The quip from incoming house speaker Kevin McCarthy says all that needs saying when it comes to the ongoing, continual, meaningless political game the Republicans are playing with Benghazi. Republicans have cheapened the narrative over Benghazi and proved they are intent only on playing in the shallow end of the pool. What they should be more concerned about is how this plays with an electorate that is not in the mood for more of the same from congress. Using committee hearings on Benghazi for political gain does not restore the institution of congress or move this nation forward.
ABC’s Rick Klein made that clear today.
House speakers only occasionally speak for the House. When they do speak, people listen – though those people do not necessarily include those who chose the speaker to lead, at least not recently. It’s the public scrutiny that matters, and that’s what makes the comments by the likeliest next speaker, Kevin McCarthy, so damaging to himself and to the House Republican brand he’d be charged with improving. In the space of a few sentences in a television interview, the current House majority leader threatened to undo years’ worth of careful work by Rep. Trey Gowdy, and House Speaker John Boehner in separating the Benghazi inquiry from presidential politics. “We put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy said. The “her,” of course, is Hillary Clinton, whose campaign has been looking for such admissions to dismiss the ongoing work being led by Gowdy. Boehner has been uncommonly blunt over the years in admitting that there are parts of his job that are making policy, and parts that are making politics. There’s a zone for both, and McCarthy forgot that lesson at a critical moment.