On Benghazi, it’s time for Republicans to pee in a cup

Just a few weeks ago, the Republican-controlled North Carolina Senate passed a bill requiring citizens seeking welfare to submit to, and pay for, a drug test in order to qualify for benefits.

In response, Action NC solicited $8 donations so that they could send those who voted for the bill “pee cups.” As their fundraising email read:

We will tell (the) N.C. General Assembly that if they are going to require drug tests for North Carolina residents, then they should pee first.

Lawmakers had already defeated an actual amendment to the bill that would have required them to actually take drug tests of their own, but Action NC’s fundraising email went on to say that “one good political stunt deserves another.”

I couldn’t agree more.

In politics, if you aren’t on offense, you’re on defense. And if you’re on defense, you’re losing. Congressional Republicans, forced to play defense on issues from immigration reform to gun control, manufactured an opportunity to go on the offense over last year’s Benghazi attacks, shifting our nation’s focus away from immigration and silencing what little conversation there was about reviving the Manchin-Toomey background check bill.

If I were Harry Reid, I’d be livid. But I’d also play the hand I was dealt.

If the next few news cycles are going to be about the Benghazi attacks, so be it. Let’s have that conversation, and call this faux-scandal what it really is: a cheap political stunt designed to derail what remains of the Obama presidency, and throw an early wrench into the works of a potential 2016 presidential bid by Hillary Clinton.

Drug testing via Shutterstock

Don’t be pee-shy, Lindsey.
(Drug testing via Shutterstock)

If Congressional Republicans want to put political games ahead of their duties as legislators that’s their (early and often) prerogative, but their Democratic counterparts can and should “make them pee first.”

I was talking with a friend of mine last night, and he had a few ideas for metaphorical “pee cups” that Republicans should have to fill:

Senate Democrats should be holding their own Benghazi hearings. They should subpoena Paul Ryan and other House Republicans to ask them why they voted to cut $400 million in embassy security funding.  And while they’re at it, force Lindsey Graham to explain why the Benghazi attack is any different than the 13 similar embassy attacks that occurred during the Bush administration – attacks that went unchallenged by Senator Graham and his party.

Democrats should also sponsor a bill closing tax loopholes for the rich in order to fund expanded embassy security. We can call it the “No More Benghazi’s Act.” Drag Lindsey Graham out of that closet he’s hiding in, and make him pick a team publicly: Is he for Wall Street or Main Street?

UPDATE: The House GOP has tried to cover its behind on this one by increasing funding for embassy security by $2 billion in this year’s appropriations bill.  But Democrats should still pay for it by closing tax loopholes for the rich.

Republicans would dismiss such hearings and votes as cheap political tricks, and they’d be exactly right. But the GOP would also have to explain why their hearings, investigations and political posturing are any different – they’re not.

It also might make Republicans think twice the next time they want to flippantly manufacture a crisis to get out of having to take a tough vote on an important issue.  We need to make Benghazi more painful than helpful for the Republicans.

It time to make the Republicans pee first.


Jon Green is a graduate of Kenyon College with a degree in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. A veteran of the campaigns of Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and President Obama in 2012, he writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @JonGreen8, and on Google+. .

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  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I know.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I’m pretty certain that only the house can impeach. The person who was impeached has a trial in the senate.

  • lynchie

    Only the house voted for impeachment, the Senate did not. So no impeachment. Nice try but a dollar short.

  • lynchie

    Well maybe its time to investigate Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell for war crimes and lying to the people. A little push back would be good. You can throw in Katrina, the collapse of the world economy, etc. However this would require Barry to bite the hands that made him a millionaire and that isn’t happening anytime soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kurt.steinbach Kurt David Steinbach

    I remember that Obama calling it an “act of terror” figuring heavily in Romney’s 2nd debate loss. Candy Crowley called him out on it live during the debate after Romney kept repeating the lie thatthe President refused to call it an act of terror. The press didn’t call it an act of terror from when it happened until after Obama spoke. The press is not the voice of the President. The press has not been the voice of the Administration since the days and months after the original 9/11 in 2001 when they put out nothing but WH Press Releases until 2006….

  • http://www.facebook.com/kurt.steinbach Kurt David Steinbach

    President Clinton was impeached in 1998. He was not removed from office. You need some understanding of these things before you speak up.and embarrass yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kurt.steinbach Kurt David Steinbach

    They need a majority in the House to impeach the President, which if every Republican voted for it (won’t happen), they could get. However, also required to remove from office is a 2/3 voted in the Senate 66 Senators right now. That would require every Republican, the Independents, and over 20 Democrats to vote for it. That will never happen. Face it GOP lovers, the democrats are smarter than you, and are not going to “give” you the head of one of the smartest and best Presidents ever on a silver platter….

  • http://www.facebook.com/kurt.steinbach Kurt David Steinbach

    Actually, the Secretary of State who outranks the Deputy Assistant
    Secretary of State has said that the funding cuts were an issue. That would explain the complaints from the DOS and Secretary of State that the security budget was cut.

  • Guest

    Actually, the Secretary of State who outranks the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State has said that the funding cuts were an issue. Th

  • http://twitter.com/NickyBayus Nick Bayus

    Democrats are spineless pussies ‘n Republipukes are godly fascists…other than that , great points that’ll never happen til $ = ONE vote , NOT millions .

  • Naja pallida

    So was that $2 billion allocated to the DSS, for Marine Corps security, or for Blackwater security contractors? That’s the problem with bureaucracy, there could be all the money in the world, and be just out of reach to be useful.

  • FLL

    I’m glad that this is going to be fun for you. Now may I draw your attention to a historical pattern that operates (almost) 100% of the time: the party of a second term president loses congressional seats in the midterm elections. There is only one time since the Civil War when this didn’t happen:
    In 1998, when the Republicans were impeaching Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair, the Republicans actually lost seats in the House, and the Senate remained unchanged.
    So while you’re having fun with the 2013 equivalent of “all Monica, all the time,” you might learn how to have fun watching the Republicans slowly devolve into the 21st century equivalent of the Whig Party. There are all sorts of ways to have fun.

  • irritatorofthepowerful

    Thanks! It’s a gift…

  • irritatorofthepowerful

    Good post…you bring up some relevant points. But the informal Statute of Limitations kind of precludes going after previous administrations. And as for the security $$$ cut, once a representative of the State Dept. says money was not an issue, it’s politically a dead issue whether it influenced an action or not. But I believe the State Dept. rep said money was not an issue since there still was something like $2B unspent…hard to cry poverty if you haven’t spent what you have allotted.

  • Naja pallida

    It’s just another notch in a long line of ways to get their base energized. If you look at the conservative movement in general right now, it is heavily fractured. But they drum up something like this that all of them can get behind, without altering their existing political contrivances, and it becomes a unifier at a point when they disparate groups could otherwise be tearing each other apart. It’s also a distraction from the fact that Congress has done absolutely nothing about our horrible economic situation, specifically because the Republicans refuse to grant Obama anything, lest it end up a political success for him.

  • ezpz

    For a clarity and sanity on Benghazi, Glenn Greenwald has it exactly right – and sans partisanship…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajoR0CWvbZI

  • Naja pallida

    Huckabee’s authority on the subject is about the same as that of my beagle. I can’t fathom why they would even put him out there to talk about it, unless everyone who might actually have a clue is refusing to do it because they know it’s just a sick joke. His “prediction” on anything isn’t worth a chicken fart.

  • Naja pallida

    You give them a lot more credit than I ever would for being able to actually accomplish something.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Why would you go on the offensive when your opponents are already shooting themselves in the dick?

    These fake scandals are great for Democrats. Every minute they are talking about birther nonsense is a minute they are not paying attention to what people care about.

    People inside the State department know that it is a stupid witch hunt and hate the GOP for bringing it up. People who are not in the State department really don’t care how dangerous it is to do that type of work.

    The only people who are getting worked up on this are the Wingnuts.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    “Someone’s having a bad day”? How classy.

  • Naja pallida

    There’s a fundamental problem with part of that, which discounts the funding argument entirely anyway: “The obligation to protect the mission itself falls to the host country, a job Libya may have failed to do.” Well… DUH. A country that just underwent a complete overthrow of it’s central authority, with poor provisional control, and bigger things to worry about than trying to protect us. We should have known better, and not only forced the Ambassador to stay at the embassy in an active war zone, but made sure that additional security was provided from the DSS, after the Libyan authorities explicitly went out of their way to bar us from using mercenary security contractors. Yes, mistakes were made, obviously… but I still fail to see a conspiracy here, that warrants the hair-on-fire attention Republicans are trying to give it. At least not unless they’re going to give the same attention to all the other similar incidents that have happened as a direct result of our interference and meddling in the middle east. And, regardless, it is a fact that security funding was cut. Even if it is one man’s opinion that it didn’t directly impact our missions in Libya, that doesn’t mean it didn’t influence someone’s decisions beyond his purview.

  • irritatorofthepowerful

    Someone’s having a bad day…

    Well, since you asked: Sure, I’ll use the murder of a US Ambassador for the first time in 30 years as the, ahem, Bright Line that differentiates the 13 attacks from Benghazi. This line is not to be confused with any Presidential bright line, be it red or perhaps pink.

    As to the bravery of the 4 murdered Americans: Chris Stevens and Sean Smith were on official State Department business in an area they KNEW to be dangerous…I’d call that quite brave. And Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died from mortar fire while they were trying to protect Americans. Brave, too, n’est-ce pas?

    Not sure where you get the idea that I have a man-crush on Dick Cheney or W or don’t care about all the poor folks who died on 9/11/01…did I mention them or can you just read minds? IF you can read minds, please tell me what Jay Carney was thinking last Friday when he was being grilled by reporters over his Benghazi talking point lies. I’m guessing it wasn’t, “Gee I’d rather have a V-8!”

    Here’s a clue: Neither you nor I know all there is to know about the Benghazi attack, and we may never know it all. But this onion is going to be peeled, and we’ll find out who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. And it’s going to be fun. Well, at least for me!

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    Yep.

    If these folks cared about crime at the highest level of government, George Bush would be sitting in a jail cell right now for enabling thousands of soldiers’ deaths on a war he knew was based on false premises.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’ve been saying this for days now: Benghazi = Whitewater. They tried to make a go of birtherism/seekrit-Mooslim to take down this duly-elected president, but it acquired too much tin-foil hattiness for any but the moron masses to take seriously.

    Benghazi is just an excuse for investigations, the same as Whitewater. The point isn’t to get at the truth — indeed, as soon as something new is figured out or learned, the GOP outrage machine isn’t sated in the least. They’re still claiming nobody will testify, despite having days and days FULL of testimony in open and closed hearings.

    The entire point is that there be a ginned up scandal. And as Rachel Maddow pointed out the other night, in the face of an actual “government doing wrong” scandal with the IRS targeting Teabagger groups for scrutiny, the GOPers are like a dog that won’t let go of the rancid bone even though you’re dangling a nice fresh juicy one right in front of their noses.

  • MyrddinWilt

    I disagree. I think that had Clinton been caught in the Monica Lewinsky lie alone he might well have been impeached. What saved Bill was the fact that the GOP had been so obviously trolling for a scandal from before he even took office. The first call for impeachment came before he even took the oath. And Ken Starr was obviously attempting entrapment and obviously completely biased so nobody thought he was owed a straight answer anyway.

    The GOP is playing from the exact same playbook with the Benghazi faux scandal. The real Benghazi scandal was Mitt Romney’s attempt to make political capital out of the event while it was still going on. He was so obviously happy that there had been an attack which might just get him into the oval office that they had to invent some sort of scam scandal, a scamdal to confuse the issue so their dimwit supporters could avoid thinking about how bad Mittens had bungled it.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    So that’s your bright line? It doesn’t matter that people died, only if they happened to be a U.S. ambassador? At which point, all the sharp knives are drawn and Something Must Be Done. Is that it?

    And why do you feel the need to assert that these were “brave” Americans? They were murdered and died, end of. A tragedy, no doubt, but you come along and feel compelled to project your idealization of who they were. I’ll wager that without resorting to Google or Wiki, you probably don’t even know their names or exactly how they died, or what they were doing when it happened.

    Personally, I think what was important were the nearly 3000 people who died on September 11, 2001. But hey, you guys were all like, “Let’s move on!” Clearly those lives weren’t very important to you. Is it because there were no U.S. ambassadors in the World Trade Center or at that part of the Pentagon when they were hit?

    But I’ll tell you what: If you’ll accept that George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest of that administration deserve impeachment and to be tried for war crimes for their rank incompetence on 9/11, blatant politicking of the incident, and the use of a national terrorist tragedy to launch a war of aggression against Iraq, we’ll accept that some heads should roll over Benghazi.

    Oh, and let’s not hang everything on your thin thread of what one deputy undersecretary of state said. How about instead we listen to the actual (now former) Secretary of State, during her testimony to Congress?

  • irritatorofthepowerful

    Well, golly-gosh, Jon, maybe I can help you with the questions you raised about funding and the 13 attacks during Bush’s administration:

    1. Funding was NOT a problem, at least according to deputy assistant secretary of state Charlene Lamb’s testimony last year (link: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/12/are-budget-cuts-to-blame-for-benghazi-attack-as-biden-suggested.html). Of course, The Daily Beast is an arch-conservative media source so you’ll probably discount it…

    2. And as for the difference between Benghazi and the 13 attacks while Bush was president, well, um, no US ambassadors died in any of those 13 attacks but one did die in Benghazi. But, hey, if you don’t think four brave American lives are important, then that’s your call!

  • Richard

    I agree the Senate Democrats should hold hearings on republican lack of funding for embassy security etc., but, unfortunately, Senate Dems lack any spine… not to mention they are desperately afraid of making McConnell angry….. Democrats used to know how to play “politics” now all they are concerned about is keeping their seat in the country club…. the thing we call the senate.

  • Indigo

    Actually, I was thinking that the public might benefit from having Congress submit to a drug test. They’re obviously ingesting something that disturbs the front lobe to a considerable extent.

  • JayRandal

    I believe Mitt Romney should be investigated as well because he outright believed Benghazi event was
    his ticket into White House. If he was involved, or knew about it in advance, he would deserve prosecution for it.

  • JayRandal

    I fully agree the Congressional GOPers should be investigated for what they knew beforehand of
    what transpired at Benghazi compound in Libya. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John McCain along
    with Rep. Issa and others need to pony up under oath what they knew and when? My belief it was a
    GOP affiliated false-flag operation thus a black-op of some kind poorly executed. If GOPers plotted
    the fumbled operation it would be an act of treason worthy of removal from Congress for any of those
    involved in it.

  • nicho

    I have to admit that I do like the shovel idea.

  • nicho

    There wasn’t any “there there” in Whitewater. There wasn’t any “there there” in the president getting a blowjob from an intern. Hell, George HW Bush used to regularly travel with his mistress — no one made a peep.

  • Whitewitch

    I think you hit the nail on the head…this is all about Mrs. Clinton and 2016, so get some popcorn and peanuts because I think we are in for four years of bashing, smashing and trying their best to undo any chance she has to become President (wouldn’t they just die if the had to endure not only a Black President, but then a Woman President…oh my Dorothy we are not in Kansas anymore.

  • Whitewitch

    Excellent article – too bad we can’t really make these guys do anything – but it is nice to dream.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Yesterday I had to sit through about 2 solid hours of Fox News. They are beating the Benghazi drum 24/7 there. Mike Huckabee is even “predicting” that Obama won’t finish his second term over this. But in all of that I just don’t see any “there there”. What exactly is criminal in all of this. No, this wasn’t handled the way a Republican administration would have handled it, but that’s why a majority of us didn’t vote for McCain or Romney. There’s no crime and there won’t be any impeachment and none of this will prevent Sec. Clinton from becoming president. So what do Republicans expect to happen from this except to waste time when they have so much else that needs to be done in the House and Senate?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rik.elswit Rik Elswit

    I agree wholeheartedly, but see nobody in the Democratic party with the guts to go on the offensive here.

  • caphillprof

    I think this is a case where the cleverness of the White House has backfired on it and they cannot seem to recover. There needs to be an organized effort, probably inside the Senate, to push back against the House Republicans.

    Benghazi is more of a CIA issue than a State Department issue. Apparently the State Department was using Benghazi as a quiet place to meet Turks and Saudis to foment rebels against Mideast dictators, particularly Assad in Syria. For the State Department to have had sufficient security to repulse the attackers on 9/11/12 would have been counter-productive to the secrecy needed.

    The State Department cannot guarantee the lives of Ambassadors and other personnel in all foreign postings and certainly no House Republican is prepared to appropriate moneys sufficient to doing so and raising taxes sufficient to pay for this amount of security.

    It remains unclear what the CIA operations where in Benghazi. I suspect it was something that our enemies need to know much more than ourselves. This is not the first time that Republicans have put party politics ahead of the national interest. They should pay a price for doing so again.

  • sunmusing

    If they be on fire, I “would” use a shovel to beat out the flames…Golden Showers are reserved for the convention crowd…

  • nicho

    Not me. I’d take any opportunity to pee on a Republican. Trouble is, a lot of them are probably into that.

  • clarenceswinney

    BUDGET BRIEFER
    2014 BUDGET
    EXPENDITURES-(3777 Billion)
    Social Security-Unemployment-Labor-33%
    Medicare-Health Care—25%
    Military—17%
    Interest 5%
    Vet Benefits-4%
    Transportation—4%
    Food-Agriculture—4%
    Housing-2%
    Education- 2%
    Energy % Environment-1%
    International Affairs-1%
    Service-1%
    Government 1%
    REVENUE—(3033 Billlion)
    Individual Income Tax-46%
    Payroll Tax—34%
    Corporate—11%
    Misc 5%
    Excise—3%
    Custom duties—1%
    Deficit-744 Billion—(2008 Budget last one under 1000B Deficit)
    Recall fuss over Bush not budgeting two wars? 20143 Budget does not include Afghan War funding
    Why cannot we pay our way with a 14,000B Income and 3777 outlays? Simple. Most of Income is at top and they have power ($$$$) to control Congress. Yes! They pay Most but lesser part (%) of income.
    Source:OMB.GOV

  • sunmusing

    At this point, I wouldn’t pee on a republican if they were on fire…I think the country sees the sham of these hearings, and the real point of these “witch hunts”…The only Democrats with any sort of backbone is Liz Warren, and ol’ Bernie…

  • http://www.paskino.com brian

    Republicans believe the Obama Administration lied to help them win the election. Obama did come out the next day that it was a terrorist attack. Mother Jones summed up the timeline nicely: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/05/very-brief-benghazi-recap

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Yeah, you hear all the yammering coming out of the House GOP:

    “They ignored the warnings!”

    “They didn’t respond correctly when the attack occurred!”

    “They tried to cover up and obstruct investigations of the attack, afterwards!”

    To which the correct response is “Yeah, IMPEACH that bastard, Dubya sure deserved being impeached after screwing the pooch on 9/11/01.”

    Time to really get to the bottom of 9/11, in a Senate investigation. THIS time, Dubya doesn’t get to sit on Cheney’s lap like a ventriloquist’s dummy.

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