The Republican Congress has done it again. Sixteen years ago that august body made itself look foolish when it impeached the President of the United States over what was essentially a sex scandal - and in the process turned a sleaze ball, overage frat boy into a sympathetic character. Now, that same majority party in that same political institution has used its power of the subpoena and the committee process to make another hardened politician, also a Clinton, into a sympathetic character. Additionally, the mean-spirited committee provided her with a free day in front of the national press corps - and a chance to look stunningly presidential.
Twice in less than two decades the Republican majority in Congress has tried to inflict mortal political wounds on a Clinton - and both times it has failed miserably.
I voted for Bill Clinton for President twice and was satisfied with those votes up until midway into his second term when he started usurping Republican positions (NAFTA and Welfare Reform, as examples) and the Lewinsky scandal broke.
Monica Lewinsky, a starry-eyed While House intern who was barely legal, succumbed to her boss's sexual charms and power in a little anteroom just off of the Oval Office. They reportedly carried on an affair for over a year right under the noses of the Secret Service detail and Hillary. As word of the liaison began to leak out, Bill Clinton shifted into political damage control mode and began lying and misdirecting. The House eventually impeached him on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The nation knew, however, that the prime motivation for the impeachment was the sanctimonious House members' repulsion at Clinton's sexual conduct as well as a deep-seated visceral hatred of the Arkansas politician. In the end America felt sorry for the picked-on President, and he left office in 2001 with an extremely high personal approval rating - when a real man, one with any sense of honor, would have resigned in shame. The impeachment had backfired.
Now, for over a year, a House select committee has been delving into the deaths of four Americans at the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and the ultimate object of their indignation has been former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A few weeks ago Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a man who had hoped to become Speaker of the House, pulled the curtain back on the charade when he told Fox News' Sean Hannity that the committee had done well in reducing Hillary's poll numbers. McCarthy put voice to what everyone knew - that the sole reason for the hearings was to hurt Hillary politically.
Yesterday the formidable Mrs. Clinton spent an entire day before the committee, most of whom were Republican halfwits seeking to put together the magic question that would trip her up and sink her presidential barge. None did - and in fact the longer the process drug out the more presidential Hillary looked - and the more sympathetic. Another Clinton was again being picked on by a mean old Republican Congress.
Yesterday's appearance before the Congressional committee was a gift for Hillary Clinton - a gift of inestimable political value.
Twice now Republicans have suffered the delusion that they are somehow as smart, or at least as politically savvy, as the Clintons, and twice now they have made themselves into fools.
When will they ever learn?