Progressives, Benghazi, and the Lanny Davis Trap

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 16 2014 1:11 PM

Progressives, Benghazi, and the Lanny Davis Trap

156404337-lanny-davis-attends-the-newsweek-the-daily-beast-2012
Lovable Lanny.

Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

The left and right sides of the Internet broke into sweet harmony today upon reading that Lanny Davis, that noble defender of dictators and whatever is worse than dictators, would "position himself right outside the committee room where Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) will be conducting his investigations into the events of the Sept 11th Benghazi attacks." No Washington spin-meister is so rightfully loathed. "A man so badly f**ked that he'll hire Lanny Davis," wrote Tim Marchman last year, "is a man who's finished." Praise for Davis is so hard to come by that his own consulting site links a negative story about his brand of ideology-less, soul-less flim-flam.

But what should worry progressives is the funding for Davis' "stand around and spin stuff he has no expertise in" plan.

Davis said his partner in the effort is an advocacy group called “Correct The Record”, which is funded by the American Bridge 21st Century PAC. Davis claimed, “They are funded by thousands of grassroots people all over the country,” said Davis.
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As Jim Geraghty points out, this is a typical Davis whopper—not credible, not helpful to his cause. If Davis goes through with it, at best he's ignored (who cares what he thinks about Benghazi?) and at worst he distracts from Democrats on the committee. Progressives are sort of warming to the idea of participating, on the grounds that the committee will be covered anyway, and that they achieve nothing by boycotting. A petition from CREDO has already collected 19,213 of a desired 20,000 signatures supporting a role for Rep. Alan Grayson, whose career in politics really began as a stellar witness dealing with military contract fraud. He's got a bit more credibility than Lanny Davis—though you could say that of basically any human not currently in jail. 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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