Huckabee: Benghazi will Take Down the President (Worse than Watergate!)
Apparently, Benghazi has not faded (at least not for some).
Via Politico: Huckabee: Benghazi will drive Obama from office
“I believe that before it’s all over, this president will not fill out his full term. I know that puts me on a limb,” the former Arkansas governor said on “The Mike Huckabee Show.” “But this is not minor. It wasn’t minor when Richard Nixon lied to the American people and worked with those in his administration to cover-up what really happened in Watergate. But, I remind you — as bad as Watergate was, because it broke the trust between the president and the people, no one died. This is more serious because four Americans did in fact die.”
First, he is not out on a limb insofar as he is telling his audience what they want to here.
Second, this is not a new formulation (i.e, people died, hence it is worse than Watergate). However, the unfortunate fact is that a lot of American have died due to the failure of the government to prevent it for whatever reason (see: 9/11) or have died because of poor policy choices in the context of dubious public claims by presidents (see: Viet Nam and Iraq). Beyond that, I do not have time to list all of the cases of Americans, diplomats included, who have died during given presidential terms.
Really, the deployment of “Watergate” in a political conversation is done for the same reason people use “fascist” or “Nazi”: it is synonymous with “bad” even if the user of the word uses it imprecisely and if the listener really doesn’t know a full definition of the term in question. Most people almost certainly do not know the details of the Watergate scandal, but they know that a) it is considered the worse political scandal of all time (at least that anyone can remember), and b) it eventually let to Richard “Tricky Dick” NIxon’s, he of “I am not a crook” fame, resignation. What more do you need to know?
And if Banghazi is worse than all that, well it must be pretty horrible, yes?
But, does Huckabee actually believe all this? Probably not, but it makes for a nice political issue for 2014:
Huckabee, however, said his predication about Obama “will not happen” if the Democrats seize control of the House and retain control of the Senate next year.
“If they’re able to get control of the House and maintain the Senate, this will not happen because they won’t let it happen,” Huckabee said.
“And they won’t let it happen not because they’re protecting just the president, they’re trying to protect their entire political party. If they try to protect the president and their party, and do so at the expense of the truth, their president and their party will go down. Now, here’s what I’m going to suggest will happen — as the information and facts begin to come out, it will become so obvious that there was a concerted and very, very deliberate attempt to mislead this country and its people to lie to Congress, as well as to you.”
In other words: in case Republicans voters need a reason to be motivated to vote in the mid-terms, here it is.
Just in terms of rational discourse, the following is maddening:
“When a president lies to the American people and is part of a cover-up, he cannot continue to govern,” Huckabee said. “And as the facts come out, I think we’re going to see something startling. And before it’s over, I don’t think this president will finish his term unless somehow they can delay it in Congress past the next three and a half years.”
Here’s the maddening part: it asserts that a) the truth is not out, but b) that the speaker somehow has special knowledge about said truth. However, there is a) no evidence that the truth is not out, and b) the speaker is just making unsubstantiated claims. If the speaker, in fact, has access to unrevealed truth that would support the assertions in question, then the speaker should provide said evidence. And yet, there is no evidence, there is just assertion.
Beyond that: I have never had any one provide a clear explanation of what the precise lies are supposed to have been in regards to these events. It just seems to me that if one is going to claims that there are “lies” and a “cover-up” (especially one of such gravity that it can bring down a president) that one ought to have some idea as to have was lied about and what was covered up.
And yes, I know that there is new testimony in the news from Gregory Hicks (as Doug Mataconis has already noted) that is going to bring the story back to the forefront (CBS: Diplomat: U.S. Special Forces told “you can’t go” to Benghazi during attacks):
According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”
Hicks told congressional investigators that if the U.S. had quickly sent a military aircraft over Benghazi, it might have saved American lives. The U.S. Souda Bay Naval Base is an hour’s flight from Libya.
“I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them,” Hicks testified.
Now, would I like to hear more about the assertion concerning Gibson? Sure. Does this sound like the kind of thing that brings down a President? Not so much. I am not even sure we have anything that resembles a scandal here.
In regards to the aircraft issue: that is just Hicks’ opinion and nothing more. It may well be true, but it is hardly the basis of a scandal.
Also, Jonathan Bernstein makes an excellent point (The real Benghazi story: The dogs that aren’t barking):
What’s a shame is that while there may not be any real massive conspiracies and cover-ups, there very well may be real instances of administration errors and worse throughout the government. There always are! But uncovering them requires hard work, and might only turn up low-level malfeasance in agencies that most Fox News viewers have never heard of and don’t care about. So House Republicans, who have the position to investigate real wrongdoing, don’t bother. Finding out that some low-level appointee did something real but relatively minor might result in better government, but it’s not guaranteed to get mentioned by all the conservative talk radio hosts. So: Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, and never mind whether the government is actually functioning properly or not.
Indeed. I would be quite supportive of a Congress that actually took its oversight responsibilities seriously.