Saturday, May 31, 2014
Friday, May 30, 2014
According to a report in Politico, an array of left-leaning organizations and strategists are meeting today with top Clinton allies to fashion a defensive scheme regarding the Benghazi scandal, in which the former Secretary of State is a central player. With the Congressional Select Committee revving just up as Clinton's new book is released, Democrats sense a pressing need to help shape the Benghazi narrative, as the issue is one of her (relatively few at this stage, frankly) strong negatives ahead of the 2016 campaign:
An array of Democrats — including Hillary Clinton’s allies — are meeting this week to hammer out a united front on national security issues, including a clear response to Republicans over the Benghazi controversy...A major milestone in the effort will take place this Friday, when a coalition of Democratic-leaning groups and influentials converges at the headquarters of the centrist think tank Third Way for a briefing that includes top Clinton adviser Philippe Reines. The meeting is one in a series that Third Way has convened with Democrats since the George W. Bush era to discuss and shape national security policy. But at least some Democrats involved in the upcoming session are hoping it results in a coordinated and strengthened response to the new congressional probe into the deadly Benghazi attack. Several people involved in the meeting say Reines was invited to speak at Third Way on Friday to discuss the chapter of Clinton’s upcoming book “Hard Choices” that covers the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead — including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
I discussed this confab on Fox Newsyesterday afternoon, noting the irony that a Bizarro World "Left-wing conspiracy" of sorts is rushing to Hillary's aid:
Meanwhile, Fox has announced a half-hour interview special with Mrs. Clinton, which will air in mid-June. Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren will steer the conversation jointly, and one of the advertised topics is the 9/11/12 attack. Clinton is showing up on the top-rated cable news network to sell books, of course, but she'll have to answer a battery of tough questions. For instance, why did the State Department keep its under-protected people in a dangerous hotbed of radical Islamism long after other Western nations and groups had pulled out? Why were requests for beefed-up security rejected, while existing security forces wereredeployed out of Libya, over serious objections? And why did she cite an irrelevant online video in private discussions with grieving family members daysafter the administration -- and the State Department specifically -- knew for a factthe deadly raid had been an orchestrated terrorist act? Is Greg Hicks lying? And since that false explanation didn't come from the CIA, where did she pick it up in the first place?
Three additional nuggets from the Politico piece mentioned above: (1) Hillary personally lobbied House Democrats against boycotting the Select Committee, evidently making an appeal based on politics 101 -- don't let the other side have all the microphones if you can help it. I made a similar case here. (2) Among those participating in an ongoing email listserv discussion about the Left's Benghazi response is former Obama administration spokesman Tommy Vietor. After his performance on Special Report a few weeks back, I'd imagine the Clintons are savvy enough to view any PR advice he may bring to the table with suspicion. (3)Also in the mix is the attack dog group Media Matters, which acts as the American Left's vanguard of hackery. At least one representative from that outfit will reportedly attend today's briefing. Awkward question: Will SEIU have a presence there, too?
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Let’s recap Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State before diving into her remarks about it in her new book. It started with the mistranslated “reset button” that attempted to blame the Bush administration for tensions in US-Russian relations, and ended for all intents and purposes in the terrorist attack on our all-but-undefended consulate in Benghazi, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, including the first ambassador killed in the line of duty since the Carter administration. In between, the US gained no significant new trade agreements, turned Libya into a failed state in which al-Qaeda and its affiliates metastasized, fumbled the “Arab Spring” in Egypt, and retreated across the board.
Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton proclaims herself “proud of what we accomplished” — even ifthe AP report on her book excerpt notably does not include any concrete examples:
Hillary Rodham Clinton writes in new excerpts from her upcoming book that she wishes she could go back and reconsider some of her past decisions but she is “proud of what we accomplished” during her time as secretary of state.Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, writes in an author’s note released Tuesday that her four years running the State Department for President Barack Obama taught her about the United States’ “exceptional strengths and what it will take for us to compete and thrive at home and abroad.”“As is usually the case with the benefit of hindsight, I wish we could go back and revisit certain choices. But I’m proud of what we accomplished,” Clinton writes. “This century began traumatically for our country, with the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the long wars that followed, and the Great Recession. We needed to do better, and I believe we did.”
The only specific instance cited in the AP report was the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, which … was not an operation from State, but of the military coordinating with the intelligence community. Hillary uses it to laud the leadership of Barack Obama, as his top advisers were divided on whether to proceed with the mission. “It was as crisp and courageous a display of leadership as I’ve ever seen,” Hillary writes in her memoir.
That might be good news for Obama at this point, but it’s a strange time to cheer Obama for his leadership qualities. Hillary’s fellow Democrats are almost at the breaking point with Obama over his crisis management and executive qualities in general after the VA scandal failed to push Obama into action. Privately, Democrats are using words like “detached” and “incompetent” to describe Obama’s leadership, not “crisp” and “courageous.”
Under the circumstances, this attempt to cheerlead for 2009-12 seems dated, expired, and irrelevant. According to The Hill, that’s exactly how the Left feels about Hillary, too:
Liberal Democrats feel the wind is at their backs, making it all the more irksome for them that Hillary Clinton could be their presidential nominee in 2016.For many on the left, Clinton is the woman who supported the Iraq war, ran to the right of President Obama and is associated with the Wall Street-friendly centrism espoused by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.Progressives feel they are in a political golden age in which questions about income inequality are growing louder, anti-gay marriage laws are falling and the growing Hispanic electorate regards the GOP with skepticism. Given all that, they don’t want to be stuck with a standard-bearer they see as too centrist.
Their problem is that they have few other choices, at least at the moment. The only other figures on the Left in position to challenge Hillary are first-term Senator Elizabeth Warren, socialist Bernie Sanders, or former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer, whose pro-energy stance makes him at best problematic for the Left. The ranks of Democratic governors are similarly filled with centrists who understand that progressivism is a losing proposition in most states. The only two who might emerge would be Andrew Cuomo and Deval Patrick, but neither looks able to break out of their own progressive constituencies into anything resembling a formidable general-election nominee.
On the other hand, almost all of them (except Warren and Sanders) have actual accomplishments to offer, rather than platitudes and paeans to Obama’s already-discredited leadership. The Left may not have to try all that hard to challenge Hillary in a primary.
Monday, May 12, 2014
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?
There is another document that meticulously records all the president’s activities, public and private, every second of every day. It is called the “President’s Daily Diary.” Just outside the Oval Office is a room called the Outer Oval, where the president’s secretary and personal aide sit and through which all visitors coming to see the president pass. Staff members in the Outer Oval keep track of the president’s location at all times. They carefully record the names of all individuals who walk into the Oval Office — when they entered, how long they stayed, what the topic of discussion was. They keep a record of all calls made and received by the president, including the topic, participants and duration. They even record the president’s bathroom breaks (they write “evacuating” into the log). This and other data on the presidents’ whereabouts are collected by a career National Archives employee whose title is White House diarist. This individual preserves them as a minute-by-minute historical record of the presidency for future use by presidential scholars. What this means is that there exists a minute-by-minute record of where the president was and what he was doing for all eight hours of the Benghazi attack. So how is it that the White House has failed to give a full account of the president’s whereabouts during that eight-hour period?
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:
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Friday at the Republican National Committee spring meeting at the Peabody hotel in Memphis, TN, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's actions both leading up to, during and after the 2102 Benghazi terror acts have precluded her from being qualified to be commander-in-chief...
Former Clinton operative and one-time labor secretary Robert Reich slammed the Obama White House for working with retail giant Walmart on a new climate change campaign.
When House Speaker John Boehner spoke to the media yesterday again about his decision to form a special committee on Benghazi, he made it abundantly clear that the investigation would not be a partisan witch-hunt or show trial to score political points. Rather, it was going to be an impartial inquiry convened for the sole purpose of learning the truth about what happened that night:
“This all about getting to the truth. It’s not going to be a side show. It’s not going to be a circus. This is a serious investigation.”
Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who you'll recall was hand-selected by Boehner to lead the investigation, echoed his boss' comments in an op-ed published yesterday at USA Today. In that piece, he laid out the reasons for why the special committee is necessary -- and indeed critical -- to the House's ongoing investigation:
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is right to convene a select committee devoted to uncovering all relevant facts connected to Benghazi, just as the House committees of jurisdiction were right to investigate Benghazi before this. Despite the passage of 20 months, there remain unresolved questions.Why was security for our facility in Libya inadequate, and why were repeated calls for additional security unheeded and, indeed, explicitly rejected? Was our military response during the pendency of the siege sufficient? And in the days and weeks after the attack, was the Obama administration transparent and forthright with our fellow Americans in describing the impetus behind the attack?Moreover, no one has been arrested, prosecuted, or punished for the murders of our fellow Americans. These outstanding questions, and others, are legitimate, and seeking the answer to these questions should be an apolitical process.
And yet, despite these unanswered questions, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that forming a special committee on Benghazi is essentially a waste of time:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she is "absolutely" satisfied with what she knows about the Benghazi terror attack, and cast doubt on the intentions of House Republicans spearheading a select committee to investigate it."I mean of course there are a lot of reasons why, despite all of the hearings, all of the information that’s been provided, some choose not to be satisfied and choose to continue to move forward," Clinton said in an appearance in New York."That’s their choice and I do not believe there is any reason for it to continue in this way, but they get to call the shots in the Congress," she said.
No reason for it? Here's one: Pat Smith and others who've lost loved ones are still waiting for answers. Thus, forming a bipartisan committee of lawmakers to investigate what happened seems to be the best way to get them some.
Friday, May 9, 2014
Someone at the highest level of the United States government made the decision to abandon American consular staff to their fate and cede U.S. sovereign territory to an al-Qaeda assault team — and four out of five Sunday news shows don't think it's worth talking about.
In the smoking ruins of that consulate in Benghazi, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods fought for hours and killed 60 of the enemy before they were overwhelmed, waiting for the cavalry that never came. They're still waiting – for Candy Crowley, David Gregory, Bob Schieffer, and George Stephanopoulos to do their job.
Democrats and their media enablers openly giggle at the word "Benghazi" now. So funny, isn't it? Those provincial simpletons at Fox News are still droning on about dead Americans in Benghazi as if anybody but their drooling rubes care about it, ha-ha... If the Democrats are right about that, it doesn't speak well for the American people. Those four Americans died serving the United States - not Obama, not Clinton, but their fellow Americans. And they're owed not the mawkish, hollow, self-serving eulogies written by hack staffers for the President and the Secretary of State to read over the coffins, but the truth about how and why they died. It's odd, even for the insular Obama cultists, that so many people find that a laughing matter.
Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt devoted most of his three hours on air to Benghazi. I put the night in context:
MARK STEYN: Not a lot of U.S. ambassadors get killed in the line of duty.
HUGH HEWITT: Right.
MS: If you discount the poor fellow who was on the plane with General Zia in Pakistan when that mysteriously blew up in mid-flight, you have to go back to Kabul over 30 years ago for the killing of a U.S. ambassador. So it happens extremely rarely.
Within half-an-hour, the President knew what was happening and why it was happening. Yet he did not act. Why? For me, that question remains as important as it was a year and a half ago:
MS: Brave men fought valiantly all through that horrible, long night, and saved dozens of people. But they were waiting for the help that never came, the help that was two hours away but was never ordered. And the official explanation is that 'Oh, well, we could have sent somebody, but they wouldn't have got there in time." Well, you know, just to go back to your sporting analogies, a terrorist attack on a U.S. facility is not a cricket match or a soccer match... You don't know how long it's going to last till the attack ends... Even if they had sent forces and they hadn't gotten there in time to save the ambassador or to save the other three people who died, they could have got there in time when the people who committed this act were still sifting through the rubble of the U.S. facility. And so they would have caught them, instead of these guys being free to wander around, swank around the Maghreb boasting about what they were able to pull off.
So who took the decision not to act, and why?
MS: Was it just about electoral advantage? Was it just to protect Joe Biden's soundbite ...al Qaeda is dead and General Motors is alive? Or is it actually worse than that? In other words, in those first few moments, when the President is informed what's going on, does somebody, does somebody take the decision that because this whole thing is unhelpful to their view of the world, they are not going to send force? Because that, to me, does render whoever made that decision ...unfit for office.
As I go on to say, Chris Stevens was one of them, a Team Obama loyalist. But they abandoned him and dishonored him in death because the President's political needs outweighed his life. The heartlessness of all these caring, compassionate Democrats would impress Putin - if it was ever applied to America's enemies. You can read the entire transcript here.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Benghazi is not a vast right-wing conspiracy -- unless the Congressional Select Committee fails to subpoena Hillary Clinton.
If that happens, Hillary's guilt will be permanently buried, and her 2016 nomination to carry on Obama's destructive legacy will be cemented by the Democrats.
If you haven't read my email below and signed your petition, please do so immediately.
Stop Hillary PAC is ahead of the curve. AND with your added support, we will not allow the Congressional Select Committee on Benghazi to protect Hillary's legacy. John Kerry has been subpoenaed -- but Hillary Clinton has not!
Add your name to demand Hillary be compelled to testify under oath -- http://www.stophillarypac.org/
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