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Joan E. Dowlin Headshot

GOP: The Party of 'Anti-Ism' and Benghazi Rage

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It has become more and more clear to me that today's Republican party has truly embraced being the opposition party. They seemed opposed to, well, everything that President Obama and the Democratic party have proposed.

Republican legislators are on the record as being anti-raising the minimum wage, anti-extending unemployment benefits, anti-food stamps, anti-Obamacare, anti-jobs bills, anti-infrastructure building, anti-FEMA spending (unless it is their personal district), anti-environment regulations, anti-clean energy, anti-tax fairness, anti-voting rights, anti-background checks for gun purchases, anti-education spending, anti-college loan reforms, anti-marijuana legalization, anti-unions (especially teachers' unions), anti-government workers, anti-Wall Street and banking regulations, anti-campaign finance reform, and anti-government spending of any kind unless it's the military.

Those are just the policy initiatives. With social issues, the GOP has been accused of being anti-women (anti-birth control and anti-abortion), anti-poor (anti-welfare and food stamps), anti-gay (especially same sex marriage), anti-Muslim, anti-Immigration reform (thus anti-Hispanic), anti-black (anti-Affirmative Action), anti-Hollywood, anti-Atheism and pretty much any religion that is not Christianity, anti-youth (pot and college loans being the issues), and anti-senior citizens (wanting to privatize Social Security and Medicare).

So the question is who is left? I think GOP now stands for the Grumpy Old Party. Their main voting bloc is now older white males. Their latest obsession with Benghazi highlights their desperation for an issue to stir up their base. I believe they want to get the conversation off of the economy (288,000 new jobs in April), off racism (after statements by Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling), and even off Obamacare -- which is gaining in popularity.

I'm not saying there is not some legitimacy in the Republican's point of view that the White House tried to spin what happened in Benghazi to support their foreign policy initiatives in an election year. That's what politicians do. They could have and should have handled the release of information to the press better. But my guess is much was unknown at the time as to who did it and why (and still is), so they tried to put it in the best light possible for the administration with the talking points they gave to UN Ambassador Susan Rice. But this argument over the video has taken on a life of its own.

I even heard the other day on a talk radio station a caller claim the video did not exist, that it was made up. I don't know about anyone else but I recall the volatility and fear surrounding that time period. I guess if no one remembers that the video caused 50 deaths and over 695 injuries in 33 countries in the Middle East during the two weeks after it was revealed on YouTube then I would say the president and Secretary of State Clinton did a good job in cooling tensions and downplaying American responsibility regarding its release. It's a miracle to me more Americans lives were not lost that fateful day.

And yet one talk radio host in Philadelphia, former Fox News contributor and predictor of a Romney landslide Dick Morris, has tried to link Secretary Clinton's speech condemning the video on September 13, 2012 to a cover up of the attack in Benghazi.

Excuse me, Mr. Morris. Really? I think she was just doing her job of trying to save American lives and she should be commended for it, not condemned.

But I can see how this Benghazi incident fits into the GOP playbook so well. It involves a potential Democratic presidential contender (Clinton). They can try to kill two birds with one stone (the president and former secretary of state). It involves the death of four Americans and is a highly charged issue that is unresolved. Although the CIA and FBI are investigating, we may not know what truly happened for a while. So they can sew the seeds of doubt about a so-called uncaring administration that was trying to score political points instead of protecting Americans. They seem to forget that 60 Americans died in embassy attacks under President George W. Bush and that 220 Marines were lost in Beirut in 1983 under President Reagan. Where was the outrage over security then?

The only thing they are overlooking is that such an emotional issue works both ways. It could backfire and serve to fire up the Democratic base who may become motivated to come out and defend the administration come election day. It may fire up Hillary Clinton to want to run even more and it may present the Republicans as a party of angry white men who only want revenge and impeachments and costly investigations. We all know how that turned out when they went after President Bill Clinton. The Democrats won congress in the off year election of 1998.

I believe that Anti-ism is not a good philosophy and negativism while riling up some may not work in the long run. How about trying to come up with some positive policy initiatives that will help the economy and the nation? Just a suggestion, GOP.