Why Didn’t GOP Blame Clinton First?

There’s a new 46-page report to which five different House committees contributed, about the House GOP’s very favorite subject in the whole wide world: Benghazi! Benghazi! Different news sources deal with the report from slightly different perspectives, but one thing is clear: whether it’s alleged pre-attack “negligence” and rejections of requests for more security measures, or alleged post-attack manipulation of how the whole incident was perceived and reported, the report goes after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with hammer and tongs.

With all this firepower being focused on HRC, it has to make you wonder what might have happened in the initial wave of reactions to the Benghazi killings had the GOP kept its focus on HRC? Instead, they made preventing Susan Rice from becoming HRC’s successor as Secretary of State their obsessive goal, apparently because the president seemed to personally favor Rice. That worked just fine, as an exercise in petty vindictiveness. But now Republicans are looking down the barrel of a Clinton political operation that could crush the GOP’s supposedly brilliant field of 2016 presidential possibilities pretty easily.

I don’t know if the word finally went out to House staffers that they’d better start painting HRC’s portrait into the Benghazi! Benghazi! saga pretty prominently. I do know that doing so earlier, back when Benghazi was a legitimate news topic rather than yet another conspiracy-theory fever swamp for wingnuts, would have been a whole lot more effective.

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.