GOP’s trumped-up Benghazi scandal hasn’t tarnished Hillary Clinton
If Republicans think their bogus Benghazi scandal will serve to render Hillary Clinton beatable in the 2016 presidential, which seems to be the principal purpose of this exercise of late, they had better think again.
I noted HERE yesterday that Clinton’s name was mentioned almost five times as often as President Obama’s in Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on Benghazi. The objective of the GOP scandal-mongers was clear: Bring Hillary down a peg or two or five.
But I’m betting that the next batch of polls measuring Clinton’s popularity will show that she remains far more well-liked among the American people than any Republican politician in the land.
Stephen Stomberg offers THIS SLANT on the matter:
[I]f their obsession with Benghazi is partly an attempt to render her [Clinton] incapable of winning the general election in 2016, the affair won’t do it for them. Or even get close.
At first, in fact, Republicans didn’t even try. Following the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks, their initial target was Susan Rice, a lesser-known Obama appointee and possible Clinton successor at the State Department. She was far less popular in Washington, and she didn’t have much of a national reputation. Easier, in other words, to take down with a small club.
Clinton, on the other hand, continues to be one of the most-scrutinized people on earth, and, following her time as secretary of state, her reputation remains strong. Even after the attention the right has paid to Benghazi — including demanding she testify to Congress — her approval numbers remain in the 60s. If she runs for president, of course, they wouldn’t stay there. Any residual support among Republicans who have compared her favorably to President Obama will dry up. But that would have happened with or without Benghazi.
Benghazi, anyway, did not stop Obama from winning last year, even while the attacks were recent news. They were horrific, but not the stuff that turns elections. As Marc Ambinder argues, the facts don’t suggest any believable, coherent narrative of grand conspiracy or utter perfidy in the top ranks of the Obama administration. Digging into them would likely to confuse a lot of voters. In 2016 Clinton would suffer — or benefit — far more from the state of the economy, the way she campaigns and voters’ impressions of her personality than from one episode in 2012 that didn’t capture the public’s imagination.