We recommend that you read all of Ed Kilgore’s excellent Washington Monthly posts on last night’s debate, including his live-blogging. For now, we’ll just flag Kilgore’s “Tripping Over the Threshold Of an Actual Issue” with these graphs about Romney’s Benghazi Blunder:
Conservatives have now had over a month to tie their endless finger-pointing over the events in Benghazi to some larger theme, and have basically failed. If I were them, I’d probably argue the whole series of incidents shows that the administration (and Democrats generally) think the Global War on Terror–which they never much believed in to begin with–ended with the killing of Osama bin Laden, and have been proven very dangerously wrong. But instead, some conservative have gotten distracted by their Islamophobia into going nuts over the administration’s “apologies” for an obnoxious video, and others have gotten distracted by their lust for war with Iran into making this all about “signals” of America’s “lack of resolve.” And Mitt Romney’s done a little of everything without much clarity.
Last night he stumbled on the threshold of another opportunity to make the Libya killings a major issue by getting an important fact wrong. Had he not done so, he would have still probably devolved into incoherent non sequiturs about the killings somehow emboldening Iran or upsetting the Only Ally In the Whole Wide World Who Matters, Bibi Netanyahu. I suppose he’ll have another few days to get his argument together before the final debate. But the idea that he got “hosed by the ref” at Hofstra is absurd. He planned a hit on Obama, and just screwed it up.
Expect the Republican whining about Crowley calling Romney out for his ill-considered b.s to continue ad infinitum. Meanwhile, read Kilgore’s full post right here.