Her words are already long gone from the daily flow; in fact, they never really resonated at all, were all but ignored by the mainstream media, and were characterized more as a feisty in-your-face comeback than what they truly were.
And what they truly were was horrifying — but at the same time a deep insight into the Democratic mindset, as well as a peek at what may be coming in 2016.
Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton finally appeared to answer questions before two congressional panels on exactly what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
That day, the consulate was overrun by heavily armed terrorists, some with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, others with high-powered assault weapons. They swept past the almost nonexistent security, killed the U.S. ambassador and set the building on fire. They followed when dozens of Americans fled to a more-heavily fortified annex nearby, but U.S. forces did nothing during the next 10 hours and three more were killed, including two Navy SEALs.
For weeks, the White House and top administration officials said the assault was merely a protest turned violent: The angry mass had gathered to protest a short video posted on YouTube that Muslims reportedly found offensive. It was, they said, spontaneous, and it was, they said, all about that video.
The hearing last week was a fact-finding mission: Lawmakers charged with oversight of the State Department gathered to ask the secretary of state — for the first time — what went wrong, and to find out, if possible, the cause of the deadly blunder. More, they wanted to hear from the secretary herself just why the administration had said for so long that a video caused an impromptu protest that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador.
Asked during a Senate hearing why they had given out faulty information for so long, Mrs. Clinton grew angry and, with her voice rising, her hands flailing, said: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?!”
And that, in a nutshell, sums up the frightening Democratic mindset. The administration had buried the matter for months in an internal investigation: No one from the White House to the State Department would comment on what happened, turning away queries with the simple: “It’s under investigation.” And they weren’t about to start explaining now.
Remember, the story had changed completely just hours before another congressional hearing months earlier. State Department officials, speaking with anonymity, had scrambled to hold a hastily-arranged conference call with reporters to say, in essence, “Oh, turns out it was terrorists, not just protesters, who attacked in Benghazi. And oh, nothing to do with any video.” That call came just before officials planned to tell a completely new story, but this time to lawmakers, where — as Mrs. Clinton learned after her husband’s affair with a White House intern — lying under oath is a felony.
So, lawmakers still wanted to know why the administration dispatched aides to the Sunday talk shows right after the deadly attack to say it was the culmination of a spontaneous attack over a video. Later, Mrs. Clinton and President Obama would say that they were merely offering up the best information at the time, but as information dribbed and drabbed out over the following months, it turned out that no one in the intelligence community ever said the attack was spontaneous or caused by a video posted on YouTube nearly six months earlier.
But Mrs. Clinton made clear at the hearing that she didn’t have to answer to anyone — certainly not elected lawmakers, let alone the American people. “What difference does it make?!” she bellowed. Now, this hearing was in fact a hearing intended to find out why the administration said the attack came after an impromptu protest over a video. Senators made clear in the days preceded the hearing that they planned to ask just that, get the answer to that most pressing unanswered question.
“You know, to be clear,” the secretary explained, as if to children, “it is, from my perspective, less important today, looking backwards, as to why these militants decided they did it [sic], than to find them and bring them to justice.”
So, from her perspective, there doesn’t need to be any investigation into why the administration said what it said. It’s like a child breaking a lamp, lying about it to his parents, and then saying, “Look, we could go on and on about who said what about breaking the lamp, but fixing the lamp now is really all that’s important — let’s move on.”
And that is terrifying. The secretary of state said simply, “The ends justify the means.” The Obama administration had lied about what happened in Benghazi to help secure a second term for the president, buried the murder of Americans in a private investigation, then, when finally questioned, said, “What difference does it make!?” what we said way back then.
The tactic is, of course, how Democrats operate. They feel that what they are doing is morally superior; thus, however they can achieve their goals is above question or reproach. In fact, in this case, they can lie about it — bald-faced — and then dismiss lawmakers’ questions with an indignant huff.
It is, as we know, exactly how the Clintons operate. Bill Clinton lied for weeks and months over his sexual dalliance with an intern only a few years older than his daughter — even under oath — and Democrats decried the probe as a witch hunt. Remember when Mrs. Clinton made $100,000 through spurious cattle futures contracts? Of course not: By the time it all came around, the Clintons said, “Oh, that old stuff?” Or the time the Clintons announced they had suddenly found papers demanded by investigators for years? And don’t even ask about Vincent W. Foster Jr.
This is what’s coming in 2016. A politician running for president who need not answer questions from anyone. And that truly is horrifying.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.