Republicans need to learn when they have won an argument, rather than continuously demanding more “answers” to supposedly unanswered questions or more explicit admissions, from Democrats. This is true whether it relates to Benghazis, sequesters, or whatever.
Very early in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 attack on our consulate in Libya, we learned the following from reliable reports and Obama Administration statements:
- Terrorist attacks at or near our diplomatic facilities in Libya occurred months before the 11th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the homeland;
- Ambassador Chris Stevens requested additional security for those diplomatic facilities through regular State Department channels, again, months before 9/11/2012;
- No additional security was forthcoming;
- The State Department agreed to leave much of the security for the facilities to what passed for the Libyan government and their arrangement with a so-called “private” security firm so as not to offend their sensibilities concerning infidels on Muslim soil;
- Video and eyewitness evidence in real-time at the consulate revealed no anti-Mohammed video demonstration occurred before the guerrilla attack with artillery and other weapons not ordinarily carried around casually by demonstrators; and
- During the week after the attack, and before the appearance of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on Sunday political shows, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with family members of the those killed at the consulate when their bodies were returned to Delaware, and blamed the attack on anti-video protesters.
Given all of the above and the application of common sense to known and admitted facts, it is not necessary to continue to demand “answers” to the questions of whether the administration was derelict in their duty to provide security for American diplomats in Libya; in lying about a lack of notice of the danger by referring to a non-existence “spontaneous” protest; and in failing to come to their rescue in the up to seven hours after the attack begun.
To make the case against the Administration, it is not necessary that its officials admit the logical import of the already known and/or admitted facts; and it is definitively not helpful to engage in the inane Washington-speak tactic of alleging that “questions remained unanswered.” One almost gets the impression that Republicans want the Administration to come up with more clever lies so that they don’t have to “be mean” and admit the obvious about their “colleagues on the other side of the aisle”: That the President, Secretary of State and numerous other administration officials have answered all of the above questions; that they lied; and they showed indifference to their duty to secure the safety of Americans putting their lives on the line for this country, in the extreme.
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For some unknown reason, our side to often requires explicit mea culpas from the equivalent of criminal defendants despite the presence of numerous smoking guns that prove cases against Democrats beyond any reasonable doubt.
Sperling’s Sequester Admissions
Now comes claims in Bob Woodward’s book, The Price of Politics, released in September 2012, that recounts how newly confirmed Treasury Secretary (then Budget Director) Jack Lew came up with the idea of the sequester option during 2011 negotiations with Congress seeking a debt ceiling/spending cut deal that President Obama authorized him to make in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. President Obama signed the continuing resolution to raise the debt ceiling that included the sequester with no mention of any prospect that “revenues” (i.e. new and/or raised taxes) would be required to replace the sequester-mandated spending cuts.
No protest was made concerning Woodward’s published claims even after Lew was nominated for Treasury Secretary! Meanwhile, President Obama is on video threatening to veto any bill that would repeal the sequester. Only after President Obama recently, and for the first time, claimed that the imposition of the sequester would usher in a return to the Dark Ages of plague, inquisitions and feudal lords over impoverished American serfs and that it was the GOP’s idea; did the Administration contradict Woodward’s over five-month old, published claims.
Now comes former Clintonite, Gene Sperling, now an aide to President Obama, in a recent email to Bob Woodward [emphases added]:
I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.
But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand bargain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)
I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is different. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.
My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.
The emphasized portions of the email are what lawyers call “admissions”. The “specific” trees that Sperling “understands” are that the sequester idea was Obama and Lew’s (not a Republican) idea. And when one has to resort to “assumptions” to make one’s point, they have, as the saying goes, “made an ass out of you and me”, i.e. one has lost the argument. Finally, when one says there is “more than one side” to an argument that can only have one side (either the Obama Administration or the GOP House FIRST introduced the idea of a sequester, not both), they are conceding you caught them in a lie.
It is not necessary to put people on the rack and demand explicit admissions in approved language to make the case to the jury that matters, the American people.
Additionally, having passed at least two bills to replace the across-the-board sequester cuts, including one that would make explicit that President Obama have the discretion to allocate cuts as he sees fit to avoid the list of horribles (an end to FDA meat inspection, air traffic control, and massive civilian Pentagon employee lay-offs, etc that he claims are required by across-the-board cuts and restrictive budget laws) but which the Chief Executive declared he would veto; the Republicans now have the evidence that Obama intends to INTENTIONALLY inflict necessary human suffering and try to blame it on the GOP. One hopes that Republicans have the guts to state the obvious.
Republicans, please make the moral case against Obama that he is a venal liar indifferent to the debt, the truth, sequester-imposed suffering he intentionally intends to inflict and the very lives of American diplomats overseas. Please, learn how to declare victory when it’s handed to you, and leave the courtroom. Even if Wolf Blitzer might call you “mean”.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson