Bozell & Graham Column: Benghazi and 'Untrustable' Hillary

October 20th, 2015 10:48 PM

Kevin McCarthy was factually right – if grammatically and politically wrong – when he told Sean Hannity that the House’s Benghazi committee demonstrated Hillary Clinton was “untrustable.” The Hillary-pleasers in the media like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell almost glowed as they proclaimed McCarthy had offered a “political lifeline” to Mrs. Clinton by admitting to a political agenda to get at her using that tragedy.

The Democrats have pushed heavily on the narrative that the House probe is transparently political – as if everything they say about Hillary is transparently...nonpartisan? So much of the Hillary spin  from the media-Democrat complex simply repeats the scandal gamesmanship of the Clinton years, like a zombie doing the Macarena. Let’s recall all the old moves:

1. Lamenting the length of the investigation. ABC relayed “the House Select Committee on Benghazi has been active for 72 weeks -- surpassing the Watergate Committee's activity in the 1970's.” In part, that’s because Richard Nixon shortened the timeline by resigning. It’s also because the Clintons love dragging out the length of probes by lying and withholding evidence (see Lewinsky), then shamelessly declaring it’s all “old news.”

2. Lamenting the cost of the investigation. "What a poor use of taxpayers’ money!" they say. The lying and delays also add to the cost of investigations, just as they did during the Thompson hearings into the 1996 Clinton campaign’s acceptance of illegal contributions from Chinese donors. Peter Jennings set the table then: "When we come back, two investigations of fundraising abuse, two of them on Capitol Hill. Is it a waste of time and money?"

Is there anything more ludicrous than the manufacturers of a double-digit, trillion-dollar debt complaining about $4 million on congressional oversight? Judicial Watch reported the Obamas spent $7.7 million in flight expenses alone on their 2013 Christmas vacation. Did anyone in the media care?  

3. Crying vast right-wing conspiracy. James Carville, the most obvious example of the Nineties spin zombie, went on MSNBC to say “this committee was nothing but a creation of Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers.” Apparently, Republican congressman Trey Gowdy is a tool of the “climate denial industry” that wants the Clintons ruined.  Carville offered all the gravitas and finesse of people wandering through the park telling people the CIA listens to them through their dental fillings. But MSNBC still puts him on TV.

4. Predicting Republican overreach. A corollary of the conspiracy talk is the constant suggestion that the GOP will only damage itself by asking these nagging questions and  is far too desperate to win elections by exploiting “phony” scandals at the expense of “substance” or the “real issues” of government policy. This creates a very strange impression that questioning government corruption or stonewalling is by definition not substantive or constructive. It’s always a “distraction” least when Democrats are in power.

This was at the root of Democrats cheering as Bernie Sanders came to Hillary’s defense on being sick of the subject of her “damn e-mails.” We should be focusing on income inequality and climate change...and not whether Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server is being hacked by the Russians and the Chinese. That concern would not be “substantive”?

The one consistent media line on Benghazi is that exploring it was “political” immediately after it happened on September 11, 2012, and it’s still “political” to explore it in 2015 and 2016. As long as the Clintons stay active in politics, their scandals will continue, as will the damage control.