Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
Perhaps the only thing more angst-worthy for the white power structure that operates the Republican Party than a black man in the White House, and a tide of upwardly-mobile Latinos moving ever Leftward, is the impending feminist political tidal wave in the form of one Hilary Rodham Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton, beyond her gender, is to the Rush-fed Republican what geek-ghoul bogeyman Slender Man is to Gen X-Y-Z. The General Accounting Office (GAO) reported that Republican witch hunts of the Clintons, when President Bill Clinton was in office, topped out at a staggering $108M ($79.3M 1990s dollars, inflation adjusted to 2012.) .
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the new anti-woman, anti-liberal zealot, a modern Ken Starr. ”Fans” may remember that Mr. Issa chaired the all-male revue at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on women’s reproductive rights.  He also chaired the smokeless hearings of the Fast and Furious operations. He is the Chief Inspector Clouseau meets Joe McCarthy of the Teahadi congress.
Today, Mr. Issa is gleefully beating the corpse of that dead-horse issue, Benghazi, and barking anti-Clintonian rhetoric aimed more at whipping up the passions of the GOP’s radical Right base for 2016 than it is “fact finding.” Issa told CBS News:
“There’s ‘no question’ someone from Hillary Clinton’s circle – if not the former secretary of state herself – was involved in the ‘cover-up’ of any missteps by the administration following an attack on a U.S. consulate last Sept. 11 in Benghazi, Libya, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told CBS News on Monday. “If Hillary Clinton is not responsible for the before, during and after mistakes… it’s somebody close,” Issa told CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes on Monday. “There certainly are plenty of people close to the former secretary who knew, and apparently were part of the problem.” 
Except there are questions. The much-touted smoking-gun testimony of Mark I. Thompson did provide a very enlightening account of the various power-plays between the military and the State Department during the hours before and after the attack on the U.S. Consulate office in Benghazi, Libya worthy of a good TV movie.
Nothing in his testimony directly linked Mrs. Clinton or President Obama or the White House staff directly to any of whatever problems arose during the handling of the attack. The alleged cover-up or conspiracy to withhold facts from the American people never emerged.
Moreover, much of what transpired was the usual line calls made by officials during a crisis, and none of it, thus far, has demonstrated more than we knew with the pre-Issa hearings:
Surprise attacks can catch even the strapping surveillance colossus of America’s espionage and military off-guard.
The cost of Mr. Issa’s political theater performance? Unknown at this time.
Republicans lament wasteful government, though, so perhaps Mr. Preibus, the Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair, will pick up the tab for this pre-2016 Congressional anti-Clinton, anti-women infomercial.
Perhaps Fox News and Mr. Murdoch’s other mouthpiece, The Wall Street Journal, should also pick up a bit of the tab . Media Matters, the media watchdog, reports:
“Right-wing media are using a congressional hearing to push new myths about the Obama administration’s response to the September 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, these myths are discredited by previous congressional reports and testimony, which show that the politicized nature of the hearings come from right-wing media and Congressional Republicans, that the military could not have rescued personnel from the second attack, that the administration was in constant communication at all levels during the attacks, and that the intelligence community believed there was a link to an anti-Islam video at the time of the attacks.” 
If any conspiracy exists, it really is far Right’s continued march to repress the wrong kind of women in positions of power.
GOP femme leading-lights in the House don’t do much for the cause. The fact-challenged bombast Michelle Bachmann and ex-Governor Sarah Palin are their bright-burning dim bulbs, but they fit a pattern of women in Republican circles.
A UCLA Study suggests that female Republican candidates not only “look” more feminine, but that Republican men will go after women in Democratic politics for their lack of femininity when the women challenge them.
Republicans sneer at any suggestion of a “War on Women.” Groups like PoliticsUSA document bill after bill, statement after statement, that clearly demonstrate that war.
Even the current Republican “budget,” Ryan, The Sequel, and addendums from the House Teahadis, is exceptionally hostile to women, particularly poor and middle-income women.
Ryan II proposes prohibitions against Planned Parentood participating in Medicaid, severely restricting Title X National Family Planning programs, banning private insurance coverage of abortions, blocking implementation of the Health Care Reform Act’s improved preventative services for women, putting more than five million women at risk for early death, or death from complications of pregnancies that put the mother’s life at-risk. 
The GOP widened the gender gap at least six percent since the last presidential election with anti-women rhetoric and legislative warfare:
That Issa, one of the most vitriolic anti-feminist congressmen, is leading the charge to fertilize the grassroots of the GOP is not surprising.
What is surprising is that the Far Right within the GOP has become so dogmatic in its attempts to keep women in their place that they are continuing to engage in these political suicide missions.
Polls like Quinnipiac University’s show Mrs. Clinton to be the odds-on-favorite for the Democratic nomination by around 65%. That very early number could change, but the likelihood that we have the first truly serious female contender for President is backed by an electorate that includes a rising number of empowered minorities and a larger number of women staying single much longer and staying in the workforce.
In spite of former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s impassioned “anti-everything” speech, Republicans seem hell-bent on being the anti-everything party.
At first, GOP strategists hoped that Benghazi was to be a line in the sand that would stop Obama. When that failed, attention immediately turned to using the act of terror and its tragic aftermath for the most shameless political pursuits: Get Mrs. Clinton.
Benghazi is a political Maginot Line though. Other than inflaming a few die-hards, and perhaps offsetting a few rising professional women with some gun-toting, flag-waving faux patriots, this political exercise seems to be more damaging than beneficial.
Do Republicans think that they can keep this farce rolling for another two years? It’s highly unlikely.
What is more likely is that the well-crafted negative image of Republicans with women voters, particularly upwardly mobile, educated, independent women graduating from colleges and universities in record numbers, about which the Florida Mr. Bush warned, will endure.
Perhaps Mrs. Clinton should send Mr. Issa a thank you card. His Libyan Inquisition is only likely to do her more good than harm in the long run with the rising tide of young, working upwardly mobile women graduating faster from colleges and universities than men.
My shiny two.