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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Benghazi Witch Hunt Strengthens Clinton

From “The Benghazi true believers conduct their witch hunt” by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen:

Washington has seen witch hunts before — the McCarthy period comes to mind — but never one where the target was a real woman. As with witches, the Hillary Clinton concocted by the Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi does not exist. She is a harridan so evil that she would allow an American installation in Libya to be overrun by terrorists, permit the American ambassador and three others to be killed, cover up the crime with a smokescreen of duplicitous press releases, confine the incriminating truth to a private e-mail server, confide only in a shadowy aide with the code name Sidney Blumenthal and somehow in all this funnel huge amounts of money, possibly billions in Saudi riyals, Chinese renminbi and God only knows how much in bitcoins and Las Vegas casino chips, to a foundation that is doing astounding work in Haiti and Rwanda while, of course, doing something nefarious that will come out only in time. Only Hillary Clinton is capable of such monstrous activity. The Witch!

For Benghazi-obsessed Clinton-haters, she is more like a comic book villain designed for jr. high school C-students, than a reflection of reality. The astounding thing, notes Cohen, is that this is not merely political meme-mongering to them; they actually believe it. As Cohen says,

It occurred to me as I watched the hearing that some Republican members of this gong show of a committee actually believed what they were saying. This was a depressing and frightening realization. I thought all along that the hearings were just about politics — you know, an effort to damage Clinton if and when she becomes the Democratic presidential nominee.
…As the hearings droned on, it occurred to me that the Republicans on the committee actually believed in what they were doing. The questions were so stupid, either already answered or contradicted by the evidence — the evidence! damn the evidence — that what we were observing was sort of a religious ritual. Here was a display of belief. Here in the most sinful city of all was a display of faith. They believed. They believed in the evil of Hillary Clinton.
…This was madness on display. This was a glimpse into the mentality of an America that is unhinged by the prospect of a Clinton presidency, which is seen as a continuation of an Obama presidency which, when you think about it, is all rooted in the evil of Roosevelt and how he expanded the federal government. This is a piece of America that ties up Congress, that won’t raise the debt ceiling — the hell with our credit rating — and that could, with only a change of costume, take roles in the musical “Hamilton,” playing the gents who wanted to keep the government small and, by the way, ineffective. Chairman Trey Gowdy — he looks the part. Maybe he can sing.

There is a palpable element of sexism in their demonization of Clinton. You can see the fear and ugly contempt in some of the faces of the Benghazi hearings inquisitors. They simply can’t handle the notion of a strong woman who stands up to them. She must be the embodiment of raw evil. Ditto for the Black president. The infantile ‘Freedom Caucus’ Republicans don’t demonize their white adversaries with equal vehemence — they get a pass on silly memes about their country of origin and faith, if not their patriotism.
What is remarkable is how well Clinton holds up under all this idiocy. After 11 hours of inane ‘gotcha’ questions and snide comments from some of the more witless House Republicans, Clinton likely emerged even stronger to smart voters who are paying attention. She is not only more battle-tested than any of the presidential contenders of either party; the Republicans don’t seem to realize that they are actually improving her political persona, as she learns how to handle their kamikaze attacks with increasing grace, dignity and humor.
Whether Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination and presidency or not, she is becoming a better candidate every day. The Democratic party certainly needs more women candidates to win a stable majority, and Clinton’s impressive example may prove instructive for down-ballot women Democrats, as well as for the party’s future presidential candidates.

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