this is a political operation — as President Obama argued in his press conference Monday.” Seeing the money roll in, and out of persistent fears of their diminishing power, the Republicans can (and probably will, if they haven’t already) go too far.
“The fact is that while Republicans may truly believe Clinton bears some responsibility for what happened on Sept. 11, 2012, and for the administration’s poor public response to it, they still have plenty to prove to the American people in that regard,” The Washington Post says. And before you can prove anything, you have to make people care. A poll from the Pew Research Center finds that only 44 percent are paying attention to the hearings and any of the other activity surrounding the Benghazi investigation. About 40 percent say they believe the Obama administration has been honest; the same amount think they’ve been dishonest.
Moreover, Public Policy Polling research finds that voters trust Hillary Clinton more than they do congressional Republicans. And she has a 52 percent approval rating. Congressional Republicans have a 36 percent approval rating. More than half, 57 percent, view Congressional Republicans unfavorably.
Getting to the truth is one thing, but using this situation for fundraising or political purposes is another. To use David Brock’s words (writing for USA Today), this is looking very much like a “witch hunt.” After the jump, the American Crossroads super PAC attack ad.