Republicans aren't for things. Instead they run from one hysterical anti-something scream to the next. They have shifted from the "noun-verb-911" of the Bush years to "Obama said you didn't build this" road and bridge, then to "Obamacare failed" and after Obamacare succeeded it was "Bundy" then it was "Oops" and now it's "Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi" all the time. So what is Benghazi about?
First, you have to sift through all the wild conspiracy theories. Many Republicans say that Obama ordered the military to "stand down" and allow the attack to take place. Some Republicans say the attack was a "hit job" ordered by Obama to kill our ambassador. Others say Obama is having Benghazi witnesses and even investigators killed.
Now Speaker Boehner is setting up a Spanish inquisition special committee to "investigate" and deliver anti-Obama conclusions just in time for the election. Boehner said the committee will look into why the administration is "obstructing the truth about Benghazi."
As near as I can tell, the basic Republican complaint seems to be that Obama didn't immediately call the attack "terrorism" and this somehow cheated Mitt Romney out of winning the election. Never mind that Mitt Romney found out the hard way that President Obama did say the next day that it was a terrorist attack. ("Please proceed, Governor.")
What Difference Does It Make?
So why is it so important to Republicans to claim that the Obama administration tried to "cover up" the Benghazi terrorist attack by making up a (true) story that a crowd had gathered outside the compound in reaction to an anti-Muslim video, similar to the crowd rioting outside of the Egyptian embassy at the same time? Or in then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's word, "What difference does it make?"
Here is the difference: Republicans seem to sincerely believe that Americans only rally around Republican Presidents when the country is attacked. This is probably related to their sincere belief that no Democratic President is legitimate.
So their logic is that if the country heard that this was a terrorist attack they would turn against the President before the election, and to Mitt Romney. And therefore Romney was "cheated" out of a victory.
Benghazi appears to be about a Republican belief that Americans do not rally around their President when the country is attacked, but only around Republican presidents (or candidates apparently.)
For context, US embassies and diplomats were attacked at least 11 times when Bush was President. Also, Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received the morning's "presidential daily brief" with the heading: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." and ignored it. In addition, (please click through and read the entire piece listing the numerous warnings)
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that "a group presently in the United States" was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be "imminent," although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
Anyway, back to Benghazi...
-----This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progress Breakfast.