NY Times: Center Ring at the Republican Circus

From the Democratic Whip Press Shop:

House Republicans are ending their week on a rough note with today’s scathing NY Times editorial highlighting their partisan efforts to politicize the Benghazi tragedy instead of tackling critical legislative priorities. A few excerpts for you:

“The hottest competition in Washington this week is among House Republicans vying for a seat on the Benghazi kangaroo court, also known as the Select House Committee to Inflate a Tragedy Into a Scandal. Half the House has asked to ‘serve’ on the committee, which is understandable since it’s the perfect opportunity to avoid any real work while waving frantically to right-wing voters stomping their feet in the grandstand.”

They won’t pass a serious jobs bill, or raise the minimum wage, or reform immigration, but House Republicans think they can earn their pay for the rest of the year by exposing nonexistent malfeasance on the part of the Obama administration. On Thursday, they voted to create a committee to spend ‘such sums as may be necessary’ to conduct an investigation of the 2012 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The day before, they voted to hold in contempt Lois Lerner, the former Internal Revenue Service official whom they would love to blame for the administration’s crackdown on conservative groups, if only they could prove there was a crackdown, which they can’t, because there wasn’t.”

“Both actions stem from the same impulse: a need to rouse the most fervent anti-Obama wing of the party and keep it angry enough to deliver its donations and votes to Republicans in the November elections. For a while it seemed as if the Affordable Care Act would perform that role, but Republicans ran into a problem when the country began to realize that it was not destroying American civilization but in fact helping millions of people.”

“Four Americans, including the United States ambassador, died in Benghazi, and their deaths have been crassly used by Republicans as a political cudgel, wildly swung in the dark. They have failed to provide proof for any number of conspiracy theories about the administration’s failures, including the particularly ludicrous charge from Representative Darrell Issa that Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, told the Pentagon to ‘stand down’ and not help defend the American compound.”

“In fact, investigations by two congressional committees (including one run by Republicans) found that there was never any kind of ‘stand-down order’ or request. But Mr. Issa and others keep repeating it because, for their purposes, the facts don’t matter.”

“Similarly, the Justice Department should not press Ms. Lerner’s contempt citation before a grand jury. She invoked her Fifth Amendment rights at a hearing last year and refused to testify, but Republicans claim, without foundation, that she waived those rights by first proclaiming her innocence. Her refusal, they said, was contemptuous of Congress. Little nuisances like constitutional rights or basic facts can’t be allowed to stand in the way when House Republicans need to whip up their party’s fury.”