Monday, November 26, 2012

Leftovers And Cleanup

The first day back from vacation is always one of the hardest.

Don't get us wrong - it was good to have a chance to get away from the rapid pace of our usual work schedules, and enjoy some time giving thanks for our family, friends, and other blessings. We kept an eye out on the news while we enjoyed our holiday break, including the tenuous cease-fire between the Palestinians and Israelis, and the public defense of her previous remarks by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.

That last topic, sadly, is what the chattering TV politicos were still beating each other up about on the talking heads shows on Sunday. Like the dumbest, most annoying members of your family and friends, sent out on a Thanksgiving Day 'snipe hunt' to give everyone else a break, most of the babbling Sunday boob tubers took another swing at the non-existent Rice/Benghazi scandal and mostly ended up looking like fools.

While some Republicans seem now to be backing away from their partisan hype surrounding Ambassador Rice, it seems that not every Republican got their party's memo to back down. A good example of that was Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's weaselly comments on CNN - and her well-deserved smackdown by Rep. Barney Frank. We'd be willing to bet our family holiday recipes that many of the more lazy, ignorant, members of the right-wing media, still turgid with the excesses of their own Thanksgiving feasts, will be jumping on the same bandwagon today as Sen. Hutchison did on Sunday.

Frankly, we're tired of this leftover non-controversy. So, like a pile of Thanksgiving dishes still soaking in the sink, we're going to clean up this topic once more - briefly - and hopefully not have to discuss it again.

As Ambassador Rice noted in her brief statement late last Wednesday afternoon, her early account of the Benghazi attack to the Sunday talking heads shows on September 16, 2012 was based on the initial intelligence community assessments. Those assessments were preliminary, as confirmed by CBS News nearly two weeks ago, when they obtained a copy of the talking points given to Ambassador Rice.

Any thought that there was some kind of cover-up, as Congressional Republicans like Sen. Hutchison continue to allege, has also been debunked, not only by the detailed timeline of the incident, but by public admissions from officials involved with preparing the talking points, and apparently by the testimony of former CIA Director Petraeus in the closed door Congressional hearings on Nov. 16.

All of this may make you wonder: why are some Republicans continuing to flail about with their bogus talking points on this issue, as they try - and fail - to insinuate some kind of scandal in the Obama White House?

As Paul Waldman pointed out nearly two weeks ago, the right-wing extremists in Congress have a form of ODS - Obama Derangement Syndrome - that Waldman called "Scandal Envy." In short, Republicans tried and failed multiple times during President Obama's first term to gin up a scandal, as they did with President Clinton. Each time they've tried, they've had to slink away empty-handed, like buffoons returning from a snipe hunt. As Waldman notes, "…they're going to keep trying to gin up a scandal, even if there's no there there."

If only to further prove our point, many Republicans - chief among them Senators McCain and Graham - are already pulling back on their criticism of the Ambassador, returning empty-handed after admitting to themselves their quest was futile. Sen. McCain has now even admitted he may be open to confirming Ambassador Rice, should the President choose to nominate her.

Hopefully, the retreat of Congressional Republicans along with brief recaps like ours will clean this topic up for everyone with a shred of sanity, once and for all. There are far more important things to be discussing and problems to solve during this 'Lame Duck' session of Congress.

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