Meme of the Day: The Republican Benghazis

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 6 2014 12:18 PM

Meme of the Day: The Republican Benghazis

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And the circus continues...

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Every progressive in your Facebook circle is now sharing this gripping Jane Mayer piece about the differences between a Democratic House's reaction to the 1983 Beirut bombing, and the Republican House's reaction to Benghazi. My favorite find is the quote from Ronald Reagan that followed another embassy attack: "Anyone who’s ever had their kitchen done over knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would." Yes: In Obama's mouth that would warrant five or six special Fox News reports, and so many BREAKING NEWS tags that your TV screen would stain red.

Mayer is late to the party, though. For at least a year, progressives and skeptical reporters have reacted to the Benghazi freak-out by asking where this anger was when embassies were attacked in the Bush years.

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Actually, maybe everyone is late. The Republican outrage has already moved on from the attacks themselves to the theory of a cover-up.

"I have evidence that not only are they hiding it but there's an intent to hide it," Rep. Trey Gowdy told Greta Van Susteren last week. "I can't disclose that evidence yet, but I have evidence that there was a systematic intentional decision to with hold certain documents from Congress, and we're just sick of it. So we're going to get him to come explain why we're getting documents 20 months late."

That was a telling statement, because the search for administration officials ducking requests is a sort of Watergate pivot—it's not the crime, it's the cover-up. Analysts can talk all they want about how prior Congresses did not "politicize" embassy attacks. The new scandal is that the Obama administration might have responded to questions from Republicans they have utter contempt for by saying, basically, screw these guys.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics