Fools and knaves: Seven theses

The Benghazi hearing before the House Oversight Committee had been previewed over the weekend in stories featuring some of the highlights of the witnesses’ testimony to staff behind closed doors. In the event the testimony of the witnesses was if anything more dramatic than we might have anticipated. The bombshells were flying Fast & Furious.

Three New York Times reporters have a good story summarizing the testimony. John Podhoretz renders a judicious assessment in a the New York Post. See also Andrew McCarthy’s preview.

The exercise of common sense to the events belied the line being peddled by President Obama, Secretary Clinton and their minions in the days after the massacre. The information added yesterday continues to round out the picture of the deceit in which the administration has engaged. I want to offer seven conclusory theses based on what we have learned to date.

1. The witnesses who appeared before the committee yesterday — Gregory Hicks, Mark Thompson and Eric Nordstrom — were credible, compelling and devastating. These gentlemen are a credit to the State Department. Hicks showed what a true friend of Ambassador Christopher Stevens would do and say about the events leading to his death. Clinton and Obama’s professions of devotion to their late friend “Chris” are shot through with a nauseating falsity. These men show their bosses to be the fools and knaves after whom this series is named.

2. The Muhammad YouTube shtick was a fabrication from the outset. Yet it was peddled incessantly by Obama and Clinton. These folks think we’re stupid and that their media adjunct are both stupid and malleable. They haven’t been proved wrong yet. Getting to the bottom of the story is the most that we can hope for.

3. The fabrication had a political purpose. It was the administration that politicized the massacre in formulating the misinformation it peddled for public consumption.

4. The emergence of Cheryl Mills in yesterday’s testimony was a clarifying moment. It lent a certain context to the underlying disgraces. Mills is an old Clinton hand, adept in the arts of coverup and scandal management. She harks back to Monica and impeachment. As Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, she put her experience to use acting as consigliere to bully subordinates and keep the lid on the Benghazi disgraces. Jeffrey Lord elaborates on the Clinton school of scandal management in “From bimbos to Benghazi.”

5. As scandal management, Clinton’s convening of an Accountability Review Board (report here) amounted to something like performance art. How did the estimable men of the ARB miss Gregory Hicks in the information gathering phase of their work? The ARB was like Nixon’s desired resolution of the controversy of the Watergate tapes: The Stennis Compromise. Bring in some eminent but hearing-impaired older man to check out the tapes and report back. Only Democrats can get away with something like that.

5. Hillary Clinton is the author of “the vast right-wing conspiracy” theme that set the table for Bill Clinton’s survival in the early days of the Monica scandal. The comparable moment here is “What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?” Answer: It depends on what the meaning of “at this point” is.

6. Who gave the orders to the military assets in Tripoli to stand down, and why?

7. Clinton’s 2:00 a.m. call with Greg Hicks must have been an hour too early to wake her up, but where was Obama? To borrow the old Spanish expression, the man was a zero to the left as commander in chief confronting the attack on our men in Benghazi. We may not be able to do better than Derek Hunter: “#WhereWasBarackBenghaziNight Choom Gang reunion?”

For more in the way of theses, see Bryan Preston, Charles Hurt and Tom Bevan. And Rich Lowry arrives to remind us: “Filmmaker Nakoula is still in jail.”

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