When my clock radio went off at 6 AM this morning, I found myself listening to NPR Morning Edition as usual, when things got really interesting. They brought Cokie Roberts on to talk about Benghazi and what's happening with the 'investigations' in the Senate. Roberts is the prototypical DC beltway insider and can usually be counted on to spout Villager wisdom. (Cokies Law refers to her casual acceptance that really stupid talking points with no basis in fact have to be taken seriously because they're out there in the culture and getting talked about.)

  So, imagine my shock when she came flat out (paraphrasing here) and said the whole controversy over blocking Susan Rice as nominee for Secretary of State over her testimony on Benghazi is really about Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham trying to salvage national security - strong on defense as Republican strengths after an election in which they feel the party has gone over the edge on so many other issues. [update: "Off the deep end" is the phrase Roberts uses.)

     She noted that this attempt to reclaim foreign policy for the Republicans as an issue is backfiring because of the rising strife in the middle east between Israel and the Palestinians; the President has to take a strong hand in support of Israel so (by implication) this is not a good time for Republicans to be nudging his elbow.

  She and host Linda Wertheimer were also sharing evil glee over the fact that with 20 women now in the Senate (which they can't believe has happened), this attack on a woman and a minority woman at that is not going to go over well with them. [update - and the way they put things makes their male colleagues cringe]

They were also amused that the Senate now needs a bigger lady's room...

Now a couple of points to note in this. One thing that comes through clearly in this is the casual way Roberts treats the political freak show in the Senate as entertainment. You get the impression she sees herself as like a spectator at a sporting event, and no sense at all that the way these people behave has serious consequences for America and the World.

The other is that she casually glossed over the Republican talking points about the message Rice gave out on talk shows, as being intended to protect the President's record on terrorism with the election coming up. She did mention the Republican one time presidential dream candidate Petraeus is having problems of his own now, but again, didn't really discuss that so far there has been no evidence that Rice's statements were anything but an honest attempt to explain what happened in Benghazi consistent with both facts and national security needs.

Still, the fact the Cokie Roberts of all people would essentially say the emperor has no clothes on this with regard to McCain and Graham is a real mark of how much in disarray the GOP really is. When the GOP has lost Cokie, it's not good news for them.

When NPR gets a transcript and an audio up, I'll try to update if I get the chance. It'll be interesting to see how NPR handles this report from Roberts in later broadcasts.

UPDATE: NPR has a link to the audio misleadlingly titled In Asia, Obama reasserts his foreign policy role. It's four and a half minutes long.

While I can't speak about the 7:00 AM broadcast, what I heard by the time the 8:00 broadcast rolled around did not seem to include the Roberts commentary. It was apparently displaced by several new stories.

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