Back to Benghazi!–and Maybe Vince Foster

In a long, fascinating Dave Weigel article about the Clinton email “scandal” beginning to assume the familiar outlines of so many conservatives-versus-the-Clintons brouhahas of the past, it’s made clear that Democrats are less worried every minute about the issue, while Republicans are dragging it into the fantasy-world of their other Clinton obsessions. It’s telling that even Bernie Sanders, who is seriously thinking about challenging HRC for the 2016 presidential nomination, dismisses the email “scandal” impatiently.

In some reports, the Democrats have been portrayed as dodging questions about the Clinton story because they are not “rushing to defend her.” There certainly are Democrats, some with rooting interests in Clinton rivals, who are speculating that the e-mail story could wound her 2016 presidential campaign. Yet in Congress, the consensus of many Democrats was that this was just the latest story in a running campaign to discredit a politician who had survived worse.

And the more Democrats disdain the “story,” the more the most disreputable Republicans embrace it. Weigel notes that two of the groups leaping into it avidly are Citizens United and Judicial Watch:

Citizens United is run by David Bossie, who founded the group after years as a congressional investigator into the Whitewater and Clinton finance scandals. Judicial Watch was more or less founded to file lawsuits against the Clinton administration.

But whatever their original motivations, there’s not much question Republicans are driven like candle-moths to the possibility the emails will give them fresh justification to pursue their precious: the shimmering fool’s gold of Benghazi! Even Lindsey Graham, who as a former Clinton impeachment manager should recognize the symptoms of derangement, cannot stop going there:

Graham’s long experience let him watch the Clintons face similar quandaries, fight back, and—with the strong support of Democrats—move past the scandal.

“The difference this time is that there are four dead Americans,” said Graham. “It’s not about money, it’s not about, you know, personal misbehavior. It’s about responsibility. It’s about four dead Americans.”

Might as well drag in another dead American, Vince Foster.

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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.