"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, May 10, 2013

Benghazi and Election '12 - Romney's Lost Opportunity

There was compelling testimony on Wednesday in Congress by three American career State Department officials that went a long way toward demonstrating that the Obama Administration had been derelict in their duties regarding the Benghazi consulate attack by (a) not beefing up security in the months before 9/11/12; not beefing up security specifically in anticipation of 9/11/12; (c) not having rapid response military and air ready to go in reaction to any terrorist attack on Mediterranean consulates; and (d) not reacting in real time to send help on 9/11/12.  

The testimony also was compelling that there was a coverup of what happened in Benghazi, through editing of intelligence, through misleading "talking points," through intimidation of witnesses.   Given the misfeasance described above, the malfeasance of the coverup makes sense.   With Obama's 2012 election on the line, and with Hillary Clinton's 2016 prospects in jeopardy, the administration would literally say anything, do anything.

Some of this was not known in the fall of 2012 in the weeks leading up to the election.  But the basics obviously were.   Four dead Americans.   The first ambassador in 30 years to be killed.   The fecklessness of the President and the Secretary of State.

Why didn't Mitt Romney hit Obama with an ad like this (which was apparently in the can)?


UPDATE: Peggy Noonan has a good piece up at the WSJ. Here's the money quote:

What happened in Benghazi last Sept. 11 and 12 was terrible in every way. The genesis of the scandal? It looks to me like this:  
The Obama White House sees every event as a political event. Really, every event, even an attack on a consulate and the killing of an ambassador.  
Because of that, it could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the Benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of Islamist terrorism. That would carry a whole world of unhappy political implications, and demand certain actions. And the American presidential election was only eight weeks away. They wanted this problem to go away, or at least to bleed the meaning from it.  
Because the White House could not tolerate the idea of Benghazi as a planned and deliberate terrorist assault, it had to be made into something else. So they said it was a spontaneous street demonstration over an anti-Muhammed YouTube video made by a nutty California con man. After all, that had happened earlier in the day, in Cairo. It sounded plausible.
Noonan is right on the mark that the Obama White House sees everything through a political lens.   You could say the same thing about Hillary Clinton.   Just as Obama is all about Obama, the Clintons are all about the Clintons, and always have been.  

But I would add this:   we have too many lawyers at the highest levels of government.   They tend to see everything in an adversarial posture, where they are looking at every issue in terms of whether it helps or hurts their "client," the President.   Thus you get scrubbed talking points massaged by the lawyers to minimize the risk to their client.   They read like interrogatory responses... purposefully incomplete and vague.

The problem, of course, is that the lawyers in the government have a conflict of interest.   They think of their jobs as serving their client, the President.   But the President isn't their client... the American people is the client.  

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