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Hillary Remains At The Top, But Benghazi Is A Vulnerability

Hillary Clinton Awarded The 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize

With Hillary Clinton set to start her book tour and media blitz, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds her with the same broad support for a potential 2016 campaign that she has had for some time now, but there are indications that Benghazi continues to be an issue for her:

new ABC News-Washington Post poll released Sunday gives Clinton a commanding lead in the race – with 69 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents supporting her for the party’s nomination.

Clinton also fares well in public perceptions in the new poll: 67 percent of Americans view her as a strong leader, 60 percent say she’s honest and trustworthy, and 59 percent say she has new ideas for the country’s future.

(…)

59 percent of Americans approve of Clinton’s job performance as Secretary of State, but that declines to 37 percent on her handling of the attack in Benghazi, where a U.S. diplomat and three other Americans were killed.

This is why you will continue to see Republicans, and potentially some of her Democratic rivals, circling back to the Benghazi if she does indeed run. There aren’t many areas right now where Hillary Clinton appears to be vulnerable, but her tenure as Secretary of State, and especially Benghazi, is most certainly one of them.

In the end, though, all of this circles back to something that I’ve seen even sympathetic pundits discussing about a potential Hillary Clinton 2016 run, namely the dual questions of why she wants to be President and what qualifications she brings to the office.

The first question is one that candidates have stumbled on before, sometimes disastrously. The most notable example of this remains Roger Mudd’s interview with Senator Ted Kennedy in November 1979 when Kennedy was making clear his intention to run against President Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980. Mudd asked Kennedy why he wanted to be President, and Kennedy gave an answer that was called stammering, repetative, and devoid of any actual content (you can watch the actual exchange in this video). While Kennedy went on to run a solid campaign for a guy running against an incumbent, that moment is seen by many as the moment that his campaign truly sank.

Clinton faces a similar issue. Like every other candidate of destiny before her, and as Clinton herself learned in 2008, it’s not always enough to be the candidate that everything thinks is going to win. You also have to be able to articulate some kind of vision of what kind of President you want to be. In the end, Barack Obama beat Clinton in 2008 because he was better able to do this than she was. The question she faces if she runs is what message she’ll have this time around, and what her answer to the “Why do you want to be President?” question actually is. If she comes across as someone with a sense of entitlement to the position, then she could end up with a problem. Especially relevant to this is the fact that, while she is very smart and very well versed on policy issues, Hillary Clinton is nowhere near as good politician or communicator as her husband is. That’s one reason why she had such a hard time against Barack Obama in 2008.

Clinton also faced the second question in 2008 and, arguably in a better position there now than she was six years ago. Four years as Secretary of State have put a hefty load of experience under her belt, certainly far more than being the junior Senator from New York provided. At the same time, though, one has to wonder what, exactly, she has accomplished as Secretary of State that recommends her for the Presidency. I’ve seen generally sympathetic pundits tried to deal with that question on programs like Morning Joe and be unable to answer the question. Clinton will have to find a way to answer that question herself, and she’ll have to find a way to differentiate herself from the Obama Administration while doing so.

The fact that Clinton will be running on her experience as Secretary of State, though, is the reason why Bengahzi will continue to be an issue for her. For better or worse, it stands as the singular worst moment of her tenure and there are plenty of questions that arise from the incident that opponents can continue to bring up from now until November 2016. Its something that both undercuts her efforts to paint a rosy picture of her tenure and the policies she helped implement and her arguments about executive competence. It’s far too early to tell whether it’s an issue that could actually impact her campaign, but poll numbers like the one above make it clear that Clinton ought to do something more than just treat questions about Benghazi with the dismissive tone she used during her last appearance before Congress as Secretary of State.

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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. Tillman says:

    I’m going to go ahead and put a self-imposed moratorium on commenting on any article that speculates about the fortunes of a possible 2016 contender. It contributes to the stretching of our presidential election season, and it’s repetitive and ridiculous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s far too early to tell whether it’s an issue that could actually impact her campaign, but poll numbers like the one above make it clear that Clinton ought to do something more than just treat questions about Benghazi with the dismissive tone she used during her last appearance before Congress as Secretary of State.

    Yes, if only Obama had treated the Birthers with the seriousness they deserved instead of laughing at them derisively…

    Really Doug, what would you have her do? I agree that Benghazi may well be a problem for her, but how should she counteract such ravings? The facts are out there. The questions have been answered. Republicans, as usual, refuse to accept them and instead have constructed an alternate universe.

    This is NOT an indictment of her so much as an indictment of the malinformed*** electorate.

    *** new word I just made up to more accurately describe exactly these situations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  3. legion says:

    Doug, you’re really carrying water here – you should know by now that literally _everything_ Republicans tell you is a bald-faced lie. Benghazi is in no way a “vulnerability” – it’s just the thing the GOP is yelling about today instead of addressing any substantive issue. In the almost two years since that attack, nothing that Issa and his poo-flinging monkeys have tossed out has stuck – Not. One. Thing. It’s a complete fantasy generated by the GOP for fundraising purposes that has, like everything else they talk about, no basis in reality. Eventually, all but the craziest conspiracy theorists will realize that the Republicans have produced nothing but noisy accusations and when that happens, they’ll make up some new lie to accuse Obama, Hillary, Biden, or whoever they thing might run against the GOP Clown Car in 2016. But “vulnerability” ain’t the word for that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  4. Senyordave says:

    Well, obviously Benghazi is everything, after all when W was presdient we didn’t have anything like it. Well, maybe a few like it.

    January 22, 2002: US consulate at Kolkata, 5 Killed
    June 14, 2002: US Consulate at Karachi, 12 Killed
    February 28, 2003: US Embassy at Islamabad, 2 Killed
    June 30, 2004: US Embassy at Tashkent, 2 Killed
    December 6, 2004: US Compound at Saudi Arabia, 9 Killed
    March 2, 2006: US Consulate in Karachi, 2 Killed
    September 12, 2006: US Embassy at Syria, 4 Killed
    March 18, 2008 US Embassy at Yemen, 2 Killed
    July 9, 2008: US Consulate at Istanbul, 6 Killed
    September 17, 2008 US Embassy at Yemen, 16 Killed
    TOTAL DEATHS: 60
    OUTRAGED REPUBLICANS: 0

    We should have traded McCain, Graham and a few more of the Republican trash for Bowe Bergdahl.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  5. C. Clavin says:

    Doug…seriously?
    Do you think Republicans have noticed that Benghazi is a vulnerability that they can exploit?
    Or do you think Republicans have created a fiction that some idiots…Jenos…actually believe?
    Water weighs 8 pounds to the gallon. Your arms must be tired from carrying it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Yeah, Doug, this is b.s. Benghazi matters only to people who will never vote Democrat ever for any reason. It is thus irrelevant.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  7. Rafer Janders says:

    For better or worse, it stands as the singular worst moment of her tenure

    There were eleven (11) separate attacks on US embassies and consulates while Colin Powell and Condi Rice were George W. Bush’s secretaries of state.

    I suppose the only reason that any of those attacks aren’t counted as the singular worst moments of their tenure are only because, from the faked WMD evidence to the illegal invasion of Iraq to the rise of Iran as Iraq’s closest sponsor to the descent into anarchy of Afghanistan to North Korea’s acquiring nuclear capacity, there were so many many more singularly worse moments….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  8. nitpicker says:

    “For better or worse, it stands as the singular worst moment of her tenure and there are plenty of questions that arise from the incident that opponents can continue to bring up from now until November 2016.”

    Any such questions have been asked and answered, despite the fact Republicans want to keep asking them. You can pretend this is going to hurt her chances, but it’s all about firing up the base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Correction, from looking at Senyordave’s list it appears only ten, and not eleven, embassy/consulate attacks under Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    For better or worse, it stands as the singular worst moment of her tenure and there are plenty of questions that arise from the incident that opponents can continue to bring up from now until November 2016.

    Are there plenty of NEW questions? Or just the same ones that have been asked and answered hundreds of times already?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  11. @legion:

    So the fact that the polls clearly show that public approval for her performance as SecState is negatively impacted by Benghazi are, what, a Republican fiction?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

  12. @michael reynolds:

    Yea that darn conservative bias at The Washington Post obviously influenced the poll results

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  13. jewelbomb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    So the fact that the polls clearly show that public approval for her performance as SecState is negatively impacted by Benghazi are, what, a Republican fiction?

    Sort of. While the polls might reveal something about public perception, that perception is clearly based on a Republican fiction that has been enabled by a spineless media. The fact that even the “good” conservative/libertarians are willing to take this nonsense seriously (“I’m merely reporting on public perception!”) is nauseating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  14. stonetools says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Really Doug, what would you have her do? I agree that Benghazi may well be a problem for her, but how should she counteract such ravings? The facts are out there. The questions have been answered. Republicans, as usual, refuse to accept them and instead have constructed an alternate universe.

    This is NOT an indictment of her so much as an indictment of the malinformed*** electorate.

    The problem here is Goebbel’s Law (yes I went there):

    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

    It’s plain that Fox News and the rest of the Right Wing BS Machine are following that law. They just keep yammering untruths about Benghazi, and it might eventually become a “truth” to its audience.
    Now the good thing about Goebbel’s Law is that he goes on to say this:

    The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    What this indicates is that so long as there is a free press out there where the lie can be refuted and denounced, the lie doesn’t have to become a “truth.” However, it does mean that you have to go out there and continue to refute the lie.
    A problem for liberals is that they seem to believe that ifyou thoroughly refute a lie once, that’s all that is necessary. Some liberals even seem to be believe that some right wing lies are so absurd they are self refuting.
    I think liberals are wrong about both of those things. I think lies need to be continually refuted as they are repeated. It’s a pain in the a$$ to have to do it, but I think it has to be done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Yes Doug…

    public approval for her performance as SecState is negatively impacted by…Republican fiction

    In other words…propaganda.
    Do you really not get that?
    Republicans have created a fantasy wholly unsupported by seven investigations. It’s tantamount to Death Panels.
    Until pundits…even pissant little hacks like you…call them on it our political system will remain as f’ed up as it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  16. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    So the fact that the polls clearly show that public approval for her performance as SecState is negatively impacted by Benghazi are, what, a Republican fiction?

    They show that if you lie loudly and often enough, as Republicans do, that many people who are relatively uninformed and disengaged from politics will believe those lies.

    As often, you neglect the real story: it’s not that Benghazi! is a problem for Hillary Clinton, it’s that Hillary Clinton has so few problems that Republicans feel compelled to make up fake problems, and a lot of gullible people (yourself included) fall for it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yea that darn conservative bias at The Washington Post obviously influenced the poll results

    You’re not seriously claiming that WaPo — home of Fred Hiatt — is a liberal paper, are you? It’s the home of Villager false-centrism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  18. Rafer,

    You’re not seriously making the tired old “skewed polls” argument?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  19. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    So the fact that the polls clearly show that public approval for her performance as SecState is negatively impacted by Benghazi are, what, a Republican fiction?

    So the fact that the polls clearly show that public approval for Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president is negatively impacted by claims he was born in Kenya are, what, a Republican fiction….?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  20. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You’re not seriously making the tired old “skewed polls” argument?

    Poor reading comprehension, Doug? So early in the morning? I said no such thing, but was addressing your claim that the Washington Post does not, indeed, have a conservative bias. (Or, more accurately, it has a bias towards power. The WaPo’s job is to comfort the comfortable, and to do so it often reflects a faux-centrist, Washington insider, Villager “both sides do it” tilt. Or, in Josh Marshall’s phrase, like a lot of the DC media it’s wired for Republicans).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  21. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You’re not seriously making the tired old “skewed polls” argument?

    Actually, Doug, let me slow this down for you so I can make sure you understand:

    The. poll. is. accurate. for. what. it. measures.

    But. what. it. measures. is. Americans’. susceptibility. to. repeated. propaganda.

    Therefore. the. real. story. is. why. are. Americans. so. susceptible. to. propaganda. and. why. do. pundits. such. as. yourself. allow. Republicans. to. get. away. with. spreading. lies. instead. of. calling. them. out. on. it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  22. stonetools says:

    In defence of Doug here, I think he is reporting on a Real Thing: that the RWBS machine’s constant BENGHAZI! propogandizing seems to be working. There’s no need to get mad at Doug about this: get mad that the RWBS Machine and its audience.
    Also, the Democrats need to get cracking on a way to counteracting this.Maybe we need a better left wing BS Machine. I thinks its clear that laughing at the RWBSM or trying to shame them into acting right isn’t working.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  23. @Rafer Janders:

    In other words, anything that potentially damages the Anointed One is propaganda.

    I find it interesting that nobody in this thread has addressed the other question. Namely, what exactly did Hillary accomplish at Foggy Bottom that recommends her for the Presidency?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    It’s hard for you and the rest of the Republican Commentariat to grasp more abstract concepts…simpler to tally up bodies I suppose…but I’d take our Foreign relations post Obama/Clinton to post Bush/Rice any day of the week.
    Of course the Sec of States job is to implement the President vision.
    I suggest you read this for more information…although it might provide actual information…which would run counter to your preconceived story.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_Clinton's_tenure_as_Secretary_of_State

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Look, Benghazi is no big deal here, especially when you weigh it against all the positive accomplishments of her four years as America’s Chief Diplomat. Really, when you look at such things as… um… er…

    Hey, someone throw me a bone here. She must have done SOMETHING besides fly around and burn jet fuel.

    Well, there was that “reset” with Russia… oh, yeah, never mind.

    OK, then. She at least has eight years in the Senate, when she… oh, crap, I’m stuck again.

    Hey, she voted for the invasion of Iraq, at least. Admittedly, she said later that she thought she was just voting to allow Bush to BLUFF, and didn’t think that he’d take the “authorization for the use of military force” and actually use military force, but who knew Bush would be so belligerent?

    And on a slightly related topic, anyone notice that all the White House talk about Bergdahl includes the phrase “leave no Americans in uniform behind?” Kind of an odd distinction to keep making, unless they’re trying to avoid comparisons to Benghazi…

    And finally, let’s never forget that Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty were just killed. It wasn’t like they were waterboarded or anything…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  26. al-Ameda says:

    Of course she’s vulnerable over Benghazi, after all, it was the worst foreign policy mishap in our nation’s history, and of course, it’s the worst State Department cover-up corruption case since the Cold War when, as we know, there were many known communists at State selling out our interests to the Soviet Union.

    This is an entirely manufactured crisis in government. Republicans haven’t been satisfied with the results of previous investigations, so they keep putting minutes back on the clock so that they can pay this game (and it is a game) until Hillary Clinton is damaged.

    That said, I’m not sure why the public is so cynical about our government, it just doesn’t make sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  27. jewelbomb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    In other words, anything that potentially damages the Anointed One is propaganda.

    It’s propaganda because it comports with the popularly accepted definition of propaganda. A refresher: “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  28. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    In other words, anything that potentially damages the Anointed One is propaganda.

    OK, I can’t defend this. I think even you yourself have admitted, Doug, is that there is no “scandal” there beneath the BENGHAZI! nonsense.

    I find it interesting that nobody in this thread has addressed the other question. Namely, what exactly did Hillary accomplish at Foggy Bottom that recommends her for the Presidency?

    Well , I know that she didn’t help lie the USA into a costly and unnecessary war. Low bar, it’s true, but two previous SoSs didn’t meet it. Otherwise, she did a solid but unsexy job of restoring our relationships with foreign overnments and institutions-relationships damaged by the Bush Administration

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  29. humanoid.panda says:

    This is a brilliant example of terrible polling. The word “dissaprove” in this context holds everything from “4 people died, in a remote outpost, so clearly someone f*eck up, but that’s part of life” to “Killery had Stephens killed because he knew all about Bill’s romance with Osama Bin Laden’s daughter.” One needs to dig much deeper to figure out whether the issue is a real vulnerability (my guess, it’s not, unless a republican attacks the underlying intervention and Hilllary’s general hawkishness, and only Rand Paul is has the chops to do that, and he has about 1:1,000 chance of actually beating her.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  30. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    In other words, anything that potentially damages the Anointed One is propaganda.

    And…you just lost the argument.

    Once again, let me show you how you just lost:

    (a) Use of the phrase “the Anointed One” (immediately disqualifying and the mark of a hack writer and a hack thinkers, that).

    (b) Not addressing the substance of anything I wrote.

    (c ) Not addressing the specific fact that most of the Republicans’ Benghazi! obsession is, indeed, propaganda, and carefully-crafted propaganda at that.

    If you have a non-hackish argument to make that Hillary Clinton herself bears some responsibility for Benghazi! that separates it from the ten (10) embassy/consulate attacks under Powell and Rice, please make it. But without that, it’s plainly a case of the GOP inflating a tragic but not very significant or unique attack for partisan political gain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  31. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And on a slightly related topic, anyone notice that all the White House talk about Bergdahl includes the phrase “leave no Americans in uniform behind?” Kind of an odd distinction to keep making, unless they’re trying to avoid comparisons to Benghazi…

    Please explain to me how getting a POW back from our enemies is in any way comparable to the manufactured Benghazi issue…in which 7 investigations by Republicans have failed to support any Republican accusations.
    Also please provide links to the comments of outrage you made when the 60 personnel listed above died. @Senyordave:

    Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  32. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And finally, let’s never forget that Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty were just killed. It wasn’t like they were waterboarded or anything

    Yes this was far more important that the 1983 terrorist bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon, where 240 Marines were killed, and we somehow neglected to run consecutive and repeated investigations of the Reagan Administration to determine what REALLY happened there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  33. C. Clavin says:

    Apparently Doug has decided to use his CDS to try and get over his ODS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  34. C. Clavin says:

    Kinda like switching to Scotch because you have a problem handling your Bourbon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  35. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Yea that darn conservative bias at The Washington Post obviously influenced the poll results ”

    Are you trying to mock the idea that the Necon Post is a right-wing rag?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  36. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: I was as pissed as everyone else when Reagan sent Jeanne Kirkpatrick out to say the attack was prompted by a newsletter put out by a guy in California, and not Islamic terrorists mad about our support of Israel. That was the most disgraceful display I’d ever seen, and he should have been impeached over it.

    And then there was the team that Nixon himself led the burglars into the Watergate Hotel. Good God, how did he get away from the Secret Service? They’d let him slip away once before, to go talk to anti-war protesters at the Lincoln Memorial back in 1970; they should have kept a closer watch on him.

    (For the sarcasm-impaired: a shorter version would be to say “it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.”)

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  37. beth says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    In other words, anything that potentially damages the Anointed One is propaganda.

    When you find yourself using the same terms and arguments as Rush Limbaugh, you should probably take a step back from the keyboard. I rarely agree with your positions but at least you can make a logical and coherent explanation for them. This is just right-wing nonsense and way below your talents.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  38. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    So the fact that the polls clearly show that public approval for her performance as SecState is negatively impacted by Benghazi are, what, a Republican fiction?

    No, they’re the direct result of Republican propaganda. As I said in my original comment, the longer this goes on with no actual, substantive, anything presented by the Republicans, this will fade back into static and be replaced by some other manufactured piece of propaganda.

    In other words – it’s not Benghazi that is impacting Clinton’s polls, it’s the GOP Noise Machine. The exact tune it plays doesn’t matter so long as tools like you keep requesting replays.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  39. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “In other words, anything that potentially damages the Anointed One is propaganda.”

    Now you’re just lying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  40. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    At least seven investigations by Republicans have found not supporting evidence for Republican accusations of a cover-up.
    Are you just f’ing daft, or what????
    Seriously Jenos…you’re a f’ing idiot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  41. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    (For the sarcasm-impaired: a shorter version would be to say “it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.”)

    Off-topic, but I’ve always thought this was a ridiculous saying. Of course it’s the crime — that’s what people are trying to cover up.

    And of course it contains a logical fallacy in that we don’t know about all the crimes that were successfully covered up…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  42. danimal says:

    If the polling starts to show centrists, true independents and moderate Democrats are turning on Hitlery over the BENGHAZI!!! scandal, then I’ll believe The Annointed One is in trouble. If a bunch of conservatives and Republicans focus their opposition to Clinton over BENGHAZI!!! and no one else cares, why should it be considered a liability? They’re going to find something to oppose, after all.

    BENGHAZI!!! is about as effective an attack as raising questions about Vince Foster’s suicide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  43. @beth:

    I’m not going to give Hillary a free pass no matter what the polls say. So, I suppose I can expect this kind of reaction in the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  44. anjin-san says:

    @ Doug

    the Anointed One

    So you are not settling for being a little hacky here, you are going all in?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  45. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Maybe you can detail the confluence of Benghazi and the tragedy of the commons for us. There must be one…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  46. stonetools says:

    TBH, I think we ought to move on from the question of whether the right wing BS about Benghazi is true-there’s really no logical argument you could make to convince Jenos-and on to the question of how Hillary can counteract it.
    Sure, as a first step you can refute it, but it seems this isn’t enough. Does anyone have any other strategy other than telling the RWBSM to stop lying( because I don’t think they’ll do that)?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  47. al-Ameda says:

    @beth:

    When you find yourself using the same terms and arguments as Rush Limbaugh, you should probably take a step back from the keyboard. I rarely agree with your positions but at least you can make a logical and coherent explanation for them. This is just right-wing nonsense and way below your talents.

    As you know Beth, “the Annointed One” is conservative media dog whistle stuff, designed to evince a response from democrats and liberals, after which conservatives will reflexively complain that democrats and liberals responded negatively to the dog whistle stuff. Also, by using dog whistle stuff, the conservative media is indicating that the content of their “complaint” is usually not as important as the dog whistle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  48. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    A free pass on a mythical issue?
    No…a man of your integrity wouldn’t want to do such a thing!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m not going to give Hillary a free pass no matter what the polls say.

    No one is arguing for a free pass. We would, however, like a factually accurate one.

    So, I suppose I can expect this kind of reaction in the future.

    Here at least your sense of whiny victimhood is correct: when you argue like a dishonest hack, you can expect to be treated like a dishonest hack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  50. @Rafer Janders:

    The only point I made is that, based on this poll and others, it is clear that the Benghazi thing is going to be an issue for her. You can say that’s based on propaganda, you can complain about Fox News. In the end, it really doesn’t matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  51. jewelbomb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The only point I made is that, based on this poll and others, it is clear that the Benghazi thing is going to be an issue for her. You can say that’s based on propaganda, you can complain about Fox News. In the end, it really doesn’t matter.

    Spoken like someone who believes that politics is nothing more than a game. The truth doesn’t matter one bit, what matters in how things can be spun to damage an opponent and who wins in the end. Depressing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  52. anjin-san says:

    The only point I made is that, based on this poll and others, it is clear that the Benghazi thing is going to be an issue for her.

    Really? How “Fair & Balanced” of you…

    the Anointed One

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  53. beth says:

    @Doug Mataconis: So you can’t make your case without resorting to hackery? Really? I thought better of you. Besides, if anyone anoints presidential candidates, it’s the Republicans with their “second place gets next nomination”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  54. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “In other words, anything that potentially damages the Anointed One is propaganda.”

    Umm, no. Propaganda is propaganda.

    I am constantly amazed that a person who regularly claims to believe in the marketplace of ideas believes that spreading lies and telling the truth have no value separate from what works to damage a candidate and what doesn’t. Are you looking to be the next Karl Rove?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  55. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You can say that’s based on propaganda, you can complain about Fox News. In the end, it really doesn’t matter.

    I’m so old I can remember when conservatives claimed to be the party of straight shooting, of objective fact and hard-edge measurement. When did the Right devolve into this post-modern, “there is no reality but what we say it is” mess? When did they start treating reality and language as only a social construct to be manipulated, instead of an observable fact reflecting the world as it is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  56. C. Clavin says:

    Quick…without Googling it…what did Thatcher do that qualified her to become Prime Minister?

    …and she’ll have to find a way to differentiate herself from the Obama Administration while doing so…

    OK…but differentiate in a general sense of evolving…growing…expanding.
    Obama came in on the heels of the absolute worst President ever.
    Clinton will be coming in on the heels of a very successful Presidency.
    Apples and Orangutans.
    Obama in ’09 promised to focus on 4 big things…economic recovery, health-care reform, education reforms, and a climate change response. He has done all of those, in addition to ridding us of OBL and Ghaddaffi, ending two wars his Republican predecessor started but couldn’t end, and managing Sandy as well as it could be managed.
    Clinton needs to aim at both expanding upon Obama’s legacy and creating her own.
    Differentiate, yes…but in a positive way. The last thing she needs to do is run away from Obama the way Gore ran away from her husband.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  57. Rafer Janders says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I am constantly amazed that a person who regularly claims to believe in the marketplace of ideas believes that spreading lies and telling the truth have no value separate from what works to damage a candidate and what doesn’t.

    The key word there is “claims.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  58. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The only point I made is that, based on this poll and others, it is clear that the Benghazi thing is going to be an issue for her. You can say that’s based on propaganda, you can complain about Fox News. In the end, it really doesn’t matter.

    And the only point I’m making is that it is clear that my calling the IRS and falsely claiming you massively cheat on your taxes is going to be an issue for you. You can say that’s based on an easily-disproven lie, you can complain about me lying about you. In the end, it really doesn’t matter….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  59. Gavrilo says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    And the only point I’m making is that it is clear that my calling the IRS and falsely claiming you massively cheat on your taxes is going to be an issue for you.

    I remember when Harry Reid did that to Mitt Romney. Good times!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  60. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m not going to give Hillary a free pass no matter what the polls say. So, I suppose I can expect this kind of reaction in the future.

    Doug, this statement right here underlines, italicizes, and bold-prints exactly why you get so much flack over posts like this: You say you won’t give “Hillary a free pass”, but your entire write-up gives Issa, Cruz, and the Benghazi Band-Wagon a “free pass” by treating their transparent lies as anything other than complete garbage. You are a hypocrite, sir, and I don’t buy a thing you’re selling.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @stonetools: Agreed. For whatever good it may do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  62. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:
    Please link to where Reid said Romney cheated on his taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  63. mantis says:

    Based on this poll, it does seem like a negative in Clinton’s column. I don’t see why folks are jumping on Doug for pointing that out.

    What remains to be seen, however, is how motivating an issue that is for voters, and how long it will remain an issue when the campaign is in full swing and voters learn more about Benghazi, including the presumed candidate’s answers on the issue. Most people are not political junkies and may know very little about Benghazi other than some people died in an attack and Republicans are pissed off about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  64. C. Clavin says:

    @mantis:
    Had Doug typed that Republicans had succeeded in manufacturing an issue from whole cloth with which they could in turn attack Clinton…it probably would have been much more successful than to just accept the veracity of the issue at face value.
    I mean seriously….that’s the real story here. Has this ever been done before on such a scale?
    Death Panels maybe. Swift-boating?
    As to the second part of your comment…I think Reynolds is right…the people who believe this nonsense…Jenos….were never going to vote for Clinton anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  65. stonetools says:

    @mantis:

    I think people jumping Doug is a sign of their frustration that the Republican strategy of lying their a$$es off about BENGHAZI! is working-and that they can’t think up a good strategy to counteract it.
    At least we know that Clinton, once she starts her campaign, will know to mount a vigorous reponse and not just pretend it will go away. That’s the mistake Kerry made. But its still not clear what that vigorous response should be.
    Right now, the only thing I think of is to respond in kind-say, start a whispering campaign that the head of a the Select Committee was caught in bed with a dead girl or live boy or something of the sort. That would not be ethical, of course. But that’s what Karl Rove would do.
    Short of going into the gutter, I can’t think of anything that would actually work. Maybe I need to channel Francis Underwood or Olivia Pope.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  66. mannning says:

    We seem to tolerate all manner of lies here: the cause of Benghazi; you can have your doctor and your insurance provider; I will empty Gitmo; The five Taliban leaders won’t return to the fight, that is baloney; and numerous others over the past 5 plus years. When do outright lies register with democrats and liberals, boldy stated by their elected and appointed officials, as really unacceptable behavior? Besides that, what difference does it make?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  67. C. Clavin says:

    @mannning:
    Oh…I see…you mean lies…like torture is only “enhanced interogation”, we know Saddam sought yellowcake from Niger, that Saddam Hussein possessed “a massive stockpile” of unconventional weapons and was directly “dealing” with Al Qaeda, the vast majority of tax cuts go to the bottom end of the ladder, that the deficit due to tax cuts will not be structural, that 60 lines of stem cells exist, that Medicare Part D is a fiscally responsible bill……and then there are the Death Panels and the Swift-Boats…and frankly the entire Benghazi nonsense…which 7 investigations to date come up empty on.
    Got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  68. Grewgills says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The problem with that for me is that my daughter will eternally be two years “behind” and my son, if he were freed from the homework, would be three years ahead.

    You have previously acknowledged that there is no legitimate scandal regarding Benghazi, so it doesn’t require you giving a ‘free pass’. If there was a real scandal rather than just right wing noise making about Benghazi and you received this push back you would have a point, absent that you are just perpetuating another phony scandal. I don’t always agree with you, but generally find your opinions considered, this is beneath you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  69. Grewgills says:

    @legion:

    You say you won’t give “Hillary a free pass”, but your entire write-up gives Issa, Cruz, and the Benghazi Band-Wagon a “free pass” by treating their transparent lies as anything other than complete garbage.

    THIS!!1!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  70. Grewgills says:

    @Grewgills:
    Crap, the blockquote was supposed to be

    I’m not going to give Hillary a free pass no matter what the polls say.

    That’s what I get for working on two comments at once with a baby in one arm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  71. Matt Bernius says:

    @Grewgills:

    That’s what I get for working on two comments at once with a baby in one arm.

    Dude. Seriously? Priorities.

    Commenting before progeny! BEFORE.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  72. An Interested Party says:

    Posts like this illustrate how worried people of a certain political persuasion really are…they can scream “BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” until they go hoarse, but that still won’t stop them from having to hear “Madame President” on January 20, 2017…

    Meanwhile…

    We seem to tolerate all manner of lies here…

    Oh really? Anyone who can accept that Iraq had WMD even after inspections proved otherwise will believe just about anything…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  73. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Namely, what exactly did Hillary accomplish at Foggy Bottom that recommends her for the Presidency?

    What exactly did Barack Obama accomplish in the Senate that recommended him for the presidency?

    What exactly did George W. Bush accomplish in Texas that recommended him for the presidency?

    What exactly did Bill Clinton accomplish in Arkansas that recommended him for the presidency?

    What exactly did George H.W. Bush accomplish as Vice President that recommended him for the presidency?

    What exactly did Jimmy Carter accomplish in Georgia that recommended him for the presidency?

    What exactly did Richard Nixon accomplish as Vice President that recommended him for the presidency?

    What exactly did LBJ…Ok, let’s skip that one, as he actually was a legislative giant.

    What exactly did Jack Kennedy accomplish in the Senate that recommended him for the presidency?

    You can see how this can go on….The truth is, it’s almost impossible to achieve any “accomplishments” that recommend one for the presidency without, paradoxically, being president first. The canvas is generally too small (with a few exceptions, like Dwight Eisenhower, who had the supreme command of Allied forces in Europe to recommend him). You have to grow into the job while on the job (or not, in George W. Bush’s case).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  74. mannning says:

    @An Interested Party:Yet another stupid and totally inaccurate line from you. You refuse to answer the fact of lies by Obama and minions, and instead try for an old saw that has no legs now; this is 2014, five plus years into the Obama world of lies. You assumed that I went for the WMD line! LOL! Or do you believe that Obama has the right to lie because of lies by previous presidents? You assumed that Bush lied about WMD? God help us!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  75. mannning says:

    @C. Clavin:

    So your justification is the same as AIP! All the past is justification for Obama lies? Don’t you think we deserve presidents that do not lie to the public, or do you accept lies as part of the process? God help you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  76. An Interested Party says:

    Don’t you think we deserve presidents that do not lie to the public…

    Umm, what we deserve and what we actually get are two very different things…which president never lied? God help your naïveté…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  77. wr says:

    @mannning: Also, you seem to have no clue what a lie actually is. Obama promised to close Guantanamo, that’s true. And then all the members of your party, and some idiot Democratcs, passed laws forbidding him to do so.

    That doesn’t make his vow a lie. At the very worst, it could be called a broken promise. More accurately, it is a thwarted promise.

    If he had said “I closed Guantanamo,” while the cowardly scumbags in your party was keeping him from doing that, that would have been a lie.

    But bascially to you, anything a Democratic president says is a lie. So your opinion here, as well as all your phony moral superiority, is absolutely worthless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  78. mannning says:

    @wr: Then, too, those who manufacture a false narrative are far worse than useless, they are minions of the Devil. You are not even close in your accusations, and you carefully missed the point: Obama and his people boldly lie to the nation over and over. This may be ok for liberals, progressives and democrats, but honest citizens truly want the lies to stop, and the liars to leave for good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  79. mannning says:

    @An Interested Party: Thanks for a good laugh! So you really do sign up for the club that excuses boldfaced lies to the public! I am happy not to see your name on any ballot! That past presidents also lied is absolutely no excuse for the lies today! I suggest you tell the world here why you accept repeated lies by the administration and the president, it should make interesting reading! But you do not have the guts to do that, I will bet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  80. LaMont says:

    Come on Doug!

    Hilary has to be potentially guilty of something before she can be given a free pass. What exactly won’t you give her a free pass from?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  81. LaMont says:

    @mannning:

    Obama and his people boldly lie to the nation over and over.

    This is a statement I have heard more often from conservatives since Pres. Obama’s “you can keep your insurance” quote. I suppose this statement somehow validated the false premise in every conservative mind that Pres. Obama “and his people” were lieing to the nation since he became president.

    If you can present just 2 more lies from the presdient’s mouth then you can call it a pattern. So please do so. The fact of the matter is, I really don’t think you can without a logical response describing why it is not a lie (i.e. Guantanomo Bay discussion). However, feel free to try.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  82. C. Clavin says:

    @mannning:
    Actually my point is one of degree.
    For over a year your kind complained about a bill that ran 2700 pages. And you decide one line used to promote it is a lie…although if you examined it honestly it would actually be called a mistake.
    No matter…that pales in comparison to the death of 4000 troops and the cost of 2 trillion dollars at the hands of Obama’s predecessor and his lies.
    And God isn’t going to help you…she doesn’t even know who you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  83. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    And by the way…I kept my doctor and my insurance…so it ain’t much of a lie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  84. wr says:

    @mannning: In other words, you have invented a new meaning for the word “lie,” and you’re sticking to it even when that’s pointed out. Explain to us how the promise to close Guantanamo, attempted by the president and thwarted by congress, is a lie. Try to do it without frothing at the mouth and screeching about “minions from Satan.” Really, that doesn’t help your case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  85. al-Ameda says:

    @mannning:

    We seem to tolerate all manner of lies here: the cause of Benghazi; you can have your doctor and your insurance provider; I will empty Gitmo; The five Taliban leaders won’t return to the fight, that is baloney; and numerous others over the past 5 plus years. When do outright lies register with democrats and liberals, boldy stated by their elected and appointed officials, as really unacceptable behavior? Besides that, what difference does it make?

    L O L
    Ripped from the ‘front page’ of conservative talking point media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  86. anjin-san says:

    @ wr

    Silence, minion!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  87. An Interested Party says:

    But you do not have the guts to do that, I will bet.

    I do have the guts to laugh at you for your frothy mixture of nuttiness…”minions of the Devil”…really? Make sure you take your meds before you post any further comments here…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  88. mannning says:

    @An Interested Party: Exactly as I expected! No guts at all! To cap it off you assume the role of editor of this blog, which you are not. The more sickening fact is that you cannot find an excuse for presidential lies, so you resort to personal attacks. This, in my book, is disgusting and unacceptable, but entirely expected from your ilk. Defending the repeated lies of the president and his administration makes you just as guilty a liar.

    Quite a few liberals and progressives seem to rush, not to the defense of Obama lies, but to make an attempt to quash the reports and the reporters, or to apply spin after spin saying nothing to see here, move on! Does Saul Alinsky ring a bell? Does Benghazi? Does ACA? Does IRS? Does the VA?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  89. mantis says:

    @mannning:

    Does Saul Alinsky ring a bell? Does Benghazi? Does ACA? Does IRS? Does the VA?

    They obviously ring a bell for you. Drool, Pavlov’s doggie! Drool!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  90. mannning says:

    @mantis: Why yes, exactly what I said! Attack the person not the problem of lies! Or, spin, spin, spin! Like a top! So very predictable! What is worse, your kind doesn’t even realize the gravity of a presidential lie. And, simply HAS to bring up history, seemingly to prove something or other, perhaps “:they all do it” as justification for lies today! Not very bright, not at all. So very sad, and probably a root cause of our misery today, so much spin around that the woods take over and there are no trees! Ugh!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  91. mannning says:

    @wr: / Explain to us!!!! lol. Nope. You think you are the ring leader here? You are not. You tell me why the president lied about Obamacare and Benghazi? That is the important thing–the lies. And don’t try to say that his one line versus 2,900 pages of legislation is simply a mistake. He repeated that lie at least seven times over months, or did his cohorts not inform him that he was in great error in all that time?. Either way, it shows incompetence and spin and outright lies, especially of omission!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1