I spent the better part of yesterday watching Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Benghazi Committee.
Yes, I admit that I have no life…but yesterday's hearing was like a multi-car pileup. It’s really bad…and you don’t want to look…but somehow you can’t seem to turn away.
Let me start by saying that I am not an avid fan of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In my view she has spent the better part of her career treading a fine line between serving her country and serving her own self interests. Her decision to ignore 2009 administration regulations and use a personal email address to conduct sensitive state department business was as self-serving as it was reckless. Her decision to archive those emails on a personal server in her home was in my opinion the result of an unhealthy paranoia about personal privacy and a well thought out plan to avoid any freedom of information inquiries that were certain to come in the future.
That said, words cannot describe the rude, spiteful disrespectful and embarrassing manner in which she was treated by the Republican members of the Benghazi Committee.
For eleven hours Secretary Clinton made herself available to the whims of an angry mob. She was calm, professional and in total command of the subject material. Dare I say…presidential. She was clearly the only adult in the room. For their part...the GOP members on the committee acted more like an angry mob than a committee of statesmen looking for the truth.
The Republican members of the committee were so intent on crushing her that they could not seem to get their story straight. Each member appeared to have an independent view on what happened in the time leading up to the attack. Each member seemed to have a different view of Secretary Clinton’s failure in handling the situation. Some argued that she was indifferent to the needs of the embassy’s security requests. Others argued that she made herself available to close friends like Sydney Blumenthal but remained unavailable to Ambassador Stephens. Still others tried to show that as the attack was in progress she ordered the military to stand down; thereby allowing four Americans to die.
Secretary Clinton calmly refuted each accusation; citing testimony from previous impartial witnesses and noting the findings of the eight Republican led committees that had previously investigated the incident.
When the Republican members weren’t stumbling all over themselves to get at the red meat they were going off on tangents; boring in with questions that had nothing to do with their stated purpose of finding out the truth about the attack on Benghazi.
It became clear early on that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was right; the purpose of this hearing was not to learn the truth about Benghazi. The purpose of this hearing was to damage the presumptive Democratic nominee and thereby weaken her chances in the upcoming general election. In that regard…yesterday’s hearing was an embarrassment…a complete failure for which Republicans may never recover.
As one Republican lawmaker told FOX News during one of the breaks: “If they continue with this line of questioning they might just as well swear her in as president right now.”
Don’t believe me? Check out this morning’s newspapers. They are chock full of comments from conservative pundits and lawmakers lamenting the unmitigated disaster of yesterday’s hearing.
Or listen to committee Chairman Trey Gowdy's own words as he faced reporters after the hearing. Congressman Gowdy was asked if the committee had learned anything new from Secretary Clinton’s testimony. “I don’t think we learned anything new from the last time she testified.”
Seventeen months of inquiries…$4.6 million dollars…eleven hours of testimony…nothing new learned. The only effect being that the target of this investigation…Hillary Rodham Clinton…is better positioned to win the Oval office now than she was when the whole thing started.
The Republican Party! Ready…Fire…Aim!