Obama plays a cool game on Benghazi

Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

The best way to defeat a controversy, brought to us by the Clinton administration, is to allow voters time to forget their outrage.  As Columnist Thomas Sowell points out in his most recent column “Cooling out the Voters” politics can be like a con game in which the conman allows his subject time to cool out.  The key to pulling such a successful con game is that every conman knows “that their victim — “the mark” as he has been called — is eventually going to realize that he has been cheated.  But it makes a big difference whether he realizes it immediately, and goes to the police, or realizes it after the confidence man is long gone.”

The Clinton administration fell prey to a controversy when Bill Clinton was said to have had sexual relations with an intern named Monica Lewinsky.  The public was initially outraged at the charge, but the Clinton administration introduced lawyer-like confusion into the game, until the cloud of outrage dissipated slightly.

Sowell lays this out succinctly:  “When the accusations that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton first surfaced, he flatly denied them all.  Then, as the months passed, the truth came out — but slowly, bit by bit. One of Clinton’s own White House aides later called it “telling the truth slowly.””

The advantage to this method of operation was that after the House impeached President Bill Clinton, the Senate could refuse to indict him.  The Senate could get away with forgoing indictment, because the Clinton administration created enough confusion to allow for time to dissipate the public’s outrage.  They sent out narratives that called on their jurors—the population—to realize that they had had sex too, and that they probably lied about it too, and that we should all move on from this tired story that we all already know all the facts on.  The story flipped from lies and obfuscation, to a “we already know all the details” stage, and finally to a “let the president do the job we elected him for” stage of absolution.  No one heard any details from the administration’s account of the affair before the flip, but they suddenly realized that all the details were out, and it was time to move on.

The actions of the Clinton administration mirror the preliminary actions of the Obama administration in regards to the recent attack in Benghazi.  Liberal commentators have obfuscated stating that the last three administrations have had terrorist attacks occur in it, so: “Why are we dogpiling on Obama for the attack in Benghazi?”  But the question that Fox News, conservative bloggers, and radio talk show hosts have asked is: “What did those at the top of the federal government—in charge of protecting American citizens at home and abroad—do to protect those citizens that were being attacked?”  Another question that this limited section of the media has asked is: “Who sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Press Secretary Jay Carney out to tell the world that Benghazi was a spontaneous protest over a YouTube video?”

Sowell states that:“The White House knew the facts, but they knew that the voting public did not.  The White House had to know that it was only a matter of time before the truth would come out.  But time was what mattered, with an election close at hand.  The longer they could stretch out the period of distraction and uncertainty — “cooling out” the voters — the better.  Once the confidence man in the White House was reelected, it would be politically irrelevant what facts came out.

“As the Obama administration’s video story began to slowly unravel, their earlier misstatements were blamed on “the fog of war” that initially obscures many events.  But there was no such “fog of war” in this case.  The Obama administration knew what was happening while it was happening.  They didn’t know all the details — and we may never know all the details — but they knew enough to know that this was no protest demonstration that got out of hand.”{1}

The members of the non-Fox media are flummoxed in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.  While they don’t believe that this single event could turn the election, they fear a narrative that could be built by Romney that includes Benghazi.  They would love to disregard the events that occurred at Benghazi entirely, but they have no “go to” subject for their diversions.  They would love to echo James Carville and say it’s the economy stupid, but they can’t because talk of the economy doesn’t favor President Barack Obama.  They would love to say let’s let the president get back to the job of creating jobs for Americans, because Obama’s record isn’t stellar in that regard either.  Obama claims that his administration has created 4.5 million jobs, but when one factors in the amount of jobs that have been lost since Obama’s inauguration, the figure goes to 125,000 jobs created.{2}  They are also bereft of a “It’s just sex” type of defense on this subject, because this president who “says what he means and means what he says” won’t say anything of substance on this matter other than “it’s an ongoing investigation”.  They may ask the president, and his press secretary about the incident, but they let them off the hook so quickly that the voter forgets the question soon after it’s asked.  Most of those in the non-Fox media have latched onto the “It’s an ongoing investigation” defense, because it allows them to allow us a “cooling out” period until after the election…investigation is complete, so we can make an uninformed choice in this election.  It’s called a confidence game, and President Barack Obama is a confident man.

{1}http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2012/10/30/cooling_out_the_voters {2} http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/03/politics/fact-check-jobs-economy/index.html


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