The reviews of Hillary Clinton's Thursday testimony before the House Benghazi committee are in: It was not the success that Republicans had hoped for. Slate's Will Saletan called the 11-hour spectacle "a self-destructive, partisan embarrassment for the GOP." Vox's Jon Allen dubbed it Clinton's "best campaign ad yet." A number of conservative pundits acknowledged that the hearing, officially about investigating Benghazi but clearly in fact an effort to politically wound Clinton, was a disaster that ended up helping Clinton and blowing up in Republicans' faces.
It’s a good bet that Thursday will be the climax for the House select committee on Benghazi. After almost 18 months and dozens of hearings, the committee interviews Hillary Clinton on Thursday, in a marathon public hearing expected to last eight to 10 hours. Whether you regard the hearings as an essential inquiry or a political farce, Clinton’s testimony was always going to be the main event. Several separate investigations have already considered the September 11, 2012, attacks in Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Most of the big questions have largely been answered. Yes, the State Department that Clinton led should have done more to protect personnel in Libya; but, no, there’s no evidence thus far of any criminal negligence.
The news cycle that will follow Hillary Clinton’s appearance on Capitol Hill is entirely predictable. Instead of getting any closer to the truths about Benghazi or Clinton’s homebrew spy-friendly email system or the obvious conflicts of interest with the Clinton Foundation, we’ll be treated to tiresome and politically ineffective theater from the Clinton cheer squad and hapless Republicans who don’t understand Hillary Rules.
Hillary Clinton is set to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi this Thursday, her first confrontation with congressional Republicans since she announced her presidential bid earlier this year. This face-off has been brewing all year. Republicans had initially viewed dragging Clinton before the committee as a prime opportunity to tar her as a scandal-ridden politician. But with the hearing date approaching, Clinton seems more eager than ever to square off against Congress, with the candidate and her surrogates regularly attacking the committee as a waste of taxpayer funds ($4.5 million and counting) designed solely to derail her campaign.
Republicans cannot find a Speaker of the House for one reason: they are reaping what they have sown. The base of the party has been promised for over forty years that the social issues Republicans candidates have supported will become federal policy if they are elected—and yet here we stand with abortion legal, immigration run amok, and gay marriage recognized by the Supreme Court. And then there is the oath for smaller government and lower taxes. The voters who bought into all of the Republican promises are simply fed up. They feel like there has been a massive bait and switch campaign sponsored by their own party’s leaders for almost half a century now. Thus, we have the current crisis in the House and the persistent threat of government shutdown.
Republicans in the House of Representatives are locked in a long, grinding civil war. The rebels will never win power, but the establishment can't fully annihilate them either. The rebels have organized themselves into the House Freedom Caucus, a group that successfully pressured Speaker John Boehner to give up his gavel. But the group doesn't have the numbers to elevate one of its own to a top position when Republicans choose new leaders on October 8.
Embattled Speaker John Boehner, who rose from bartender's son to the most powerful man in Congress, will resign at the end of October, ending a tumultuous five-year tenure atop the House of Representatives. Boehner, 65, planned to leave Congress at the end of 2014, one of his aides said Friday morning, but returned because of the unexpected defeat of Eric Cantor.
The House on Friday voted 241-to-187 to strip Planned Parenthood of some $500 million in federal family planning funds for a year. The move is intended to keep the public eye on allegations of illegal behavior by Planned Parenthood staffers but remove the possibility of a government shutdown by conservatives bent on defunding the organization.