The Latest Lie – “What difference does it make?”

Dave Johnson

The election is over, but right-wingers are back at it with another big, out-of-context lie. This time they are claiming that Hillary Clinton said something that she did not say. There’s an immediate context and a bigger context, both wildly distorted. As the right-wing cult plunges ever-farther into their own delusional worldview their language, interpretations and claims just get stranger and stranger.

The Immediate Context

At a hearing today Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the following when asked about the timing of the release of details about the Benghazi attack,

“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” she said. “Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information.”

The right’s media machine is now out there claiming that Hillary Clinton said the attack doesn’t matter. Specifically they are claiming she said “‘What difference does it make’ why 4 Americans are dead?” See examples here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and that is just a hint of what they are likely to get going after Limbaugh tomorrow. (Warning, avoid reading the comments at these sites unless you have a very strong stomach.)

That’s how they do it. That’s how they did it with “You didn’t build that,” and managed to build an entire political convention around the lie that Obama had said that, when he hadn’t said it.

The Larger Context

This whole thing is about what the administration said to the public right after the Benghazi attack. After the attacks no one knew who had attacked the compound and killed our ambassador, so they said they didn’t know who had done it. Later, when they knew, they told us who they thought had done it. Republicans are furious about this.

Remember how so few of us could understand what the whole Republican Behghazi frenzy was about? Remember Romney’s accusation during that debate, that Obama had not used the word “terrorist,” when in fact he had? And they have kept themselves in this frenzy all the way up until Wednesday’s hearing. It’s weird to us, but it goes to the core of their cult belief system.

Why does it matter so much to Republicans whether the government announced immediately that “terrorists” had attacked us, instead of waiting until we knew who had attacked us?

Here is what is going on: The Republican cult believes that the Obama administration said they did not know who had done it as a pre-election attempt to keep public support from swinging to Romney. (?????)

They believe that if the administration had immediately said we were attacked by terrorists the public would have rallied around Republicans, and Romney would have won the election by a landslide. Seriously.

The larger context here is that Republicans believe that Americans rally around Republicans and not around America’s leaders when our country comes under attack. The cult believes they are the only legitimate leaders of the country, and that the public believes this, too.

To understand just why they so firmly believe that the public would have rallied around Republicans in response to a terrorist attack you have to remember how this worked for them when Bush was in the White House. Remember how Republicans were all “noun, verb, 9/11″ during post-9/11 elections. Remember how they would raise the terror-alert level at convenient times. How they would accuse opponents of being insufficiently anti-Muslim to win arguments? And for so long, it worked.

Because of the effectiveness of their use of terrorism scares during the Bush years Republicans are convinced that the public responds to terrorist attacks by … supporting Republicans.

They just don’t get it that the American public rallies around our leaders at such times.

They don’t get it that if the Obama administration had immediately announced that our ambassador had been attacked by terrorists, the public would have supported Obama even more than they already did, because he was our President. Just like they did when Bush was President.

But the Obama administration didn’t use a terrorist scare to influence the election, the way Republicans did.

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