Looks Like the Benghazi! Panel Will Be All-Republican

You never know for sure if public statements by pols are definitive or just bargaining ploys. But at the moment, it looks like House Democrats have rejected participating in the new Select Committee on Benghazi!, and House Republicans are okay with that.

Here are the key excerpts from Mike Lillis’ report from The Hill:

House Democratic leaders on Friday rejected a Republican proposal designed to entice the minority party into participating in a special investigation of the deadly 2012 attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya.

Although the GOP bill creating the select committee passed the House on Thursday, the offices of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are in talks to define rules that will govern the panel in the face of Democratic allegations that Republicans simply want to embarrass the White House ahead of this year’s elections.

With that in mind, Republicans proposed several overtures on Friday, which were soundly rejected by the Democrats….

“Regrettably, the proposal does not prevent the unacceptable and repeated abuses committed by [Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)] in any meaningful way, and we find it fundamentally unfair,” Pelosi wrote.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said, “The ball is in their court.”

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel suggested the Speaker was done negotiating.

“We made a fair offer,” he said. “We hope they appoint members. At this point, it’s time to get to work.”

The Republican members of the committee held a preliminary meeting Friday afternoon in the Speaker’s office.

You can certainly understand Democratic members declining to hop on a crazy train that may be headed to Impeachment Town. And Republicans can sure put on a smoother production of their “trial” of Obama administration officials if there are no Democrats around to interrupt the proceedings.

Although Judge Gowdy’s show trial will have all the trappings of a formal inquiry, it is important the news media fully internalize its partisan character, and give it precisely no more nor less attention than they would an extravaganza put on by the RNC. After all, if the idea was to make this seem acceptable to people across the aisle, they’ve already failed, and don’t seem at all troubled by it.

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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.