The right has directed most of its anger over the handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack at President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice, but when lefty blogger Martin Longman reflects on reactions to Benghazi, he thinks of a different villain: Mitt Romney.
In a Saturday post for the Washington Monthly web site, Longman recalls that a few days after the attack, he was "seething about Romney’s behavior" re Benghazi, and that within three weeks, he "was in disbelief that the Romney campaign was chortling with glee at the death of four Americans."
Longman writes that after Candy Crowley's interjection in the second Obama-Romney debate, conservatives "should have just hung their heads in shame that they had tried to exploit the death of four Americans," but they learned nothing, and now "Republicans’ behavior on Benghazi! [sic] has turned the very word into a punch line."
Another liberal blogger, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, endorses Longman's analysis: "If you want to understand the origins of Benghazi fever in the fever swamps of the right, I think he has it right. It was basically born out of shame at the initial conservative reaction to the attacks combined with rage that they finally got called on their vile behavior, which ended up helping Obama win reelection."
From Longman's post (emphasis added):
The day after the September 11, 2012 attacks on our compounds in Benghazi!, I was very irritated. I was very angry with the mob that stormed our consulate and killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. But I was also really appalled by the behavior of Mitt Romney...
By September 15th, I was seething about Romney’s behavior, calling him a “taunting jerk who lacked all sense of “dignity or decorum.” By October 1st, I was in disbelief that the Romney campaign was chortling with glee at the death of four Americans and predicted that they would get the taste slapped out of their mouths if they continued to politicize the tragedy.
And then came the “Please proceed, governor,” moment in the second debate when moderator Candy Crowley called Romney a lying liar and Obama just sat there drinking in the “the sweet sweet nector of Mitt’s humiliation.”
That should have been the end of it. The right should have just hung their heads in shame that they had tried to exploit the death of four Americans. But that isn’t what happened, is it?
Instead, they decided to make Benghazi! for the Republican Party what the original 9/11 attacks were for Rudy Giuliani: “There’s only three things they mention in a sentence — a noun, a verb, and Benghazi!”
And, now, they try to turn the tables on us and accuse us of being insensitive about these four men’s deaths...
Sadly, the Republicans’ behavior on Benghazi! has turned the very word into a punch line. But the seeds of this outcome were evident even before the fires were put out at the consulate, when Mitt Romney couldn’t wait even a few hours to publicly accuse the State Department of apologizing to the people who murdered Ambassador Stevens.