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Charlie Vignola: Bye bye Benghazi

Posted: August 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Here’s a question: when politicians or public figures are dead wrong about a claim they’ve repeatedly made, what expectations does the public reasonably have to either an apology or even an acknowledgement that they were wrong in the first place?

Apparently, it depends on which party you ask.

See, if you’re a Democrat and you screw up — like, say, President Obama telling the public that if they like their insurance they can keep it under Obamacare — then Republicans expect a major mea culpa when it turns out that

Obama was wrong and some insurance companies offering substandard policies must then cancel those policies.

And not only should we expect an apology, but we should bludgeon the president with this mistake over and over again for good measure, to make sure he never says anything stupid or wrong again.

But when Republican figures make claims about Obamacare that turn out to be wrong? As in:

“It’s unconstitutional ... even if it isn’t, the broken website won’t get fixed ... even if it does, not enough people will sign up ... and even if they do, the young people needed to prevent a ‘death spiral’ won’t sign up ... even if they do, people won’t pay their premiums ... even if they do, people won’t like their new policies.”

Well, when it’s people on the right who get things factually, provably wrong, then nobody deserves an apology and it’s a waste of time to dwell in the past.

Which brings us to a little thing called Benghazi. For a while there, it was the grand scandal of the Obama administration, a sinister conspiracy to cover up a preventable tragedy that should rightfully lead to President Obama’s impeachment and Hillary Clinton’s disqualification as a presidential candidate in 2016.

We heard it shouted from every corner of the right wing media. Fox News effectively became the Fox Benghazi Channel for the better part of two years.

And then a funny thing happened: on Aug. 1, after a comprehensive two-year investigation, the House Intelligence Committee — led by Republicans, mind you — released their findings and concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The report bears out the Obama administration’s version of events, finally confirming that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no “stand-down” order to U.S. forces was given.

Not only that, but the whole report was declassified so that anyone who still had doubts could pore over the evidence itself.

I’m guessing this is probably news to some of you out there, as this “bombshell” was conspicuously missing from Fox

News or any other high-profile right-wing news outlet during the last week and half.

But it’s real, it happened, and it’s all in the history books now. Anyone who still touts a cover-up at the heart of Benghazi and insists that “Obama and Hillary left those people to die” is now either ignorant or just plain crazy.

Which brings us back to the main question: what expectation does the public have now that the figures fanning the flames of the “Benghazi Conspiracy” for the past two years will face the music and do their mea culpas?

That expectation turns on what party you belong to. Again, when the Democratic president makes a huge public gaffe, Republicans practically expect him to wear a dunce hat for his error in judgment — but when Republicans commit gaffes of equal or greater idiocy? The silence is deafening.

Recently, I posted an article about this development on Facebook, and rather than getting honest responses from the conservative peanut gallery, I got a lot of snarky responses along the lines of, “Oh, great, so the administration didn’t deliberately intend to have those people killed. What an accomplishment.”

Of course, that’s just a sneaky, backhanded way to try to sidestep the inflammatory accusations that’d been made for years and deny any accountability from the right-wing pundits who incessantly painted Obama as some coward/traitor who willfully abandoned brave Americans to die.

Here’s the deal, guys: you made false charges, you stood by them, and you insisted that eventually the truth would be revealed and prove your assertions right.

And then the Republicans did a thorough two-year investigation, revealed the conspiratorial claims were all wrong, and declassified the report to remove any lingering doubt.

Republicans are praying that like Mitt Romney, this will all just go away like a bad dream and they can move on to hyping the next would-be scandal. But sorry; I’m calling them out.

The Obama-haters don’t get to quietly crawl back into the memory hole with their now-debunked nonsense and seal it shut behind them without being rightfully shamed in the public square.

Man up, folks, and admit you were wrong for a change.

The first step to recovering your credibility is admitting you have a problem.

Charlie Vignola is a former college Republican turned liberal Democrat. He lives in Fair Oaks Ranch, works in the motion picture industry and loves his wife and children.



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