the longest in the history of the United States.Even die-hard GOP partisans sometimes find it difficult to justify the House Republicans’ Benghazi committee. The party struggled to explain why it was necessary in the first place – the deadly 2012 attack was already examined by seven other congressional committees – and the rationale is even more elusive now that the investigation is
Making matters slightly worse, the GOP-led committee has conducted itself in such a way as to raise concerns that the entire endeavor is little more than a taxpayer-funded election scheme.
Keep that in mind when reading about House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) – the likely next Speaker of the House – and his interview on Fox News last night. Roll Call reported this morning on the Republican leader’s on-air comments:
“What you’re going to see is a conservative Speaker, that takes a conservative Congress, that puts a strategy to fight and win. And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?“But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”
Michael Kinsley once said a political gaffe occurs when a politician accidentally tells the truth. By this measure, the man who’s likely to become Speaker of the House next month made an important mistake last night.
First, I’m reasonably sure “untrustable” isn’t a word.
Second, the ostensible point of the Select Committee on Benghazi was to examine a terrorist attack that left four Americans dead in Libya, not to create an election tool that can affect a presidential candidate’s poll numbers.
Note, McCarthy sees the committee as a legitimate accomplishment of the Republican Congress, not because it’s uncovered relevant details about an act of terrorism, but because Hillary Clinton’s “numbers are dropping.” This, in his mind, is evidence of the GOP majority using its power effectively – by using a supposedly non-partisan investigatory vehicle to embarrass a Democrat with dubious allegations.
It’s almost as if the House Majority Leader assumed he was among friends, dropped his guard momentarily, and admitted out loud what Republicans are only supposed to say in private.
There was no real reason to create this committee, and the panel itself no longer serves any legitimate purpose. McCarthy’s unexpected candor was welcome – it was, to be sure, surprising to see him make such a concession on national television – but it served as a timely reminder that the Benghazi investigation that no longer focuses on Benghazi is now little more than a taxpayer-financed farce.