First rule of GOP politics: Never, never, EVER tell the truth

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just committed a “gaffe” in Michael Kinsley’s sense of the term: in an unguarded moment, he allowed himself to tell the truth. The truth is, as most of has have always known, that Benghazi!, like its predecessor Whitewater!, was an entirely bad-faith exercise in partisan character assassination from the get-go. But don’t listen to me, listen to what the Speaker-to-Be told Sean Hannity:

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.

Naturally, the rest of the House Republicans are outraged: not, of course, at Trey Gowdy for ghoulishly making a political meal out of the bodies of four dead Americans, but at McCarthy for blabbing.

The political press corps is caught in the middle. Lots of those reporters and editors, especially at the New York Times, have been more than willing to peddle Gowdy’s “partial-transcript” leaks as if they had news value, and to let Gowdy and his staff hide behind anonymity to defame a political rival. In other words, they’ve been playing according to the Clinton Rules, which hold that anything a Clinton does is guilty even after it’s been proven innocent.

So far, most of that crowd has reacted to McCarthy’s stunning admission, which makes them look like fools or scoundrels or both, by ignoring it. But I’m hoping that the second round of stories, with other Republicans commenting on McCarthy’s blunder, will start to crack that Wall of Silence. And I’m starting to look forward to Clinton’s appearance before Trey Gowdy’s inquisition. He might well come out of that experience as no more than a Deuce.





“PBS alters transcript to hide Obama gaffe.”
Only there was no alteration, and no gaffe.
And no retraction from any of the Red bloggers who spread the misinformation, even after it was corrected.

PBS alters transcript to hide Obama gaffe. 

All of the usual Red Blogistan outlets – Instapundit, Malkin, Hot Air, Human Events, even the usually sane Jonathan Adler at the usually sane Volokh Conspiracy – were all over the story like a cheap suit, and Memeorandum headlined it.

Only, there wasn’t any altered transcript:  the NPR story was the text as prepared, while the supposed “gaffe” was in the speech as delivered.

And there wasn’t any “gaffe,” either: Obama referred to Lincoln as “founder of the Republican party.” Perfectly conventional, and historically defensible: Lincoln was a leader of the outcry about the Kansas-Nebraska act that led to the formation of the Republican party, and led the Clay Whigs out of the dying Whig Party and into coalition with the Free Soilers under the Republican banner. The meeting at Ripon where the word “Republican” was first used didn’t found a national party: there was no national Republican convention until 1856. Lincoln was the headliner at the Decatur meeting that organized the Illinois Republicans, and headed the slate of Fremont electors in Illinois in that year.

OK. This sort of thing can happen, especially if you’re not very bright, very trapped in your echo chamber, and conspiratorially minded. But what’s striking – and a contrast to the way things are handled in Blue Blogistan – not a single one of the Red bloggers taken in by this nonsense has manned up and retracted. Not one.

You might almost think they didn’t mind spreading a little bit of misinformation in a bad cause.