Benghazi differs from all the other scandals — and from both Watergate and Iran-Contra — because in this case administration lapses led to the deaths of four Americans. Nine months later, the administration’s problems of damage control remain fourfold: (a) there was ample warning that American personnel were in danger in Libya, and yet requests for increased security were denied; (b) during the actual attack, the American tradition of sending in relief forces on the chance that fellow Americans could be saved was abrogated; (c) the president and his top officials knowingly advanced a narrative of a culpable filmmaker that they knew was not accurate; (d) a through c are best explained as resulting not from honest human error or the fog of war, but from a methodical effort to assure the public in the weeks before the election that “lead from behind” in Libya had been a successful venture and that the death of Osama bin Laden had made al-Qaeda–inspired terrorism rare. All other concerns became secondary, including the safety of Americans in Libya.
Until someone proves that the administration was not wrong in failing to beef up our posts, was not wrong in not ordering immediate succor, was not wrong in blaming the violence on a filmmaker, and was not wrong in covering up the truth by promoting a demonstrably false narrative, the scandal will not go away.I'm not sure that either the IRS targeting Tea Party conservatives or the NSA data mining American citizens are necessarily lesser scandals, though. If in either case it turns out that (a) the IRS did so on the specific orders of the White House to aid in the President's reelection campaign; and (b) that the NSA data mining for national security purposes was also used to augment the known data mining conducted by the Obama campaign to target likely Democratic voters in their massive GOTV effort in 2012, well, then, those scandals will end up dwarfing Benghazi, regardless of whether four Americans died, because one will be the result of bad foreign policy judgment coupled with a natural desire to cover up bad news, while the others will be evidence of a systematic corruption of the entire federal government.
In other words, while Benghazi shows a government making mistakes and then lying about them, a normal failing of normal politics, the IRS and NSA scandals may end up revealing a government lying from the outset so they could conceal intentional totalitarianism based on ideology.
It's the difference between incompetence and tyranny. Correct the former, fear the latter.