Hillary Clinton has got this politicking thing down. After years of back and forth, at a cost to taxpayers, of course, the final GOP Benghazi report means Hillary Clinton has been right all along. And everyone is going to have to get off of her back about the 2012 attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, along with two other CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, who were killed at an attack later in the night at another compound. Around 10 others were injured in the attacks.
As Secretary of State at the time, Clinton was under fire from Senate Republicans for her and the State Department's course of action leading up to, and during, the attacks. Today's report is meant to be the final, definitive, report of the timeline of events. The New York Times reports that there is pretty much nothing new that comes out of their report: There were security gaps, but ultimately, there was nothing that the administration could have done, with what they had, that would have prevented the attack or the deaths of four Americans.
That doesn't mean they didn't try, though. In the report, though they concede the timeline that the Democrats prepared, they take some hits at the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. The GOP committee wrote that "the assets ultimately deployed by the Defense Department in response to the Benghazi attacks were not positioned to arrive before the final lethal attack. The fact that this is true does not mitigate the question of why the world’s most powerful military was not positioned to respond."
The Clinton campaign responded in kind. "This Committee's chief goal is to politicize the deaths of four brave Americans in order to try to attack the Obama administration and hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign," they said in a statement. Clinton added that it is now time to "move on."
And it is. Due diligence is good. Investigations and hearings after events like this are what make America great, all the time. The fact of the matter is that after 11 reports and 33 hearings on the events of that night, no one on the Republican side will let it go. And it's personally targeted at Clinton. In September 2015, House majority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California said that the investigations were hurting her poll numbers because she's "untrustable." Listen, spellcheck keeps telling me that that's not a word, but who's going to tell McCarthy that he needs to up his vocab game and his priorities when it comes to cracking the Benghazi code?
The GOP's obsession with punishing Clinton is akin to older siblings reminding you of that time you peed your pants on a road trip once years ago. Sure, could things have been done, hours, days in advance to prepare your bladder? Could your father have not taken the bridge at beach traffic rush hour? Why weren't there water bottles to pee in? Who threw out the trash at the rest stop and why didn't you use the bathroom there?
American lives were lost and that's a whole lot more than sibling pride and a pair of sweatpants, but it's this incessant line of questioning that ignores the fact that mistakes were made. The Obama administration and Clinton and the Democratic report says as much. Raking Clinton over the coals again and again is not going to change anything.
Hillary's insistence at moving on at this point isn't about being glib about the severity of the attack and the lives that were lost. It's about there not being anything else to do at this point. This final report, if anything, only shows that the Republicans are stubborn and intent on trying to take her down politically. But since they've wasted all of this time and money and come up with nothing new, it only works in her favor. She can now point to the incessant hearings and speculation as another example of the ineptitude of the Senate Republicans.
At this point, they just sound like mean older brothers who won't let a terrible and tragic event be what it is. Any Republican who brings up Benghazi this summer will sound like a stubborn bully. Don't think Clinton won't be using that as she campaigns this summer.