Social Media has been abuzz again after the grueling 11-hour long Benghazi committee grilling of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with both Democrats and Republicans claiming victory as if it were all a game. Predictably, bloggers on the right praised Gowdy’s tenacity and the questions from Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio while bloggers on the left were worshiping Clinton’s mostly calm demeanor and responses throughout and celebrating the lack of new insights found. On the mainstream social media, annoying memes and childish prattle were plentiful.
Despite the results of the hearing, the probe will continue after Clinton’s testimony and reveal as much of the truth about what happened as they could find. In our instant-gratification society, however, the general population is attempting to either demand immediate answers or draw their own conclusions as fact before the investigation is complete. This is generally the stage during long fact-finding missions where those in one party are accused of having deep-rooted political motives while the other is accused of stonewalling. Rep. Gowdy also took a PR hit recently when his Congressional Majority Leader Kevin McKinney claimed the committee turned into a mission to undermine Clinton’s Presidential candidacy. This leads to eventual public apathy over an issue that is part of a big and ugly scene overall in Libya and much of the rest of the Middle East today.
The terrorist attack in Banghazi, killing four men, has become an emotional issue on both sides of the political fence. People have abandoned reason once again in favor or hyperbole, taunts and snark. While this is home court for Hillary Clinton and her supporters, the larger issues at hand are completely lost within amid the playground fights.
To be fair, Gowdy’s committee (theatrics from Rep. Elijah Cummings notwithstanding) did attempt to get some answers to real concerns over the attacks and attempted to focus on some of what Clinton needs to answer for:
1. Why, on and around the significant date of September 11th, was security not upgraded?
This is an obvious move, one Clinton as Secretary of State and President Obama should have made sure would happen at all embassies in the Middle East. Symbolism is important to terrorist organizations who want attention. Had Clinton and Obama made the right call on this, more Americans than now would still not know where Benghazi (or Libya) is located on a map.
2. Why, as soon as the attack was made, the first move by Clinton (and Obama) was to divert the narrative toward the party’s favorite scapegoat, white racism, and try and force American citizens to believe the murders were a reaction to a little-known YouTube video?
Seriously, virtually nobody saw this video. It would seem the administration and/or State Department believed they could take attention away from their dropping the proverbial ball on this one by manipulating the media and public to battle over race again. Clinton and Obama both need to answer for this.
3. Why did Clinton put as much effort into covering up the issue rather than taking the lead and respond through strength afterward?
Americans no longer want to hear excuses (aside from sycophants from both parties who blindly support their “teams”). Clinton might have looked a lot better to the public by standing tall and telling everyone the truth about who was behind the attack. This would have taken any media attention away from the horrible mistake made if people believed she would do her best to insure it would never happen again.
4. Four people’s deaths were absolutely preventable.
The naiveté of the Obama Administration was the direct cause here. The Washington leadership and the media openly celebrated the so-called “Arab Spring” and its series of uprisings. Unfortunately, most of those actions opened up opportunities for the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. The welcoming attitude of the West to the New Look Middle East greatly emboldened Radical Islamists. Had the State Department been rightfully wary of the resulting dangers (and the chaos in Libya should have been something of a tip-off), the requested upgrade in security would have prevented the deaths of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; information management officer Sean Smith; and two security officers who were former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — as well as this entire costly investigation.
While the need to find the right answers is important, on the surface is looks like the Gowdy-led committee has not found a lot of information and allowed the media to switch focus from the important points of the issue to the e-mail controversy. T his allowed the media narrative to switch to the length of the investigation, the meager findings within the e-mails and the financial waste of the committee hearings. While Gowdy insists he is on the side of right, the slow pace could seem conveniently concurrent with the Presidential campaign.
As if the Benghazi hearings were not already mired in controversy and have seemingly veered off-mission, Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the bi-partisan committee, has been jumping into the spotlight. Cummings has been prone to some anger issues when debating and his participation in recent weeks has been no exception. Flailing wildly over while accusing Gowdy of “framing” Clinton combined with his on-camera antics over the issue in recent weeks has turned the hearings into a circus. On a side note, there are a lot of left-leaning blogs claiming the CIA says Gowdy altered Clinton’s e-mails, but the only source of that information comes from a letter written by Rep. Cummings. The blogs posting this as fact are merely spreading hearsay.
This leads us to the next question: What will come of the hearings. There will be a fair number of winners and losers out of this:
1. Hillary Clinton. Let’s be fair, she performed fairly well on camera at her testimony this week. No matter what happens with the hearings, she and her team have the clout and ability to spin the narrative in her favor as long as Republicans are involved somewhere. This has already raised her profile on social media and the “Vote for Hillary because she is a woman” crowd is flexing its muscles again thanks to Joe Biden’s announcement that he is not running and the inevitable fall of Bernie Sanders when it is time to choose someone who can actually handle the position of Leader of the Free World.
2. Trey Gowdy. Despite the way the hearings go, Gowdy will still come out nicely. He will be a Republican hero for being able to lead on this (being in a party that has a plethora of people reluctant to lead at all) and would raise his own political profile. If a Republican wins the Presidency, Gowdy will likely get the federal judgeship he seeks.
3. The Cable News Channels: People were watching, even through Karsashian news.
1. Kevin McKinney. He passed on running for Speaker of the House and threw Gowdy under the bus without being privileged to enough information to make the conclusions he did. He was destined for notoriety if he would have even tried for the Speaker nomination. His actions will make him much less effective politically in the future.
2. Taxpayers. It all costs money. Lots of money. While the truth needs to be found, the length of the probe is adding to the bill. It is easy to fault Gowdy and the committee over this, but a long refusal to co-operate with investigators by the Clinton camp also extended the process.
3. People who can’t stand annoying and misleading political memes. We all lose here.