“When you call Boehner’s office, they say you’ve got misinformation,” said Elena Taormina, an Ohio activist making her first D.C. trip. “Boehner says it’s an administrative task and that’s why it needs to be investigated through the people like Issa. But Issa doesn’t have the security clearance. He’s not getting all the information. Boehner has to put in an investigative committee that has clearance, but he’s blocking it.”
Why would he block it? John Molloy, who worked at 2 World Trade Center until 9/11 and now runs a group advocating for Gulf War syndrome victims and Vietnam POWs, joined our conversation to explain just how crooked Washington was.
“McCain was a traitor in the POW camp,” he said. “John Kerry knew it and had the files on it.”
“They’re all being blackmailed,” said Taormina. “Boehner has so many skeletons in his closet and the administration knows it.”
“It’s all choreographed,” said Molloy. “They don’t ask the right questions. If Boehner had any guts, when he played golf with that idiot he’d smack him with the golf ball.”
“They don’t want to be called racists,” added Taormina. “They’ve got no balls—they can’t impeach the first black president.”
Elsewhere in the crowd, which (pre-rally) was scattered around the shady parts of the lawn, there were versions of the same theory proffered by people holding signs that read “Justice for the Benghazi Four” and “Four Dead in Benghazi—Not Phony!” and “Americans Don’t Support Terrorist or Their Minions.”
The last sign, complete with analog typo, portrayed Barack Obama feasting on the heart of Uncle Sam in front of a happy audience of demons. But the second sign stood out, especially after the small rally began, and speaker after speaker decried the president for calling the Benghazi outrage a “phony scandal.” The president used the term “phony scandal,” sure—it isn’t phony!—but Jay Carney specified that this was about the Republican focus on State Department talking points that had initially and wrongly suggested the attacks grew out of a protest. Speaker after speaker attacked Hillary Clinton for asking, “What difference does it make?” about Benghazi. That, too, was actually a reference to the talking points; the next words out of Clinton’s mouth were “it is our job to figure out what happened.”
The speeches went on, under a sun that was cranking up the heat from “painful” to “merciless.” The point, generally, was to get more members of Congress to sign onto the select committee plan, whose sponsor Rep. Frank Wolf now has close to 170 co-sponsors. Republican leaders are noticing, but they literally can’t respond with the force that conservatives want them to—they just don’t have the same information or theories as their base. Before heading back into the dome I talked to Bob Adams, who wore a home-made “Remember Benghazi” shirt and claimed that through his Revive America group he’d learned what his peers were up for.
“I’ve got a network of 250,000 people,” said Adams. “Here are the four issues they care about, not necessarily in this order: Benghazi, Syria, firing Boehner, and impeachment.”