To call the recent Benghazi hearings a marathon is an understatement. While I didn’t watch every minute of testimony, I did manage to watch the majority of it. I’m being absolutely honest when I say I have no idea how Hillary Clinton didn’t lose her cool several times throughout the proceedings. Make no mistake about it, this was a partisan, three-ring Republican circus.
The total lack of respect shown toward the former Secretary of State was unprecedented.
It was an utter embarrassment to see several of the Republican members of this committee insinuate that not only did she deny the embassy more security because was too busy celebrating “success” in Libya, but Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) tried implying that Clinton didn’t care about the attack because she went home that evening. Even though, as Clinton pointed out, her home was equipped with all of the equipment needed to be kept in contact with State Department officials – and she didn’t sleep at all that night. It was an odd line of questioning clearly meant to make Clinton appear careless and callous toward the situation.
Look, I fully understand that everyone has a right to think what they want about Hillary Clinton. That’s fine; I am fully aware that she’s a polarizing figure, and I understand that she’s loathed by many Republicans. But for anyone to try to suggest that upon learning of the attack she just went home and went to bed because she didn’t care is reprehensible. But that’s exactly what Rep. Roby tried doing.
At the end of the day, what Republicans really accomplished was making Hillary Clinton look very presidential for 11 hours. She endured questioning that often bordered on badgering; rhetoric from committee members that was nothing more than grandstanding for their constituents back home; and some of the most disrespectful treatment I’ve ever seen dealt to someone of her stature – possibly ever – and she handled it all with a calm and presidential demeanor.
Even several conservative pundits called the hearing a bust for Republicans, with some agreeing that all they ultimately did was help her presidential campaign.
To be honest, this couldn’t have gone much worse for Republicans. The only people walking away from this testimony thinking Republicans accomplished anything are those who already disliked Clinton and were never going to vote for her anyway. Furthermore, not only did Republicans fail to achieve that “gotcha” moment that they were clearly hoping for, but the hostile way in which they went after Clinton just made them come off petty, childish, and even out of control at times.
In fact, I’ll argue that the vitriolic nature in which Republicans conducted themselves actually made Clinton more likable. Not because of anything she did in particular (aside from her calm demeanor), but the utter disrespect Republicans treated her with was fairly difficult to watch at times.
But when it’s all said and done, it’s fairly clear that the Republican party didn’t accomplish any of their goals. They never got that “gotcha” moment they were desperately hoping for, and by the time the day ended I believe she came away from this looking more presidential than she did before.
If Hillary Clinton ends up winning the presidency, Republicans will look back upon this as the day their idiocy backfired and officially helped to make that happen. Hell, even if Bernie Sanders ends up being the Democratic nominee, this kind of garbage and incompetence emanating from the Republican party helps him as well.
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