Of course there’s an element of the political to these hearings, as there was to the Iraq hearings. Both occurred during the run-up to presidential elections, both involved themes that were central to the opposing party’s campaign messages and both featured presidential players. And to boot, this one has a Clinton at its center, and she is as much a creation of partisan politics as she is proponent of them. She was kind to remind us of this at the Democratic debate, where she volunteered “Republicans” as the enemy she’s most proud to have made.Partisanship is a by-product of legislative oversight, but one of the ways in which the voters' agents in government provide the information that voters can use in consenting to be governed is to have members of one party pointing out the failings of the other party's policies. Duh. Why do I even have to point this out?
Why didn’t Clinton, if her claims are accurate, receive the requests for more security from Ambassador Chris Stevens? Why were his requests ultimately denied? Why as violence increased did security in the region decrease? Why, despite the Obama administration’s warning not to involve Sidney Blumenthal and other friends in State Department policy decisions, did Clinton continue to share his intelligence briefings with other diplomats, including Stevens? These are questions we need to ask not only to give the families of the four men killed that night some answers, but also to prevent future attacks like the one in Benghazi.In principle, yes, but her answers are straight out of Slick Willie's playbook. Gol-lee! The buck never got here. Reason's David Harsanyi raises the questions that didn't come up in the hearing.
And yes we will also ask these questions to expose Hillary Clinton’s lack of credibility and good judgment. She is, after all, running for President.
Shouldn’t those things matter?
Clinton isn't responsible for all the awful things people do, but she certainly is responsible for America's role in the whole mess. If voters are supposed to judge Clinton's asserted foreign policy expertise based on what she did while in power, they should take this into account: Clinton, according to her own admission, voted for one foreign policy disaster and instigated another one. Her fans might concede that Iraq was merely a vote of political expediency or perhaps one made on bad information (a stretch), but there is no such comfort with Libya. Clinton can't blame this one on George W. Bush.Fifty-four more weeks of this, dear readers. Fortunately, there will be model railroad content to lift your spirits.
Republicans were generally quiet about the Obama administration's unauthorized war in Libya—even though it circumvented congressional authority—because intervention generally matches their own foreign policy objectives. Americans didn't die, at least at the beginning, so it was forgotten. But if John McCain, who supported the Libyan intervention, would have been in charge, we would never have heard the end of it.
Instead, people would be asking: Please explain how the Libya intervention was a success? And should Ambassador Christopher Stevens have been in Benghazi at all?