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 graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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