The Select Committee on Benghazi aims for impeachment of the President

There have been—so far—nine investigations into the incident in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Five House committees and two Senate committees have looked into it along with the Accountability Review Board of the State Department and the FBI.

The House Oversight Committee chaired by Darrell Issa (my congressperson) has not yet finished its investigations and just a few days ago Issa subpoenaed John Kerry to testify. Republicans, however, have grown impatient with Issa's clumsy and ineffective attempts to tie Benghazi firmly to the White House. They have finally realized that he will not give them what they want: solid grounds for impeachment.

Later today the House will vote, along party lines, to establish a select committee consisting of 7 Republicans and 5 Democrats to conduct a new investigation, subsuming all the evidence gathered by the previous five House Committee hearings. Only the Republicans will have the authority to call witnesses. The chair of this select committee will be South Carolina's Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, known as a bulldog in the courtroom. The effort to build him up as an incorruptible lawyer with impeccable credentials has begun in the media.

The goal here is not an objective investigation of what happened at Benghazi, but an attempt to find a plausible charge on which the House can vote to impeach the President. If, as expected, the GOP wins control of the Senate in November, the Senate—which would try Obama— would be controlled by the Republicans and have a much better chance to convict him.

It is a risky strategy, but one with significant payoff. First it might add luster to the 2014 campaign and enhance the already substantial chances of taking the Senate. The election can be touted as a way to clean up a corrupt administration. Secondly it can be used to hurt Hillary Clinton and improve the chances of a Republican President being elected in 2016. That is something for which the big donors will give significant amounts of money. Finally, if successful, it would leave Presidential politics firmly in Republican hands for some time to come—the Democrats would be saddled with two successive Presidential impeachments, something that has never happened. 

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Teddy, really good stuff.  i agree that a conservative movement is good for a country, but what we have now is nothing more than crazy people trying to out crazy themselves.  it's as if every dumbfuck in the country all coalesced into one movement.  which is probably why only about 20% of the country calls themselves a Republican these days.  yet they will likely have a good midterm election.  strange country we have here.  

True enough Matty.  Eisenhower would have no chance of surviving a Republican primary today.  Hell, I doubt that Nixon or Reagan would.  I had a great deal of young naïve hope in Kennedy, and was devastated when he was taken out.  LBJ was just a brute with a sympathetic mandate who managed to get some important things done.  Nixon was just offensive in every way, and drove me into the mountains for a couple of years of hermithood.  He actually did do a few good things, but the overall effect was very negative.  Ford was a bumbling placeholder, and Carter's term could be described as benign neglect.  He's a much better statesman than President.  Reagan was perhaps our first imaginary President -- a decent B movie actor in his greatest role.  The people around him put into place policies that led significantly to the decline we now live with.  GHW Bush might have been a decent and ruthless CIA director, but should not have been handed the keys to the White House.  Slick Willie was someone who earlier would have passed for a moderate Republican.  GW Bush was merely a marketing symbol for some very scary folks.  Had his name been GW Smith, he wouldn't have qualified as dogcatcher in Shithead County, Texas.  Instead, Shithead USA "elected" him President, and disaster ensued.  Obama is a little left of Bill Clinton, but not by much and not in all matters.  In some ways he's out-dubya'd Dubya, while in others he's pushed the ball forward up a very steep hill.

What will we get next?  I don't think that Mitch McConnell or Lindsay Graham or John McCain are getting voted out any time soon, and it's likely that the GOP will hold the House and take the Senate this year, which effectively ends Obama's presidency, at least as far as getting anything done, if not by outright impeachment.  Pretty fair chance that Clinton will take the Presidency, which would be a further swing to the right.

Right wing politics seem to be trending in much of the world right now.  Witness the recent EU elections, and the situations in India, Egypt, Turkey, Ukraine, and several other places where right wing nationalism is rising.  What does it all mean?  Hell if I know.  I still haven't worked out who to vote for next week for the Pickens County School Board.  All of the candidates are proud Bible Thumpers, and it's hard to tell which one thumps most softly.

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i've noticed the right wing shift too, but in America we seem to be bucking the trend.  while the right is more right, the Nation is becoming more progressive.  perhaps America is exceptional after all.  

Never mind Eisenhower.  He was a pussy cat.  Barry GOLDWATER wouldn't have a chance in the current environment, and he was seen back in 1964 as being to the right of Attila the Hun.  Now we hear reports of his being in favor of gay rights and against the Religious Reich and neither of those positions would endear him to the current GOP base.

Republicans now seem to live on what cannot be believed, yet what must be accepted as fact.  Republicanism has become a religion.

That's true Loren.  I was shared skitless of Goldwater in '64, and maybe rightly, but he too was a pussycat compared to some the actors on the "mainstream" right today.  I don't see the progressive trend that Matthew mentions above, unless he's talking about popular opinion rather than working politics.  Yes, we've seen some good things happen lately, mostly pushed through by fiat of the executive branch.  Congress and the Supremes have held far right, which puts all of that progress at the whim of the next President.  To Obama's credit, he tried to get those things done through congressional channels, but it became apparent that it just couldn't happen in the current dysfunctional atmosphere.

So now we have some weakly supported initiatives on health care, civil rights, immigration (well, not much yet there), environmental protection and diplomacy that could well flip if we were stupid enough to elect a Republican President, and would be at great risk if we elect a Republican Senate this year, which I predict we will.  I hope I'm wrong.

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the progressive trend i referenced has not to do with our elected officials but with the electorate.  pot legalization, gay marriage, immigration reform , gun control, economic populism, etc. has broad support among citizens.  as Loren said, the GOP is an anchor, but only so much as it relates to policy.  there's a groundswell of progressive ideas, many of which cross the ideological divide, that Americans are flocking to.  eventually politicians will wake up.  i hope.  

That's what I thought you meant Matthew, and I think you're right.  There seems to be a broad disconnect just now between popular opinion and political action.  That should be no surprise, given the Orwellian named Citizens United decision by the Supremes to open the floodgates of big money onto the political stage.  We may progress as a society, and occasionally score political points, but that big slug of money becomes Loren's "anchor" that holds us back when the benefactors are wedded to the status-quo.

And not only that, the money, divorced from traditional conservatism or liberalism, can and does become a sail that pushes us in whatever direction that those who hold the ropes desire.  How do you wean your representatives off the heady lure of big money?  I don't know.

How do you wean your representatives off the heady lure of big money?  I don't know.

Ted, in 1974 when I ran in a party primary, hoping to be the party's nominee that November, a honcho told me one way to do it -- instill the fear in the incumbent that he might get fewer votes than I.

He spent ten times what I spent and got two times as many votes.

Goldwater was an intelligent man and could argue persuasively for his positions.

When Nixon was in trouble over Watergate and had Republican senators to the White House to see if they would support him in case of impeachment, it was Goldwater who told him, "The only time you ever have us here is when you get your ass in a crack."

Politicians talk to each other far more honestly than they talk to voters.

All I can say is, I hope not.

I don't get why people would elect more GOP senators.  If they do, America deserves what happens.  As said in Pogo so many years ago,

There are 35 Senate seats to be filled this year of which 21 are now Democratic and 14 Republican. If the Republicans can take 6 seats and hold those they have, they will have a majority. Some of the Democratic seats are in states Obama did not carry and are vulnerable. With the huge amounts of money now allowed, anything is possible.

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