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This seems like an important moment. Secretary Clinton, today, put down Senator Ron Johnson's (R-WI). She did it hard, memorably, appropriately, accurately, without emotion and with great poise, directness and force. Or as the Tea Party set would say, in a hysterical fit.

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, Senator Johnson confronted Secretary Clinton over the Benghazi consulate assault using a Tea Party conspiracy theory that U.N. Ambassador, Susan Rice, engaged in a cover-up about the connection between the assault and organized terrorist elements. Senator Johnson represented to believe that high level government officials like Ambassadors, cabinet Secretaries and even the President should have immediately called the known survivors of the attack to find out what had caused the Benghazi assault. Secretary Clinton carefully explained to Senator Johnson that when criminals, even terrorists, attack consular personnel or property, there is a legal procedure in which the State Department refers investigation to, duh, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Notwithstanding Secretary Clinton's clear explanation, Senator Johnson rudely and repeatedly interrupted her to ask why nobody made "a simple phone call" to the survivors of the attack that would supposedly have allowed Ambassador Rice to receive more accurate talking points before she appeared on the immediately following Sunday talk shows.

Out in Wingnuttia, it's all about the CT that Obama and Clinton wanted to cover-up the fact that terrorists (whatever the hell that means) assaulted the Benghazi consulate but got tripped up by the Republican watchdogs. Remember during the 2nd Presidential Debate when Governor Romney challenged President Obama about not calling the Benghazi attack terrorism for weeks afterward, and got gutted for his trouble? Senator Johnson was using a different shovel but still moving the same wing nut BS.  

Barbara Morrill has post on the front page this evening about Senator Johnson's exchange with Secretary Clinton. I had read about it, but until I saw the video in that post, I'm not sure I appreciated the possible importance of the exchange. Secretary Clinton seemed to me to have chosen her words very carefully.

She asked the Senator what difference it made. That's a very provocative and aggressive challenge. I liked it. I've put a few more thoughts about the importance of what she said out in the tall grass, along with some other goodies. Follow along if you want to discuss it some more.

First, here is the video and a link to the transcript:

Secretary Clinton's decisive words were:

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

What difference does it make? It is a put down as effective, rhetorically, at least, as the legendary challenge to red baiting Wisconsin Senator (Coincidence? You decide.) Joe McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency?" Today, it did, in fact, shut down the current Senator from Wisconsin who immediately yielded without being called for time.

Is difference the new change? What difference? Make a difference. our differences define us.  

Difference can be a powerful frame.

On the other side of the same coin, it is good optics for public officials to be seen as making a difference. No one defends the status quo. But change is a little stale now. So, if not change, we need leaders who will campaign to make a difference. Things are not going to stay the same. It's not about makers and takers, but it is about leaders and difference makers and those who get in their way. .

The Senator said, "What difference at this point does it make?" I want to hear a lot more of that kind of challenge to the inanity that leaks out of the right wing bubble into the air that the rest of us must breath. A very strong, versatile and politically useful word: difference. As useful as a political theme as "change", only different.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Aren't you glad that the clueless won't get a chance to run the country again, just yet? Yeah. Me too.

    by LeftOfYou on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:25:00 PM PST

  •  Just another big reminder (5+ / 0-)

    You fight back, you win.

    Movement Conservatism is all about getting you crying, blubbering, stammering and/or apologising by any means necessary.

    You (politically) punch them in the mouth, they have no plan B. The whole game is to get you to stare at your navel and be contrite and ashamed and admit that you are the worst piece of shit who ever lived.

    I don't how many times every single member of the Democratic caucus in both Houses of Congress and around the nation need to see it happen.

    Fight = win

    Meet them halfway/navelgaze = doubling down on more bad faith

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:41:57 PM PST

    •  I see a House Republican Caucus (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irate, FloridaSNMOM, LeftOfYou

      that wants to impeach a President, even if they don't have the faux outrage fake scandal yet to actually try it.

      They talked today not as if they felt SOS had fallen down on the job, which is total bullshit, but as if Hilary Clinton or the President was fucking in on it and watched it happen on pay-per-view laughing their asses off.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:44:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  With some conservatives in my family, (4+ / 0-)

        I'll say that the right talks this way because this is what they believe and/or what they want their rank-and-file (the GOP primary voters) to believe.

        I know conservatives that absolutely believe to this day that BHO is in fact a member of Al Qaeda and that his entire presidency is an inside job to destroy the U.S. without needing to fly planes into buildings.

        Yes, they fervently believe that he was the chosen one, raised from a babe to subvert the American system under the tutelage of a combined front of Islamic terrorism and the U.N. N.W.O.

        So they see this kind of discourse as not only legitimate but factual—the work of a few remaining "heroes" in the House trying desperately to stave off the Done Deal of American collapse at the hands of the Forces Against Freedom.

        Benghazi is for them part of some nefarious plan. A test case? A dry run? A bit of sport? Who knows.

        It's not about perspective and reason and common sense. It's entirely about a devastating fear that comes from the change in America's place in the world; they are no longer at the absolute top of the global food chain, dozens of positions above anyone and everyone else. There must be an explanation—and a motive—and a plot—and a guilty party.

        It's McCarthyism run wild; that's what we're seeing in the U.S. today. Not some tiny, concentrated phenomenon in D.C. with a few grandstanding public figures, but a widely dispersed, simmering belief amongst much of the public (though thankfully not yet a majority) that America Has Been Infiltrated By The Enemy and is Being Destroyed From The Inside Out—Intentionally.

        Some of them even frame it in theological terms. What is the motive for all of this? Satanism, of course. This is the work of Satan, gathering his minions to destroy America, God's greatest work; it's not about earthly impulses but in fact battles between the gods.

        That's where we are today in the U.S.—throwbacks to entirely premodern ways of thinking, not just prior to the Enlightenment, but in fact prior to the Middle Ages.

        -9.63, 0.00
        "Liberty" is deaf, dumb, and useless without life itself.

        by nobody at all on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:11:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It was all a carnival to appease Fox News viewers, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, LeftOfYou

    the only place where the Benghazi attack is still much discussed. Not to downplay the tragedy of 4 American deaths but it's a shame there was no such concern about the loss of life, American, allied and Iraqi, during our unnecessary invasion of Iraq. No one took responsibility for that fiasco.

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 05:15:41 AM PST

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