I know there was probably a time where those who supported a Benghazi inquiry were able to deftly maintain that their interests had nothing to do with politics. But with no one really interested in pursuing a critique of the Libyan intervention itself -- of which four dead Americans were a predictable, natural consequence -- there's little left to do but focus on the horserace.

So here's the National Review, pivoting all the way to 2016:

nr cover clinton benghazi

May as well give it a shot, I guess! One of the galling things for the Benghazi Agonistes crowd is that Clinton's favorability ratings have actually ticked slightly upward in the past three months.

At any rate, this is a pretty good indication that the substantive period of Benghazi inquiry is now passing, which is too bad, because a searching look at the policies that led to it might chill those with ambitions to begin a similar misadventure in Syria.

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  • A burnt out vehicle sits smoldering in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi, late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A broken window after an attack on the U.S. Consulate by protesters in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • The U.S. Consulate after an attack by protesters in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A burnt car is seen after an attack on the U.S. Consulate by protesters in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • Soot and debris spills out of the U.S. Consulate after an attack by protesters in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The graffiti reads, "no God but God," " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A man walks on the grounds of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • Glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room in the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A man walks through a room in the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • Libyans walk on the grounds of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • Libyans walk on the grounds of the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi, late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi, late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A vehicle burns after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A vehicle and surrounding buildings smolder after they were set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi, late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • LIBYA CONSULATE

    Map locates Benghazi, Libya, where the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack