Wow! The preparedness and nimble coordination we saw yesterday at the Benghazi hearing with Hillary Clinton testifying at last were quite impressive.
I refer to the Democrats of course, who did an outstanding job of protecting Mrs. Clinton and impugning the motives of their Republican colleagues. The House Republicans are having trouble electing a Speaker from their own party, while the Democrats brilliantly coordinated with each other for yesterday's outing of their inevitable presidential nominee.
Here's my main takeaway from yesterday: Republicans talk too much. Rep. Susan Brooks, an Indiana Republican, for example, started off with two impressive stacks of papers–a huge pile of Mrs. Clinton's Benghazi and Libya-related emails in 2011 and a small stack of slightly more than sixty emails on this subject for 2012, the year of the Benghazi attack.
Rep. Brooks could have stopped right there and asked Mrs. Clinton to explain the discrepancy. I think there was a hint of apprehension on Mrs. Clinton's face, but Brooks talked on, and on and eventually presented Mrs. Clinton with the golden opportunity to say she didn't do all her work on email. Still, she did some of her work on email and it would have been good to hear her address the discrepancy.
Knowing that members of her party on the committee were there to protect her seemed to give Clinton confidence and I agree with John Podhoretz that she aced it:
After nine terrible months during which she made weekly gaffes and single-handedly elevated a gadfly socialist into a rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton has had a fortnight any presidential candidate would relish.
Thursday, after clobbering her rivals in a debate last week and thereby keeping Joe Biden out of the race, Clinton went before the committee investigating the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi in 2012 — and had an unmitigated triumph.
Podhoretz hastens to add that he is "not talking about whether she was telling the truth, whether she was trimming, whether she was disingenuous," but of her performance yesterday.
Byron York also thinks the hearings were a bust for the Republicans:
There's a reason Benghazi Committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy offered Hillary Clinton the chance to testify in a private, closed hearing. And there's a reason Clinton wanted to appear in an open setting, with the whole world watching.
The Benghazi Committee has made incremental advances in the public's knowledge of the circumstances of the death of four Americans in Libya on September 11, 2012. But incremental advances — nuggets of information — don't make for dramatic hearings.
In addition, public hearings can become sidetracked, for everyone to see. If one side decides to pitch a fit and bickering ensues, that is what millions of viewers experience. If the questions go off on a tangent, viewers see that, too. In any event, the purpose of the hearing goes by the wayside.
And that is what took place more than once Thursday in Clinton's much-watched Benghazi testimony. Republicans presented some new information. One leading Democrat had a tantrum and started a fight with Gowdy. And some Republicans got tangled up in side issues that didn't tell the public much about the core issues at stake in Benghazi. The result was a marathon hearing that didn't accomplish much.
Despite all these faults, the select committee did pin down one very important thing–Mrs. Clinton knew from the beginning that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack and not a demonstration against an amateur film that took a dim view of Mohammad that turned into an attack. As Kim Strassel writes in the Wall Street Journal this morning, "She knew all along."
Thanks to Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony on Thursday, we now understand why the former secretary of state never wanted anyone to see her emails and why the State Department sat on documents. Turns out those emails and papers show that the Obama administration deliberately misled the nation about the deadly events in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012.
. . .
What that House committee did Thursday was finally expose the initial deception.
A friend of mine says that, when the dust settles, and when the select committee digests Mrs. Clinton's testimony and finishes its work, including the interviewing of additional witnesses, it is likely that Mrs. Clinton's testimony will contain more information than appeared to be the case yesterday.
One thing that did seem clear to me is that Clinton somehow still seems to believe that the Libya policy (in which she led) was successful. That in itself is mindboggling considering that the nation could vote next year to give her custody of our foreign policy for the next four to eight years.