Adventures in Cluelessness

First off, Newt demonstrates why he really needs to shut up and go quietly to the Old Hornytoads Home.

Today Darrell Issa returned to the claim that President Obama did not call the Benghazi attacks a “terrorist act,” but an “act of terror,” which means something entirely different.

What can one say but … please proceed, congressman.

Joan Walsh notices that some on the Right no longer comprehend the difference between real and phony allegations.

The National Journal’s Ron Fournier tweeted “Welcome to the 90s,” with no apparent irony or self-awareness about the role of the media in ginning up that decade of phony scandals that paralyzed our last popular second-term Democratic president, Bill Clinton.

In fact, Fournier contends Benghazi will hurt Clinton and President Obama, even though he acknowledges the GOP’s claims are overblown. “If nothing else, Benghazi is a blow to the credibility of the president and his potential successor, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. This could be big … Credibility is Clinton’s vulnerability, dating to the unjustified financial accusations that triggered the Whitewater investigation. Doubts persisted about her veracity and authenticity throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.”

Read that again: “Credibility is Clinton’s vulnerability, dating to the unjustified financial accusations that triggered the Whitewater investigation.” The accusations were unjustified, Fournier admits, but they hurt Clinton anyway. Why? Because reporters continued to act like they were justified, even in the face of contrary evidence.

And so it goes with Benghazi. Welcome to the ’90s!

I’d rather not go back there, thanks, especially if I have to re-live the ’00s.

Update: Ok, here’s another one. Today Marco Rubio called for the resignation of the IRS Commissioner. Jonathan Chait explains why that is a problem — currently, the position of IRS Commissioner is vacant.

The IRS commissioner from that period is already gone.

The IRS commissioner during the probe was Donald Shulman, a holdover from the Bush administration. He left his job last November. There’s an acting commissioner right now, but he assumed his acting role well after the Cincinnati probe ended. The position of IRS commissioner is vacant, which may explain why Rubio’s letter calls for “the IRS Commissioner’s resignation” but doesn’t name whom Rubio wants to resign. Does he want the acting commissioner to resign? The old commissioner to re-resign? Appoint a new commissioner and then force that person to immediately resign?

How many Republicans does it take to make a measurable IQ? That’s what I want to know.

The Pity Party

It’s a happy day in Rightie World. It has been determined that the part of the IRS that oversees and approves tax-exempt status was putting right-wing groups under heavier scrutiny than normal. This has given the Right plenty of cause to whine and wallow in self-pity, which of course is what they live for.

This was not good on the part of the IRS of course. But I’ve slogged through a couple of articles and cannot determine if any organization was actually harmed or even somewhat inconvenienced. Even so, this will be all we hear about for the next several weeks. Well, this and Benghazi.

speaking of which, Kevin Drum observes,

… the real giveaway about this whole thing is that it keeps changing whenever it’s debunked. Originally, the story retailed by Charles Woods, the father of Benghazi victim Tyrone Woods, revolved around the notion that Obama had a live video feed of Benghazi and refused to let a fast-response team deploy even though he knew they could get there in time. That wasn’t true, so another story developed that General Carter Ham was ready to send in a team, received an order to stand down, and was going to disobey orders and send them in anyway. But then his second in command apprehended him and told him that he was now relieved of duty. That wasn’t true either. So then we got a story about a team in Tripoli that Obama refused to deploy. Then a story about a C-110 team in Croatia that could have gone in but wasn’t allowed to. And finally, last week, a different story about a different team in Tripoli that could have gone in the next morning but didn’t.

And when that last story turns out not to be true, they’ll think up another one.

Encouragingly, Public Policy Polling finds that voters trust former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Benghazi over the GOP, by a 49/39 margin.