Payback Politics

One of the odd things about the conservative hysteria over Benghazi and now over Susan Rice’s possible future is how many old axes are being ground. Rush Limbaugh compares the “cover-up” to Watergate and the Iraq WMD scam–two ignominious events for the Right. And now Susan Collins is excavating claims that Rice paid insufficient attention to threats to African embassies back in 1998. As Digby tartly observes:

[Collins] could probably find something a bit more recent than that if she wants to see a great example of government officials ignoring threat assessments. September 11th, 2001 comes to mind.

Just as they convinced themselves that Whitewater was their Watergate, they think Benghazi is their 9/11 commission. I assume they persist in this endless round of idiotic payback politics because it’s just in their nature.

And it’s also in their nature to find rocks to throw at the opposition instead of reflecting on the causes of their 2012 defeat. Gotta keep that base energized, right?

If congressional Republicans keep trying to take new hostages for their participation in fiscal talks–you know, the debt limit, Obamacare–at some point the administration might want to retaliate and say the GOP must call off its Benghazi witch hunt if it expects the president to sit down and negotiate with them. The frantic effort to find a “scandal,” not any actual scandal, is really becoming a major embarrassment to the credibility of the United States.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.