Richard Fernandez @ The Belmont Club:
The hearing on Benghazi has made one thing abundantly clear. The Democratic Party will do whatever it takes to bury the Benghazi consulate attack issue. The chief defense against the accusations raised is that there’s nothing to see in that ‘long ago’ event which is not simply partisan and political in nature.
Everything from filibusters, administrative delays, backhanded intimidation — the works — has been thrown into the defense. And defenders of the administration will point out that these are merely the same tactics Republicans have used in the budget and gun regulation debates and are simply being paid back in their own coin.
Yet that would be to imagine that nothing of importance is at stake. That what is at issue is mere partisan political preference, no more significant than a choice of ties or socks to be worn to a dinner party. The only response will be an appeal to substance: to right and wrong. That the battles over the budget, the Second Amendment and especially Benghazi were in fact political in the sense of ‘concerning policy’. That the Benghazi hearings are political in the best meaning of the term: not in the sense of trivial point scoring or character assassination but over genuine difference in the direction the ship of state should take.
However the distinction between what is good for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and the best interests of the Democratic Party has become blurred by loyalty and their immense influence in the party. The retainers are serving their lords even when it works against them.
It is in the long-term interest of the Democratic Party for their foreign policy in the Middle East to succeed, because even with the press on their side they cannot wholly escape the effects of failure. By contrast candidates have shorter cost/benefit horizons. They only need to survive long enough to get theirs. Once that is done their loyal serfs are left to make shift as best they can. Defending the leadership at the cost of courting a foreign policy disaster must mean that the Party will eventually hold the bag.
But anyone who thinks Hillary and Barack will reward them for their sacrifice should ask themselves how Chris Stevens fared when he pleaded for help. Can they expect better?
So the basic problem with defending Benghazi at all costs is that a political party has effectively painted itself into the corner of failure; maneuvered as it were by Darrel Issa into taking the wrong side, into reinforcing failure just to prove they can do it. They have to keep eating the broken glass if only to demonstrate that it is delicious.