Late last week, Nancy Pelosi announcedthat House Democrats would decline to appoint members to the select committee on Benghazi -- temporarily, at least. She held out the possibility of Democrats participating if some of their demands are met, and proposed negotiations with Republicans. A split-the-baby option of assigning one or two members to the panel, but refusing to fill out the full five-member complement, reportedly remains on the table. Most of the concessions sought by Democrats are unreasonable. Republicans are not going to permit Democrats to veto Chairman Gowdy's subpoena requests, and they're not going to split the committee evenly between the two parties (the divide will be 7-5, in favor of the majority). In my conversation with the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes on Hugh Hewitt's radio program on Friday evening, however, Hayes suggested that the GOP might be wise to play ball on Democrats' appeal for more leeway in interviewing witnesses. It's a fair "ask." For their part, Democrats spent the Sunday chat shows trashing the inquiry -- yet they're still torn on whether or not to engage. I'd imagine they'd love nothing more than to boycott the entire thing to telegraph the extent of their comprehensive contempt for Republican efforts to ferret out the elusive truth regarding what happened on and around September 11, 2012 in northern Libya. But taking their proverbial ball and pouting on the sidelines carries inherent risks for the president's party. I addressed those potential pratfalls on Fox, listing three reasons why Democrats would be unwise to follow through on a boycott. All three bullet points are political in nature, which seems appropriate given Democrats' posture throughout the Benghazi debate:
Several CNN anchors dismissed the notion of a full-fledged boycott as "not even an option" earlier this morning:
Democrats' internal deliberations continue, spurring NRO's Jim Geraghty to quip, "there’s a certain sweetness in watching a cynical, ruthless political opposition frozen in indecision because they can’t decide which option is more politically advantageous." Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen -- who reported on President Obama's tendency to forego in-person security briefings, including on the day immediately following the Benghazi attacks -- recommends that the select committee track down the "President's Daily Diary." This document painstakingly records the president's every official movement and activity, and could help shed light on one of the enduring mysteries of the American response to the eight-hour terrorist attack: Where was the Commander-in-Chief?
In his snippy and rude exchange with Bret Baier, former NSC official Tommy Vietor confirmed for the first time that Obama was not in the White House situation room that night. Thiessen thinks Americans have a right to know where he was, and what he was doing while Americans were under siege abroad. We know what he did the very next day. I'll leave you with Trey Gowdy striking the appropriate tone regarding the charge and attitude of Republican investigators moving forward: