The Compulsion to Keep Going Down Rabbit Holes

Until Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the Benghazi! Committee on Thursday is over, I wouldn’t be as confident as TNR’s Brian Beutler–or more accurately, the person at TNR who imposes headlines on Brian’s fine work—that the whole witch-hunt is on the brink of backfiring and may soon be downplayed if not abandoned by embarrassed Republicans. Indeed, it’s instructive that the example of hubris to which this episode is being compared, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, was pursued to the end after the political self-destructiveness associated with it had already been illustrated by extremely rare GOP second-term midterm losses in 1998.

But you do get the sense the same split-screen phenomenon is recurring where Republicans are compelled to keep plunging down the “scandal” rabbit hole even as the rest of the country is tuning out or turning away in disgust. So even if you didn’t know in advance that conservative media are going to treat Thursday’s HRC testimony as a devastating blow to her presidential prospects, it would be a good idea to focus on the reaction, or the lack thereof, elsewhere. And by that I do not mean Ron Fournier.

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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.