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Charles Krauthammer Tells The Right They’ve Lost On Behghazi

Charles Krauthmmer spoke some truths on Fox News last night that most of the network’s viewers likely found uncomfortable:

Remember Karl Rove wandering around the Fox News set on election night 2012, trying to convince his colleagues that Mitt Romney, and not Barack Obama, had won the state of Ohio?

It’s a useful visual metaphor for the right’s obsession with Benghazi. Multiple investigations conducted by Senate committees as well as the media have turned up noconspiracy, political scandal or cover-up. But pundits and lawmakers in the Fox orbit keep thinking that the next rock they turn over will surely reveal the muck they need to tarnish the president. He may have won Ohio, but there’s hope yet for impeachment!

Evidence has done nothing to cool their enthusiasm. Could advice from one of their own have a better effect? Yesterday on Fox’s “Special Report,” Charles Krauthammer urged Republicans to let up.

Politically speaking the administration has won,” he said. “They ran out the clock. If we had a select committee from the beginning, really had coherent hearings unlike what we’ve had which were disjointed hearings that let all things sort of slip away, we really would have been somewhere. We would have gotten to the bottom of this.”

The “Special Report” anchor, Bret Baier, tried to turn the conversation back to familiar terrain—why Susan Rice mentioned an American-made video in describing the attack—but Mr. Krauthammer shrugged him off:

“I’m as outraged as everybody about this. I just think that as a political issue the country is now tired of it, and to rev it up with a special committee is simply not going to work. I wish it had happened. And I do think the Republicans in the hearings that they had, which were completely disorganized, let this thing slip away. Sometimes you blow it.”

Here’s the video:

Krauthammer is right, of course. There remain legitimate questions regarding embassy security and exactly what it was the CIA was doing in Benghazi in the months before September 2012, but the idea that the attack on the diplomatic outpost there would end up being any kind of “scandal” that would harm the President can be easily dismissed by that. You can see at least some confirmation of that in the fact that House Republicans have basically abandoned their investigations of the matter. If there was any more “there” there, they would quite obviously pursue it. It’s unlikely that conservatives will listen to Krauthammer, though. Many on the right seem convinced that Benghazi will be a potent issue against Hillary Clinton in 2016, for example, even though there’s little evidence that this is the case.

Benghazi isn’t the only “scandal” that’s politically dead, of course. Much the same can be said about the “Fast & Furious” story, which hasn’t really generated any news in nearly two years at this point. All that remains is the IRS targeting story, which does seem to have some legs although there’s absolutely no evidence that anything that happened had links to the White House or the Obama campaign.  That won’t stop the investigations, of course. Especially if the GOP retakes the Senate this year.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Poor Jenos has probably slit his wrist…what more is there to live for?
    Oh wait…FAST AND FURIOUS!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  2. mantis says:

    Krauthammer is right, of course. There remain legitimate questions regarding embassy security and exactly what it was the CIA was doing in Benghazi in the months before September 2012

    That’s not what he’s talking about. He clearly believes the conspiracy theories, but thinks Republicans made the wrong plays and the public is sick of it. You give the man too much credit.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 1

  3. beth says:

    Way to much credit to Krauthammer. This is equivalent to all those conspiracy theorists insisting Obama didn’t really win the election and if only we had more voting restrictions and unskewed polls we’d have President Romney right now. Doug sees reality, Krauthammer doesn’t.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  4. Jim R says:

    The deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, while certainly tragic, is a drop in the bucket compared to the deaths of 4,000 Americans and countless others in the Iraq war, which was sold to the nation under false pretenses.

    If the former is some huge scandal or conspiracy, what does that make the latter?

    The GOP has a lot of nerve.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  5. Tillman says:

    So this is the yearly self-reminder that they’ve been chasing their own tail?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  6. al-Ameda says:

    Krauthammer: … And I do think the Republicans in the hearings that they had, which were completely disorganized, let this thing slip away. Sometimes you blow it.”

    Benghazi? Krauthammer believes the conspiracy theories concerning the tragedy at Benghazi are true, he also is of the opinion that Republicans erred in their strategy and tactics in uncovering the supposed truth (as Republicans want it to be) about Benghazi.

    Notwithstanding 2-plus years of grandstanding, wherein the GOP was investigating and turning over every rock they could find, they were able to turn up nothing of significance. Just maybe the appropriate phrase Krauthammer should have used was “Sometimes you have nothing.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  7. JR says:

    Benghazi will not go away because it’s an issue that fires up the base. The GOP wants a large turnout in 2014 to strengthen their hold on the House and retake the Senate. Most of what we see is for show. The drama will surely continue..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @mantis:

    He clearly believes the conspiracy theories…

    @beth:

    Doug sees reality, Krauthammer doesn’t.

    Sorry, no. With many other Republicans there’s always the question, “Is he deliberately lying, or does he really believe this nonsense.” Not Krauthammer. He is very bright, very knowledgeable, and an excellent writer. He crafts his lies with so much care that there can’t be any legitimate question they’re deliberate. He knows full well there was never any there there.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  9. Tillman says:

    @Tillman: Yes, downvoters, you are right. They haven’t been chasing their own tails, they’ve been chasing the phantom tails of phantom dogs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. anjin-san says:

    @ Jim R

    If the former is some huge scandal or conspiracy, what does that make the latter?

    Especially when you figure in how, and how much Halliburton profited from the war.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  11. Tyrell says:

    What is needed is a progress report on where things stand. Who all has been arrested and what suspects are still running around loose. And the trial: when it will start and what the arrangements will be. There needs to be a joint effort involving the FBI and some other agency. My opinion is that there should be some sort of military trial. They have pictures of some of the ones involved. Go get them. The people should not let the clock run on these murders. Something must be done now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  12. anjin-san says:

    @ Tyrell

    Something must be done now

    Maybe some of the conservative action heroes that talk so boldly on the internet will head over to northern Africa and round up the evil doers themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  13. John Scotus says:

    For Benghazi to gain any traction as a political issue, someone has to care. While a few Republicans tried to carry water for the Nixon administration during Watergate, by and large congressmen on both sides of the aisle were demanding an investigation, and before it was over the press was howling for blood. Compare this with Benghazi: the Democrats do not want an investigation, nor do most Republican leaders, and the press is silent. I believe that there is a “there” there, but for multiple reasons few people are interested in following up on an investigation. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and it is becoming old news. Sadly, Krauthammer is right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  14. anjin-san says:

    I believe that there is a “there” there

    Everyone concedes the talking points were changed. Beyond that, what is the “there” you see? Please be specific.

    someone has to care

    Not sure what you are talking about. Clearly, there are many on the right that care deeply. The right wing media cares enough to have made a cottage industry out of Benghazi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. John Scotus says:

    If the talking points were changed, then why? Why cover something up if there is nothing to cover up? The idea that the talking points were changed merely to protect intelligence capabilities does not pass the smell test. It would have been like Bush saying, after 9/11, that the attacks were a spontaneous protest because of a video and had nothing to do with terrorism. It sounds absurd because it is absurd.

    So, why were the talking points changed? The easiest explanation is that Obama was running for reelection, and one of his claims was that his policies had defeated Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. The attack on Benghazi belied this, so the nature of the attack had to be covered up in order to support his reelection bid. While some people may not think that this is a scandal, if anyone else had pulled this stunt, everyone would be out for his blood. As it is, what transpired has received a collective yawn from the press and political elite. The whole thing is a disgrace.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  16. anjin-san says:

    @ John Scotus

    Let’s talk about scandals and disgrace.

    A. The talking points were changed. “Conservatives” are furious.

    B. War in Iraq over nonexistent WMDs. 4K+ Americans KIA. 32K wounded. Several trillion in national treasure wasted. Post 9.11 global support for America lost. Halliburton makes billions. “Conservatives” are not furious.

    I think you are worrying about the wrong things.

    if anyone else had pulled this stunt, everyone would be out for his blood.

    Two fallacies. One, that Obama somehow gets a special pass (could it be because he is black? certainly Fox and Friends want us to think that) Two, “if it was anyone else” – Please. No one cares outside of the Foxverse because the talking points are just not a big deal. It’s disappointing, but no more than that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  17. beth says:

    @John Scotus: By all means please show us a link where the President claimed his policies had defeated Al Queda or Islamic terrorism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. John Scotus says:

    @beth: Among hundreds of hits for “obama 2012 campaign defeat al qaeda” on Google, here are the first five, all containing Obama’s claim that Al Qaeda had been decimated because of his policies:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/18/white-house-view-on-al-qaeda-unchanged/
    http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2013/08/08/obama-campaign-al-qaeda-decimated/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-j6VF77fXA
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-01/obama-says-with-war-near-end-defeat-of-al-qaeda-in-reach.html
    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-touts-al-qaeda-s-demise-32-times-benghazi-attack-0

    The Youtube link has him making this claim at the Democratic Convention. This was such a common theme during his campaign that it was fairly hard to miss.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  19. beth says:

    @John Scotus: Nice try. I hear a lot of “Al Queda is on the path to defeat” and “Al Queda leadership has been decimated” but again, no claims that Al Queda or Islamic terrorism has been defeated. As a matter of fact, most of your links show videos that cut off before the next few sentences which usually say something along the lines of “we have further to go in our battle with terrorism”. I can find only two instances of him actually saying “Al Queda has been decimated” (you do know that decimated does not mean destroyed or defeated, right?) and since we’re putting our own spin on things, I attribute this more to him shortening his normal stump speech of Al Queda’s leadership has been decimated than to him actually claiming it had been defeated. And if terrorism had indeed been defeated, why would he specifically mention terrorism in his Rose Garden speech and others directly after the attack?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  20. anjin-san says:

    @ John Scotus

    and one of his claims was that his policies had defeated Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism.

    Ok, show us where he said that. Not something that sounds kinda like that, that exactly.

    As Beth has already pointed out, “Decimated” does not mean defeated. I suggest you go to the Googles and look it up.

    If you have to make things up to support your argument, it’s not much of an argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  21. dazedandconfused says:

    @gVOR08:

    Sorry, no. With many other Republicans there’s always the question, “Is he deliberately lying, or does he really believe this nonsense.” Not Krauthammer. He is very bright, very knowledgeable, and an excellent writer. He crafts his lies with so much care that there can’t be any legitimate question they’re deliberate. He knows full well there was never any there there.

    Indeed.

    I see this also as Charles sensing danger in Issa’s incompetence in general, and specifically his recent behavior, which has exhibited a frightening lack of judgement and tactical acumen of late. It’s getting close to the level where something big might happen that could cause a major network grade spot-light to shine on that committee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. steve s says:

    OMG NO TALKING POINTS HAD EVER BEEN CHANGED BY ANYONE EVAR!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111111111 WHAT A MONSTER!!!!!!!!!! INPEACH!!!!!!!!!!!!

    seriously dude, you sound like a well-programmed dittohead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  23. steve s says:

    Article Seventeen of the US constitution clearly lists ‘changing talking points’ as the worst high crime possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  24. anjin-san says:

    ‘changing talking points’ as the worst high crime possible.

    Worse than Hitler…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. anjin-san says:

    @ John Scotus

    You said there were hundreds of instances of Obama saying he had “defeated” the terrorists. Can’t you share just one with us?

    Buller… Buller…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0