Before the hearings, I warned my students that the GOP had a lot more to lose from the hearing than Clinton. Knowing they would be confused, I elaborated. Like anything else political, partisans on both sides of the aisle will observe and comment exactly as they want to fit their narratives. Republicans will claim she was "dishonest" and was clearly "hiding" information because that is all they were seeking from her testimony. Democrats would view the hearings as a sham and a partisan waste of taxpayers' money. Still with me on this? I then explained that the GOP had a limited window to conduct a successful hearing. Ask specific and direct questions and demand specific and direct responses. Avoid interjecting personal "theories" by demanding "yes" or "no" responses. If the hearing was not going as planned, cut it off. Do not go around and around in a marathon session until you might catch the witness in a "gotcha question" to be exploited by your party and supporting media. If you go too far into the hearings, you will formulate a narrative for the Democrats that Clinton is being used as a partisan scapegoat who has by your own hands, become a victim or martyr. And by all means, do not give her a free platform during prime time television hours to look "presidential." You see, the risks of doing so were so obvious, first year students of political science could recognize them.
So what does the GOP-led Committee do? Exactly what they should not have done. Clinton emerged from the hearings unscathed and emboldened in the eyes of the Democrats - all courtesy of the Republicans. The Republicans? As Hearing Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) proclaimed, “I don’t know that she testified that much differently today than she has the previous times she’s testified." (See: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/hillary-clinton-benghazi-hearing-11-key-moments-215066). Bottom line, Partisans continue to state that Clinton personally killed our Ambassador and three others and should be in jail. Democrats continue to be outraged by the personal attacks on their eventual nominee and have begun to come out of the woodwork to support her campaign financially.
What did America get out of the most recent Benghazi hearing? More division and no answers. We know no matter what that four Americans died in Benghazi. We know, no matter the cause, terrorists killed them. We know (from the prior seven investigations) that the DOD and the CIA handled the response to the attacks. We know Obama and Clinton may have "fudged" the claims about the attack in the height of an election campaign. See, they LIED! But isn't the real outrage based upon Obama being re-elected and Romney losing? Wasn't Romney going to lose anyway? And lying to promote ones campaign stature isn't new. Every president, and for that matter, every politician has massaged information to "spin" it to their favor. Was Benghazi a tragedy? Absolutely. But is it the only time we have had an intelligence failure in our history? Of course not. What has happened is obvious. Right Wing Partisans will swear Clinton is a liar and cannot be trusted. Left Wing Partisans will believe the claims are without merit. So where do we go from here? Instead of recognizing the rift between the parties and their respective bases, each side will continue to work both sides against the middle - which is unhealthy for our democracy.
Does anyone think impeaching Clinton on the first day of her presidency for High Crimes is an appropriate remedy? Apparently, Republican Congressman Mo Brooks (Ala) thinks so. (See http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/hillary-clinton-responds-impeachment-threat-215129). What makes me wonder is what type of actual thinking is involved in making such a statement. The Constitution forbids indicting someone for actions taken when none were illegal at the time of their commission. It's called Ex Post Facto. (See Article I, Section 9, United States Constitution). Having a private server and emails on the job as Secretary of State was not illegal when Clinton was in office (it did not become prohibited at law until after she left office). So why make such a statement knowing it can never happen? To continue the talking points and narratives that suit their particular base of support. And as I have been writing for years, to also de-legitimize any future president so partisans can continue to block any programs and appointments coming out of the White House. And what does it say about our democracy? If Clinton is elected, the Republicans will continue to believe she "stole the election?" Those voting for her aren't "real Americans?" I thought elections were democratic expressions? Not according to Rep. Brooks and his supporters. But are Republicans solely to blame for this phenomena? Sadly, it is engrained as normal operating procedure by both political parties. Does it benefit America? Absolutely not.
How do we get people to back away from the trough of easy "low hanging bait" to be gobbled up by unsuspecting Americans as the gospel truth? Force the Media to be honest brokers of information and stop them from being publicity extensions of the political parties, that's how! Frankly, I am tired of hearing Fox News Sucks. MSNBC sucks. CNN sucks. NBC sucks. They ALL do. They ALL are dishonest. They ALL have chosen to generate audiences based upon partisan punditry in order to bolster viewership numbers which leads to advertising dollars. Why are Americans so clueless about this sad fact? Why do Americans fail to recognize the media for what it is when they constantly use terms like: "Clinton may have..." Trump could be...". "May have.., could be..." means speculation without a basis in fact. This is nothing more than interjecting opinion knowing viewers will bite the bait and internalize the statement as truth. Any lawyer would recognize this technique...and any judge would rule it inadmissible as nothing more than speculation.
Take a look at message boards on social media and you will see (unless using partisan glasses) that the media has created a ton of mistrust and divisive hatred. Where can this lead our great nation except further into the abyss? Ronald Reagan is credited with "Restoring America." Would Reagan succeed in doing so in the climate we have today with the state of our contemporary media? How could anyone? As President Ronald Reagan once said; "Politics is just like show business. You have a hell of an opening, coast for a while, and then have a hell of a close." Isn't it time we get away from the "show" part of politics, and instead get down to the real business at hand? Have a great week!