Immediately after presidential candidate and potential Commander-in-Chief Romney opined on the Libya attacks last month, Democrats tripped all over themselves to condemn him for opening his mouth on the subject.
OpEd News announced, “Mendacious Mitt Politicizes Benghazi.”
Joan Walsh bemoaned “Benghazi madness,” which she labeled “the latest right-wing conspiracy porn.”
Claiming that the other side is politicizing an issue your side has bungled is the last refuge of a political scoundrel. Democrats are masters of this ploy, as evidenced by other recent attempts to busy bad news by accusing the opposition of “going on a fishing expedition,” “conducting a witch hunt,” or “mudslinging.”
The Benghazi attack is a serious issue rightfully being dealt with by politicians in the political arena ahead of the upcoming national election. Saying that Republicans are politicizing Benghazi is like saying that Weight Watchers is unfairly targeting calories in the weight loss process. Of course Republicans are politicizing the Benghazi terrorist attack. How could one even discuss Benghazi without politicizing it—through interpretive dance?
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, the most frequent abuser of the politicization charge, recently implied, wrongly, that Romney was hoping for a foreign policy disaster like the Iranian hostage crisis to help him win the election. Coming from the administration whose former Chief of Staff said you never want to let a crisis go to waste, is hysterical.
Cutter insists that we can’t talk about what happened in Benghazi, because there’s an ongoing investigation that will uncover all the facts—no doubt safely after the presidential election has concluded. Heaven forbid that the challenger critique the incumbent’s handling of the incident and offer a contrasting approach to governing. God forbid that voters be allowed to use an ongoing crisis to choose between two politicians’ vastly different approaches to foreign policy.
Here’s someone who is genuinely politicizing the Benghazi issue: Obama.
Appearing on a late-night comedy show, Obama announced that the assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American personnel was “not optimal.” Obama has tried to downplay the severity of this crisis and its causal roots in his administration’s strategic blunders and tactical failures in the Middle East. He’s loathe to draw attention to this by failing to summon up the proper outrage—which Romney has displayed in droves—over this historic attack. Calculating the precise tone that will allow Americans to believe he’s upset, without escalating the issue to the level of severity it warrants, is politicizing the issue.
His campaign is also excoriating Romney for rushing to judgment and “shooting from the hip” about the administration’s role in the incident, while jumping to the conclusion that the attacks were caused by an online video and not a coordinated assault.
If Commanders-in-Chief are supposed to reserve judgment until the facts are known, why did the administration send U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice out mere days after the attacks to insist that the protests were instigated by a video, a claim that contradicts the facts?
The Benghazi cover-up may not be a case of “What did the president know and when did he know it?” but “What did the President’s lackeys say and when did they open their yappers?”
It would be one thing if conservatives feigned outrage over Obama’s handling of wind farm permits. That would be a bit rich. But if anything, going overboard on military precautions is the GOP’s métier.
The GOP is the party that has traditionally called for stronger military and security operations, waged a more aggressive war against Islamic terrorism, and criticized Western military involvement in the Libyan protests.
Thus, most Americans probably accept that Republicans are genuinely concerned about attacks and protests in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, three other countries that had supposedly been cleansed by the Arab Spring that Obama endorsed and conservatives were vocally skeptical about last year.
They probably also accept that the by repeatedly claiming Romney is politicizing the attack in Libya the Obama campaign is doing some politicizing of its own.