Saturday, November 17, 2012

Forget the election - Benghazi and Petraeus scandals are a big deal

Republicans grousing about the extent to which the White House very obviously kept the uglier aspects of both the Benghazi attack and the Petraeus affair under wraps until after Election Day need to get a grip. These things are frustrating, but anyone who thinks a Republican White House wouldn't (and hasn't) done precisely the same thing needs a reality check. As a friend put it recently, this is all part and parcel of the 'home court advantage' that comes with incumbency.

The real problem is that an election-and-politics-weary populace is naturally inclined to take a break from hardcore news and, to the extent that they tune in at all, to dismiss GOP criticism of the Administration as "sour grapes" or inability to "let go" and "accept the fact that they lost." Coupling criticism of the administration's handling of these intertwined scandals with griping about a pre-election 'cover up' plays right into that, and gives much of the Obama-friendly media an excuse to go on ignoring or minimizing events that, in a vacuum, ought to be deeply disturbing across the political spectrum.

A US Consulate was attacked, an Ambassador and members of his staff brutally murdered (underscore brutally - contra popular conception, the Ambassador wasn't blown up by a rocket; he was seized, beaten, and murdered), and for reasons not yet explained military assets that could have been deployed to defend the consulate and possibly save the victims were held back.  That is a big deal, entirely independent of the election.

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency, the man with perhaps more highly sensitive intelligence information in his head than any individual on earth, displayed a stunning lack of discretion and judgment by involving himself in what appears to be a tangled sex/jealousy/recrimination drama right out of the worst WB teen programming. That is a big deal, entirely independent of the election.

The left is correct: the GOP needs to let go of the election and move on. We also need to double down on these very real issues and the myriad questions swirling around them, and resist all efforts to suggest that November 6 rendered some kind of verdict on their importance. Hopefully some sober-minded folks on the left will join in.