When I was growing up, I remember being taught to be pretty skeptical about things. One phrase I remember hearing several times, was the old saying, “Don’t believe everything you read and only half of what you see”. There are several different variations on that saying, but they all point to the same thing, always look for deeper meaning or clearer meaning.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last night in Peru; “I take Responsibility” for the security in Benghazi, Libya. She goes on to explain that it is her responsibility to make sure all American Diplomatic outposts have the proper security.
“I take responsibility,” Clinton said during a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
On the surface, this looks like she has “fallen on her sword” for the Obama Administration. She certainly takes ownership and it makes her look like she is doing the right or maybe even noble thing for the situation. But, is that really what is going on here?
First, let me just say, I have no inside sources or political contacts that could give me anything about this. I have, however, been an observer of politics for a while now and I have developed my own “political instincts” along the way. That’s not saying I might not be wrong, of course I could be wrong, but I have learned to trust my instincts and that old saying I learned growing up, because it may apply to politics more then anything else on earth.
So, back to our question, is Hillary really taking the fall here, or is it something else? If not, what is this “something else”?
Let’s look at some context here. This Libya attack happened over a month ago, and the fallout has been slow coming out. But the pressure has been building, so much so, that the Obama campaign thought it advisable to take to the Sunday talk shows to denounce the Romney campaign for “making this an issue”. That, my friends, reeks of desperation. I don’t think there is any question they are worried.
But right before this, we have a Vice-Presidential debate where Vice President Joe Biden seems to throw the State Department and intelligence departments under the bus, saying the White House didn’t know about any requests for increased security in Benghazi.
So here we are, Hillary on the verge of being the complete scapegoat for the whole thing. So what does she do? She takes responsibility before the White House can completely throw her under the bus. And when does she do it? She does it within 24 hours of a Presidential debate.
By doing this, Hillary has made sure that Libya will be front and center at the debate tonight. The Obama campaign must be scrambling, as we speak, to get a hold of this whole thing. The President can’t throw her under the bus, she has already beaten him to it. If he does that now, it will only reinforce the whole “empty chair” attacks against him. He is the President, so the question would become why didn’t he know.
So what does President Obama do? Does he take responsibility for it? Right before the election, that could be a really risky thing to do AND might just fan the flames instead of pushing the issue aside. It has “upped the ante” and probably forced the hand of the White House to either take or dodge responsibility for this whole thing.
This changes the whole debate for Obama, and gives him very little time to figure out a good “out” for his campaign. My guess is, he will try to avoid answering the question at all, which in fact, could be the worst thing he could do.
What about Governor Romney? Well, he has been handed the Libya issue on a silver platter. He can simply reference Hillary’s comments and go from there. In that way, he won’t look like the one trying to take advantage of the situation for political reasons.
Let’s go just a little deeper now into what Hillary said. She basically blamed the “fog of war” for the “confusion” over the fact that there were no protests and this was all along a preplanned Terrorist attack.
Now, Hillary isn’t stupid. I don’t agree with her on much, but she and her husband have good political instincts, and they know as many tricks as Obama’s Democrat Chicago Machine does. The “fog of war” is so weak that it is begging for a challenge. Her claim that the President and Vice President wouldn’t be “knowledgeable” about the security decisions is almost laughable, if it wasn’t so serious.
In fact, the number one priority for any US President is the security of America and the American people. The United States was recently involved in the civil war in Libya and the overthrow of the government. It should be more then obvious, that in all this turmoil security at American diplomatic posts in Libya should be very tight, especially considering it was on the anniversary of 9/11.
So does President Obama, ask Hillary to resign? Before the election? That would contradict everything they have been saying, that this was only an issue because of the Romney campaign trying to make political hay from it. If he does ask her to resign, it could only further escalate the scandal not contain it.
This puts Obama and his campaign in an incredibly tough spot. The issue is now far from going away, it could only get bigger after the debate.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have proved, once again, to be very politically astute. They know the game, and they know how to fight back, even when it needs to look like they are doing just the opposite. This move, may or may note save any hope for Hillary in 2016, but it now puts the ball right back in the White House’s hands. The question will be asked “If the President didn’t know, why didn’t he?” and “What did the President know and when did he know it?”.
The next 3 weeks are going to be very interesting indeed.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Peru