1. Last night I watched “All The President’s Men,” and found it newly chilling, and disturbingly relevant. At the end of the film, Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards , Jr.) is talking to Woodward and Bernstein—outside his house, because they think it might be bugged—after Woodward has told him that the Watergate cover-up was being orchestrated from the White House (according to Deep Throat). Bradlee says:
“You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a shit. You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up… 15 minutes. Then get your asses back in gear. We’re under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing’s riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I’m going to get mad. Goodnight.”
After more revelations from the Post’s investigative reporters, (and after the action of the movie ends), the Senate began its hearings led by Democratic Senator Sam Ervin. His Republican counterpart, Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, didn’t make speeches about partisan witch hunts (though that was the Nixon White House’s tactic) nor did he denigrate the investigation, nor did he act as a impediment to the process, or waste time gushing over every Republican witness. He did his job in a competent, cooperative, non-partisan manner and sought the truth. Even then, it took a long time to get to it.
At issue was the fact that the nation’s law enforcement and intelligence community appeared to be part of the conspiracy. The attorney general and his predecessor, John Mitchell, were poisonously partisan and refusing to investigate the unfolding scandal. The FBI and the intelligence community could not be trusted; former CIA agents had participated in the Watergate burglary. In the absence of an executive branch that could be trusted to investigate itself and be held to account, the legislative branch, aided by the judiciary, had a solemn obligation to do the job. Fortunately, it did. This was only possible, however, because Republicans didn’t attempt to aide in the cover-up and obstruct the search for justice.
2. Such bi-partisan dedication to the nation over politics was also more possible, not to say it was easy, because Richard Nixon was never popular. He had won a landslide re-election only because the Democratic candidate was far left of the nation (he’d be a conservative to many of today’s Democrats), and obviously unqualified. Barack Obama, in contrast, is unbreakably popular with almost 15% of the population, a key Democratic constituency, due to group identification and little else. This has been sufficient to eviscerate any integrity among Democrats regarding the Benghazi hearings and a lot more.
3. The reason the hearings have dragged out so long, as Chairman Trey Gowdy laid out in prosecutorial fashion in his opening statement, is that the Obama Administration, like the Nixon administration, has been stonewalling, delaying and obstructing justice. The contentious issue of Hillary’s e-mails explains why this is true. The fact that Clinton’s e-mails were hidden on a private server made them unavailable to the investigation, and yet without them, the investigation couldn’t be complete. Why didn’t the State Department make this known before 2015? Why has it dragged its metaphorical feet in producing them so egregiously that a judge had to order it to comply? Why didn’t Clinton comply with a committee subpoena. and why did she destroy “personal” e-mails she knew would be requested before they could be examined by anyone not in her employ? If it looks like a cover-up and quacks like a cover-up, it might well be a cover-up. The committee has a duty to the American public to find out what’s going on. Gowdy also said the the public deserves the truth. Why did Clinton and Obama, as well as their designated liar Susan Rice, continue to tell the news media, the public and even the U.N. that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous uprising sparked by a YouTube video when all the evidence indicated that it wasn’t, including the CIA analysis? It’s obvious why, of course: Obama was running for re-election, so the Administration set out to deceive the public. That alone is worth proving, and if it takes a House investigation to do it, fine. We need to know when the country is being run by liars who set out to manipulate elections. No, what Obama did in this instance isn’t on the same level as Watergate. It would still warrant impeachment, however.
4. Is the investigation partisan? Sure, to some extent. The Watergate, and Iran-Contra, and Whitewater, and all such investigations were partisan in part; that’s one reason the two party system works, or used to. The party out of power is more motivated to investigate shady dealings by the other party than the party engaged in the dealings is, and if something bad is found, the opposing party benefits. The Watergate era Democrats weren’t investigating to get Jimmy Carter elected President (who would want that?), but they knew if the Republican President could be shown to be “a crook” (in Nixon’s words), then it would be “Happy Days Are Here Again!”for Democrats is the next set of elections, and it was. Still, the party whose officials are under suspicion have a duty to seek the truth, not throw up smokescreens to allow the abusers of power to escape. Most Republicans in the House and Senate discharged that duty during Watergate. If there has been a single Democrat who has shown similar integrity regarding Benghazi, please, someone, tell me who it is so I can designate whoever it is as an Ethics Hero.
5. The other reason the Benghazi committee is justified is that unlike Watergate, the news media isn’t doing it’s job. It is largely corrupt and assisting in multiple cover-ups for the Obama Administration. Someone has to fight for the nation’s right to know, now that the news media is an agent of the Democratic Party.
6. Committee Vice-Chair Elijah Cummings, a member of that group that would support President Obama until their dying breath regardless of the circumstances, made a thoroughly partisan statement intended to discredit the inquiry, as he has throughout the investigation. He complained about the time and expense the investigation has required, as if his own active obstruction did not contribute to both greatly. He did not address any substantive issues, the e-mails, the Susan Rice lies. All Cummings did was follow the Clinton scandal strategy plan that is always the same: deny, drag it out, make everyone sick of the issue, and argue that it’s a Republican plot. And, like the plan’s creators, he lied doing it.
7. Cummings repeated the Clintonista taking point that inarticulate boob and GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy “admitted” that the Committee was always just a partisan plot to hurt Clinton’s Presidential aspirations. Here’s what McCarthy said (to Fox’s Sean Hannity, who’s mere presence lowers the IQ of anyone near him:
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable. But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”
That doesn’t confess to anything. If Sam Ervin had said in 1974,
“Richard Nixon had just been re-elected in a landslide. But we put together a Watergate special committee, a select committee. Yesterday he resigned.”
Would you say he “admitted” that the Watergate Committee was a partisan effort to get Richard Nixon?
The Committee discovered that the Secretary of State had improperly and perhaps illegally, definitely incompetently, handled her e-mail in a suspicious manner, and that those e-mails might well contain evidence so far withheld from the investigation. Is it a good thing that this caused Hillary’s poll numbers to drop? It is a good thing any time the public learns that a potential leader is not trustworthy, and yes, if that was the only new information to come out of the investigation, the investigation was worth however much it took. Similarly, the fact the another President of the United States was using his position to get blow-jobs from subordinates and was lying under oath to cover it up more than made us grateful for the Whitewater investigation. That’s what investigations are for: to discover things that the powerful are hiding.. If they are thorough and complete and don’t find anything, that’s valuable too.
8. Then Cummings falsely portrayed Gowdy’ correct command to Republicans who were not serving on hsi committee to shut up about waht they know nothing about as an attempt to prevent “the truth” about the motives of the investigation from coming out. “Charman Gowdy told his colleagues to “shut up,” said Cummings. Talk about deceptive and selective editing: here is what Gowdy actually said:
“Shut up talking about things that you don’t know anything about. And unless you’re on the committee, you have no idea what we have done, why we have done it and what new facts we have found.”
Cummings is shameless. He knows most citizens won’t fact-check his false characterization. This was the performance of a political hack.
9. Then Cummings quoted Republican Presidential candidates, all in campaign mode, to make the case that this is all one big attack on Hillary Clinton. Well, of course they’re using the issue to attack her, that’s their current job. What does Mike Huckabee, who has held no political office for nearly 8 years, have to do with the Benghazi committee? Who cares what he says? Mike Huckabee says that slavery is technically legal. Mike Huckabee thinks the Bible can over-rule the Constitution. At that point, his speech slipped into pure partisan demagoguery.
I’m sure the New York Times will pronounce it immortal oratory.
10. Finally, Hillary gave her statement, my head exploded, and I could only last a little bit longer before turning off the TV and getting an ice cream scoop and a bucket. She actually lectured the Republicans on the Committee, saying,
“We should resist denigrating the patriotism or loyalty of those with who(m) we disagree.”
You know, like calling the opposing party her “enemies” during the Presidential debate.