Meme of the Day: The Republican Benghazis

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

Meme of the Day: The Republican Benghazis

186316471-sen-john-mccain-rep-jim-jordan-rep-jason-chaffetz-sen
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.

Advertisement

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 Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.