Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds her own against GOP senators during Benghazi hearing
U.S. Senate hearings are pure theater for big-headed politicians. I'm still astonished, though, when lawmakers end up embarrassing themselves more than the person they are seeking to humiliate.
Republicans waited for weeks to grill Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her role in the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi. A series of ailments — including a blood clot — prevented Clinton from appearing sooner before the panel. The GOP and their surrogates on cable news shamelessly accused Clinton of faking her injuries.
Here's video of her opening statement:
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., still criticized the lapse in security, but he also managed to be respectful in his questioning. Can't say the same of two other Republicans on the panel— freshman Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Here's an excerpt from her fiery Q&A with Johnson:
Both exchanges reeked of opportunism. ("I'll show my base how tough I really am!") In the end, both men sounded childish.
Slate's Dave Weigel says the Republicans "blew it."
All congressional hearings are invitations for preening, showboating, and not-a-question-but-a-comment speeches. The grilling of Hillary Clinton was worse: a repetitive series of losing rematches, of Republicans asking questions that had been asked and answered and asked and answered.
Washignton Post Columnist Dana Milbank framed it best.
Only gadfly Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) still had the stomach to fight with Clinton. “Had I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi . . . I would have relieved you of your post,” he charged.
“Ohhh!” exclaimed one of Clinton’s aides, appalled.
But Paul, a man of exotic opinions, is never going to be president, and Clinton deflected his provocation with a mild reply: “I believe in taking responsibility, and I have done so.”
That may have been Clinton’s most cutting response to a critic: Letting him know he’s not worth wasting her breath.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics