While digging through the latest “smoking gun” claims of Republicans about an email from White House advisor Ben Rhodes suggesting the Benghazi protests were based on protests over the “Innocence of Muslims” video rather than al Qaeda activity, Slate‘s Dave Weigel gets to a question that, unbelievably, has been rarely asked:

[T]he entire argument is about Rhodes mentioning, hours after the CIA had suggested the Benghazi attack grew out of demonstrations in several countries, that the immediate inspiration for the demonstrations was a video. That’s the scandal—that by giving the video all this credit, the administration was distracting people from the real story that terrorism was surging again. Even though the subsequent 19 months have seen no more attacks on embassies. Even though reporting at the time said the excuse for the protests was said video.

Republicans seem to have forgotten why Benghazi! was supposed to be a big deal in the first place: it showed a feckless, America-hating, Muslim-loving administration so soft on jihadist terrorism that they couldn’t admit it had just happened.

So where did the global conflagration Benghazi! truly signaled go?

The perpetrators of this madness don’t even seem to care.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.