Why do they always do this?
“Thank you, Sen. Reed, for your comments. You can stop spinning now.”
Republicans, Democrats—why? Why do they think, when they are caught in an obvious example of misconduct, it is smarter and more useful—it certainly isn’t honest, courageous or ethical—not to simply confess and apologize, even if it’s with hardly an ennobling statement no better than, “You got us. Yeah, we were lying. That was wrong. Sorry,’” rather than continue to lie? The now ridiculous contortions of Democrats (and their knee-jerk supporters in the public and the media, but forget about them, for they are merely pathetic) are doing independent harm, because they destroy trust in government generally, and that, for a democratic republic, is potentially fatal.
Way back in September, when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice disgraced herself by going on five Sunday talk-shows and stating with deceitful certitude ( “our current best assessment”…”we believe”) that the deadly attack on the U.S. outpost in Libya was solely the result of spontaneous outrage on the part of extremists over a video, and not an organized terrorist attack, critics said that the Administration was covering up what really happened, and lying about what they knew. The accusation was shouted down and indeed ridiculed by Administration officials, Democrats in Congress, and the Obama-promoting media (it was in the middle of an election campaign) as a partisan smear, but in fact the critics, partisan though they were, were right. Rice was disseminating disinformation. The Administration and its State Department were intentionally blaming a video when they knew better. Why is another story: conservative pundits believe it was to avoid having to admit, mid-campaign, that the signature accomplishment of the President’s term, killing Osama bin Laden and supposedly crushing al Qaida, was not quite the complete victory the Democrats were claiming. If that was the reason, it was a stupid reason, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen that way. Hiding inconvenient facts before an election is despicable, but lying to the public and the world is serious enough, whatever its motive.
When she was questioned in Congress about the misleading descriptions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signaled that the Administration was in cover-up mode, both by lying outright (“I did not say … that it was about the video for Libya.”) and making her infamous and ethically indefensible statement, ”With all due respect, 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 to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?” Now, thanks to multiple revelations, the testimony of whistle-blowers, and newly released e-mails, there is no question that Clinton’s State Department took the lead in scrubbing the CIA talking points that immediately attributed the attack in Benghazi to identifiable terrorist elements connected to al Qaida, and not a spontaneous demonstration against the video. Not only are the Administration’s defenders refusing to admit that what happened happened, they are recycling old tactics from other scandals to do it, which if nothing else is lazy and boring:
- “This is old news.” Or, as (Liberal! Obama-loving!) NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd termed it, “It’s not true, it’s not true, it’s not true, it’s old news.” Dowd also correctly identified this as a classic from the Bill Clinton playbook, used for too many bona fide scandals to list. Continue reading