McCain Plants His Flag in the Fever Swamps

It wasn’t that new or surprising, but Sen. John McCain’s insistence on Meet the Press yesterday that the Obama administration was engaged in a “massive coverup” of Benghazi! is an indication that conspiracy-shouting on the subject among Republicans won’t go away any time soon, or perhaps ever.

Now maybe I’m wrong, but it seems any line of inquiry about a past event that consists solely of questions rather than any specific allegations or even suspicions is designed to be eternal. All the semi-legitimate concerns about what happened and why should have been resolved by the State Department’s December report. Does it explain every utterance about the event by administration figures? No, because they really just don’t matter except in terms of some master narrative of Obama knowing the War on Terror is a more urgent priority than ever and deliberately hiding the evidence because he’s soft on Muslims or hates Israel or something.

Perhaps this is just McCain being an angry old guy who can’t let go of anything; he is, after all, about to vote against Chuck Hagel’s confirmation for Secretary of Defense because Hagel won’t admit he was wrong about McCain’s precious Iraq “surge.” But it also illustrates how fiercely today’s Republicans will hold onto any topic that leads into the soggy turf of vague but infamous fears about the 44th president.

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.