The United States criminal justice system could be improved if we sell poor people convicted of crimes into slavery. — Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. 10/15/15

“It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me. I’ve been spending more time going after Bernie and socialism because I don’t want America to succumb to the notion that there’s anything good about socialism. I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it.” — Rand Paul warning the a Sanders presidency could lead to “mass genocide.”

“I own guns. I’m planning on keeping them. But there’s a problem… Obama is coming for our guns.”— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), in a fundraising letter. 10/16/15

“I would have taken her to task for that, and if she wins the nomination and if I win the nomination, trust me, this is not going to end.”— Jeb Bush, on Hillary’s email problem.

“OK, so here’s the deal. First of all, The Wall Street Journal was bought for $5 billion [in 2007]. It’s now worth $500 million, OK? They don’t have to tell me what to do.” — Donald Trump, after the WSJ called him “the most anti-trade candidate since Herbert Hoover.” 10/18/15

“Trey Gowdy is delusional if he thinks the Benghazi Committee’s partisan curtain hasn’t been lifted. The investigation into the tragic events in Benghazi stopped long ago, while the true focus of the Committee’s partisan, taxpayer-funded effort being to target Hillary Clinton. Through their actions, the Republicans have guaranteed that this Committee’s work will be remembered as a political witch hunt, spurred by leaked information, cheap partisan hackery and the long-debunked notion that this would ever be a fair investigation.” — David Brock 10/18/15

“We’re seeing our freedoms taken away every day and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously. Last night was an audition for who would embrace government power for who would strip your and my individual liberties. Every one of the Democratic candidates is agreed on doubling down on the failed Obama strategies. So it was really quite interesting for America to see each and every Democratic candidate explain how they’re every bit as socialist as Bernie Sanders is.” — Ted Cruz, who acknowledged that he hadn’t actually watched the Democratic debate. 10/14/15 http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/10/ted-cruz-calls-democrats-debate-an-audition-to-wear-jackboots-of-despot.html/

“I would say in some ways these have been among the worst weeks of my life. Attacks on your character, attacks on your motives, are 1,000-times worse than anything you can do to anybody physically — at least it is for me.” — Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), on suggestions that his Benghazi investigation is only a political attack on Hillary Clinton.

“And in my judgement, with respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November, because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors,” — Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) preparing to impeach Hillary Clinton, should she get elected.10/19/15

“I just don’t like the guy.” — George W. Bush about Ted Cruz. 10/19/15

“Absolutely. Good. I would do that.” — Donald Trump, about closing mosques as a measure to fight ISIS in the US. 10/21/15


1. GOP Gerrymandering Is Disrupting the House

Thanks to gerrymandering, all but two of the 45 anti-Boehner rebels are guaranteed re-election in politically engineered monopoly districts that insulate them not only from Democratic challengers but also from the dictates of their party leadership, as John Boehner learned in five tormented years as Speaker. 10/01/15 http://reclaimtheamericandream.org/2015/10/how-gop-gerrymandering-helped-topple-boehner/

2. GunFAIL CXLI: Week of 9/25 – 10/01/15

53 guns were discovered by TSA agents at airports around the country.

Twenty-four people shot themselves or a family member/significant other. Eleven kids were accidentally shot, ranging in age from two to 17. There are three hunting accidents and three “home invasion” shootings, and a “thought she was an intruder” shooting.

The story of the week was the two women were accidentally shot and killed this week by boyfriends posing for Snapchat photos with their guns and training their laser sights on them.

For the rest of this week’s list go to http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/10/11/1425378/-Never-point-your-gun-at-anything-you-don-t-intend-to-kill-Unless-Snapchat-GunFAIL-CXLI

3. Andy Borowitz: Benghazi Hearings Cancelled After Clinton Drops Out of Race

Washington was in turmoil on Tuesday morning as a House select committee abruptly cancelled its Benghazi hearings shortly after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she was withdrawing from the Presidential race.

“As you know, we have been preparing for this week’s hearings for months,” Gowdy said. “However, after meeting with fellow committee members over the past four minutes, we’ve come to the conclusion that we know all we need to know about Benghazi.”

But shortly after Gowdy’s announcement, Clinton called an impromptu press conference at 9:13 to announce that she was jumping back into the race. “I was just trying to prove a point,” she told reporters, before heading off to campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Minutes after Clinton’s second announcement, an irate Gowdy called her decision to reenter the race “beyond unethical” and revealed that the committee’s investigators had just uncovered fresh evidence about Benghazi.

Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/


“‘When you talk about George Bush – I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time. …He was president, OK? Don’t blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.’ — Donald Trump 10/16/15


“How pathetic for @realdonaldtrump to criticize the president for 9/11. We were attacked & my brother kept us safe.” — Jeb Bush@JebBush who has always avoided the fact that the period of time during which Bush kept us safe includes 9/11 itself.

“It’s time for people to stand up and proclaim for what they believe and stop being bullied.” — Ben Carson, defending free speech on campus. 10/21/15


“I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do. It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.” — Ben Carson, opposing free speech on campus. 10/21/15

5. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Fox Regular: Democratic Endorsement Of Black Lives Matter Is “Plantation Politics,” “Whoring For Votes” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/14/fox-contributor-democratic-endorsement-of-black/206174

Limbaugh: Women Of The DNC Support Hillary Clinton Because They Are “Harboring A Secret Rage,” And The Men Kowtow “To Feminazis”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/16/limbaugh-women-of-the-dnc-support-hillary-clint/206222

New York Times Fails To Explain Right-Wing Ties Of Obama Critic (The New York Times allowed retired F.B.I. senior official Ron Hosko to criticize President Obama over his recent comments concerning the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server without explaining that Hosko is the president of a right-wing organization.) http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/10/16/new-york-times-fails-to-explain-right-wing-ties/206215

Rep. Elijah Cummings Debunks Right-Wing Media’s Claim That Clinton Sent “Classified Information” About CIA Source Over Private Email http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/10/18/rep-elijah-cummings-debunks-right-wing-medias-c/206254

Fox’s Kilmeade Encourages Donald Trump To Blame Bill Clinton For 9/11 Attacks http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/19/foxs-kilmeade-encourages-donald-trump-to-blame/206257

6. CIA Debunks Gowdy’s Allegation That Clinton Email Contained Classified CIA Source


Dear Mr. Chairman:

On October 7, 2015, you sent me a 13-page letter making a grave new accusation against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Specifically, you accused her of compromising national security and endangering lives.

The problem with your accusation—as with so many others during this investigation—is that you failed to check your facts before you made it, and the CIA has now informed the Select Committee that you were wrong. I believe your accusations were irresponsible, and I believe you owe the Secretary an immediate apology.

Contrary to your claims, the CIA yesterday informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified.  Specifically, the CIA confirmed that “the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information.”

Unfortunately, you sent your letter on October 7 without checking first with the CIA.  Now that we have done so, we have learned that your accusations were incorrect.

Unfortunately, the standard operating procedure of this Select Committee has become to put out information publicly that is inaccurate and out of context in order to attack Secretary Clinton for political reasons.  These repeated actions bring discredit on this investigation and undermine the integrity of the Select Committee and the House of Representatives.

Sincerely, Elijah E. Cummings,
Ranking Member


7. SNL Cold Open: Democratic Debate


8. A Petition For Stronger Gun Laws (video)


America’s lax gun laws are often based on a reading of the Second Amendment that makes it hard to pass restrictive gun laws, even as our weapons get much, much deadlier. http://www.vox.com/2015/10/15/9540747/video-second-amendment-musket

9. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Moderator Anderson Cooper asked Lincoln Chafee why he switched parties from being a Republican, and Chafee called himself a ‘block of granite.’ When asked what he meant by that, Chafee said, ‘I meant that I’d make a better countertop than president.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Turned out it was the highest-rated debate for the Democrats ever. More than 15 million people tuned in to watch Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the three high school principals they invited to fill out the stage.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Sanders supporters pointed to the fact that Bernie was the most googled of all the candidates during the debate. Sounds like a big thing until you realize the top questions they googled included, who is Bernie Sanders? And, is Bernie Sanders Jewish?” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Anderson cooper tried to make a case that Bernie Sanders isn’t electable because he calls himself a socialist. I think that’s the least of his problems. I think he isn’t electable because he calls himself Bernie.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Donald Trump was live tweeting the debate last night. This morning he told ABC News he thought Clinton got through it ‘fine.’ Which is the highest compliment he can give a woman without marrying her.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Sheryl Crow performed the National Anthem before last night’s debate, but many Twitter users were unhappy with her performance. Mostly because they thought the National Anthem was Uptown Funk.” –Seth Meyers

“During the debate, the candidates mentioned the middle class eleven times. Once for each remaining member of the middle class.” –Seth Meyers

“One of Bernie Sanders’ campaign advisers said they wanted him to tone down his yelling at tonight’s debate. You could tell he was yelling too much because I had to keep turning the volume UP to hear the commercials.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new analysis of recent political speeches found that George W. Bush actually used longer and more complex words in his speeches than President Obama does. Granted none of those words were actually in the dictionary. ‘Don’t be condescencious. My vocablulation is completely misunderestimated.'” –Jimmy Fallon

10. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Conservatives gone wild


11. “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah — Post-debate Exhilaration


12. Presidential Debate Schedule

Republican presidential debate schedule

October 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colorado. To be aired on CNBC
November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee. To be aired on the Fox Business network.
December 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. To be aire aired on CNN.
Next, sometime in January, in Iowa. To be aire aired on Fox News.
There will be 3debates in February, and at least two more expected afterward.

Democratic presidential debate schedule

November 6, 2015: First in the South Candidates Forum. To be aired on MSNBC. Details here.
November 14, 2015: Des Moines, Iowa. Hosted by CBS, KCCI, and the Des Moines Register.
December 19, 2015: Manchester, New Hampshire. Hosted by ABC and WMUR.
January 17, 2016: Charleston, South Carolina. Hosted by NBC and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.
February 11, 2016: Somewhere in Wisconsin. Hosted by PBS.
March 9, 2016: Miami, Florida. Hosted by Univision and the Washington Post.

General election debate schedule

September 26, 2016: First presidential debate in Dayton, Ohio, at Wright State University
October 4, 2016: Vice presidential debate in Farmville, Virginia at Longwood University
October 9, 2016: Second presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri, at Washington University in St. Louis
October 19, 2016: Third presidential debate in Las Vegas at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas


13. Fox News ‘Terrorism Expert’ Was Just Arrested For Fraud

Wayne Simmons was arrested by the FBI for what the agency called “major fraud” — lying about having worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for nearly 30 years, and then using that lie to obtain government security clearances.

Before his arrest Simmons was a frequent contributor on Fox News, which billed him as a “former CIA operative.” As might be expected, he used his claimed experience to make provocative assertions – such as telling Fox News that the Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi) is a pathological liar. 10/16/15 http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/10/16/3713099/fox-news-wayne-simmons/

14. CIA shrugs off Clinton’s ‘classified’ email

The credibility of the Republican-led Benghazi committee came under fresh attack Sunday after the CIA informed the panel that it does not view a 2011 email forwarded by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as including any classified information. The committee chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., had cited Clinton’s handling of the March 18, 2011, email as a prime example of her misusing her private email server to receive and send highly classified information. 10/19, 2015 https://www.yahoo.com/politics/cia-shrugs-off-clinton-s-1281399243022390.html

15. Poll: Obama’s approval rating hits an 18-month high, is back over 50 percent

51 percent majority of the public approves of President Obama’s job performance in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, while 45 percent disapproves. Although tepidly positive, those are Obama’s best numbers since May 2013 in Post-ABC surveys. 10/19/15  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/10/19/poll-obamas-approval-rating-hits-an-18-month-high-is-back-over-50-percent/

16. Americans’ Desire for Stricter Gun Laws Up Sharply

Fifty-five percent of Americans say they want laws covering the sale of firearms to be stricter than they are now, a distinct rise of eight percentage points from 2014. Fewer Americans than last year want the laws to be less strict, and the proportion who want the laws to stay the same has also declined slightly. 10/19/15 http://www.gallup.com/poll/186236/americans-desire-stricter-gun-laws-sharply.aspx

17. MarkFiore: Conservatives Gone Wild


18. Ted Cruz comments on the Democrat’s debate – that he hadn’t watched

Ted Cruz, who acknowledged that he hadn’t actually watched the Democratic debate, said:

“It was more socialism, more pacifism, more weakness & less Constitution. It was a recipe to destroy a country.”

“We’re seeing our freedoms taken away every day and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously. Last night was an audition for who would embrace government power for who would strip your and my individual liberties.”

“Every one of the Democratic candidates is agreed on doubling down on the failed Obama strategies. So it was really quite interesting for America to see each and every Democratic candidate explain how they’re every bit as socialist as Bernie Sanders is.” October 14, 2015 http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/10/ted-cruz-calls-democrats-debate-an-audition-to-wear-jackboots-of-despot.html/


1. Heather Digby Parton: The resurrection of the “liberal”: How the right tried to destroy American liberalism — and how it came back from the dead

What a difference a decade makes. On Tuesday night, the Democratic presidential candidates not only openly identified themselves as progressives, they embraced gun control, support for Planned Parenthood, criminal justice reform, LGBT and immigrant rights, and a long, impressive list of progressive economic reforms. The moderators even asked if the candidates considered themselves to be capitalists, a question so startling it would have drawn gasps from the audience in the not too distant past. Instead of rushing to defend their all-American capitalist bona fides as they once would have done, Bernie Sanders matter of factly said he didn’t consider himself a “casino capitalist,” and Hillary Clinton said she hope to save capitalism from itself. These comments from front-running Democratic candidates would have once been the headlines in the morning papers. Instead, it pretty much passed unnoticed. Indeed, it appears that even the word “socialism” is once again respectable, a development which would have caused the political establishment to collectively call for the fainting couch just a few years ago. 10/15/15 Read more at http://www.salon.com/2015/10/15/the_resurrection_of_the_liberal_how

2. Jamelle Bouie: An Empty Conspiracy

At this point, the House Select Committee on Benghazi is a dead letter. Democrats will dismiss it entirely, Hillary Clinton—in her upcoming testimony—will likely treat it with contempt, and the media will disregard its claims. Indeed, there’s a chance this could spread beyond the committee to Clinton’s email controversy.

For all the noise over her server, there’s been no evidence of wrongdoing or legal misconduct in Clinton’s emails. And President Obama has challenged the idea that Clinton harmed national security by using a private system. Barring genuine revelations, the collapse of the Benghazi committee might create skepticism around future email releases. In other words, it could kill the story or at least make it less critical to Clinton coverage.

For months, the Benghazi Committee was the sharpest tool in the GOP’s fight against Hillary Clinton. Now, thanks to missteps (and a little hubris), it’s almost dull beyond use. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics

3. Lanny Davis: Real Winner in Vegas Was the Democratic Party

There are a lot of ways to contrast the Democratic debate Tuesday night with the Republican debates, but one thing would likely get agreement across the spectrum – from voters in red states and blue states, liberals and conservatives: Democrats avoided personal attacks and insults and debated the issues; Republicans have spent much more time during their debates attacking one another, with the vitriol and bile of Donald Trump leading the race to the bottom.

Tuesday night in Las Vegas, Senator Sanders exemplified what all the Democrats in the debate conveyed: He refused to attack Hillary Clinton personally and refused to make an issue of the email controversy.  He received a standing ovation from the crowd, and he deserved it.

Sen. Sanders said that most Americans care more about hearing discussions about solutions to their most important problems. Of course he is right, according to all the polls.

So good for Sen. Sanders – the handshake with Hillary Clinton was the high point of the evening.

Why? Because most Americans want civil disagreement – a debate about the issues – not personal attacks.

Republicans ought to learn this lesson. The problem is, with Trump on the stage, it appears that most (though not all) can’t resist sinking down to his level. 10/15/15 http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/10/15/real_winner_in_vegas_was_the_democratic_party_128416.html

4. Dana Milbank: The House Benghazi committee unravels

If this were one of Trey Gowdy’s murder prosecutions, it would be declared a mistrial.

For 17 months, the former prosecutor who leads the House Benghazi committee has labored to give the appearance of diligence and impartiality. But, in an inexplicable and ruinous outbreak of honesty in recent weeks, the thing is unraveling just in time for Gowdy’s moment in the spotlight: Hillary Clinton’s testimony Thursday.

The ham-handed targeting of Clinton predates the Gowdy panel. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who led an earlier Benghazi investigation, suggested, falsely, that Clinton had issued a “stand-down” order to block a military response the night of the Benghazi attack. Issa also alleged, falsely, that Clinton personally authorized security reductions in Libya with her “signature” on a cable.

The contretemps have continued under Gowdy. The chairman claimed that he had “zero interest” in the Clinton Foundation and hadn’t issued a subpoena related to it or interviewed a “single person” about it other than the staffer who set up Clinton’s private email server. But Gowdy had armed marshals serve a subpoena at the home of Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal, and Gowdy and others asked Blumenthal numerous questions about the foundation.

Could such a skilled prosecutor and his experienced staff really be so hapless? Or are the mistakes more purposeful? Consider the damaging New York Times story this summer that initially reported, incorrectly, that federal inspectors general had requested a “criminal investigation” into whether Clinton “mishandled sensitive government information.”

The “senior government officials” responsible for the two false allegations were anonymous. But there are some likely suspects. 10/20/15 https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-house-benghazi-committee-unravels/2015/10/20/ad6101c4-7763-11e5-a958-d889faf561dc_story.html

5. Edward Maibach: Voters to GOP: ‘I’m not a scientist’ won’t cut it on climate change

If the Republican Party wants to win the White House in 2016, it should take climate change seriously.

Republicans have been groping for the right way to talk about global warming. They want to satisfy their big donors — fossil fuel companies and executives, for example, which don’t want regulations imposed on carbon pollution — without frustrating or alienating voters. Until recently, this quandary yielded tortured statements from politicians like “I’m not a scientist.”

A wiser approach for GOP candidates would be to walk out of the corner they have painted themselves into and embrace the handful of congressional GOP climate realists who recently issued a resolution recognizing human-caused climate change and calling for debate on how best to limit it.

The data are clear: Most Americans, including most Republicans and most Latinos, want to limit carbon pollution. There is only one winning position for the GOP candidates: embrace climate change, and make a forceful case for the policies that they feel will be most effective in addressing the problem. Anything else is likely to make it harder for Republicans to take back the White House in 2016.  http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-maibach-gop-climate-change-position-20151016-story.html

6. Eugene Robinson: Democrats debate issues people care most about

The main event was Clinton versus Sanders, and what should worry Republicans is that the two leading Democrats spent so much of the evening on the issues Americans say they care about. To cite one representative survey, a recent CBS poll asked registered voters what they most wanted to hear the candidates discuss. “Economy and jobs” came in first at 24 percent, while “immigration” was a distant second at 11 percent and “foreign policy” third at 10 percent.

But what do Republicans talk about in their debates? Who is going to be toughest on illegal immigration, who is more opposed to President Obama’s foreign policy, who is more determined to defund Planned Parenthood. On the economy, they fight to establish who is more opposed to raising the minimum wage.

The GOP establishment candidates have no economic message to offer beyond the party’s standard prescription of tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation for businesses. That may be why the front-runners are Trump and Carson, who have never held public office and whose economic prescriptions are more populist.

The Democratic candidates understand that these are the issues people care most about. Trump gets it, too, in his own bombastic way. A party that goes into the election without a compelling message on jobs and incomes — I’m talking to you, GOP establishment — is begging to lose. 10/16/15 http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/10/16/the_gop_was_right_to_fear_clinton_128437.html

7. Kevin Drum: The Benghazi Charade Is Finally Melting Away

Republicans have screwed the pooch on Benghazi. The press can only play along with their faux investigation as long as they maintain plausible deniability about its partisan goals. But now we have (a) Kevin McCarthy spilling the beans, (b) news reports that John Boehner wanted to use the committee to attack Hillary, (c) Richard Hanna agreeing that it was mostly a partisan witch hunt, and (d) no less than the New York Times reporting that the committee has all but given up on Benghazi in favor of holding hearings on Hillary’s email server. We knew all along there was a man behind the curtain, but now he’s actually been exposed. It’s getting harder and harder to play along with the charade. 10/15/15 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/10/benghazi-charade-finally-melting-away

8. Amy Davidson: Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, the 9/11 Bullies

In the past few days, one thing we’ve been reminded of, as Donald Trump and Jeb Bush have sniped at each other about whether George W. Bush “kept us safe,” is that the two men represent two different schoolyard types. Trump is the sort of bully who relies on a freewheeling instinct for the weaknesses of others—in this case, an opponent who is reduced to befuddled outrage whenever he is called on to speak publicly about his brother. Trump’s aim can be scattershot, but he can hurt. Jeb Bush is a more refined bully, who simply expects everyone to share his amazement that a person who doesn’t fit in would dare show up for a party or for a debate—the sort whose go-to insult is “weirdo.” “Does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? If they do, they’re totally marginalized in our society,” Bush told Jake Tapper, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

And that is where Jeb Bush most gets lost. He is setting Trump—and not just Trump—up for the obvious reply: maybe no terrorist group followed up with anything like the September 11th attacks, but George W. Bush launched an invasion of Iraq that crumbled into civil war, destabilized the region, led to the neglect of Afghanistan, and laid the foundation for ISIS. By keeping “us” safe, does Jeb Bush also mean the more than four thousand Americans who died in Iraq, the more than three thousand who died in Afghanistan, and the many thousands more who were wounded? It’s a good guess that “us” does not encompass the Iraqis who died; their estimated number ranges from a hundred thousand to more than half a million. Perhaps by “safe,” Bush only means “complacent.” 10/19/15 http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/donald-trump-and-jeb-bush-the-911-bullies

9. Brian Beutler: The Benghazi Witch-Hunt Against Hillary Is Backfiring Just Like Bill Clinton’s Impeachment

Back in 1998, House Republican leaders had to dial back an investigation into the Clintons’ campaign finance practices after then-oversight committee chairman Dan Burton tried to hoodwink the press with heavily edited transcripts meant to implicate Hillary. That botched operation forced Burton to fire his top aide David Bossie, who went on to become president of Citizens United, and prompted an angry backlash from Speaker Newt Gingrich on behalf of an embarrassed Republican conference.

The recent blows to the Benghazi committee’s self-styled credibility are at least as severe, beginning with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s admission that Republicans empaneled it to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, running through well-substantiated allegations that Republicans have been using committee resources to investigate Clinton at the expense of the actual attacks on the U.S. facility in Libya.

In the nearly two decades since the last Clinton investigations went nowhere, social media has made it easier for events like congressional hearings to become defined by key moments, rather than by overall substance, and if Republicans are able to embarrass Hillary on Thursday once or twice, the dividends will dwarf any reputational damage the committee has suffered. Ever since Watergate, Republicans have been consumed with the certainty that a similar scandal will one day befall Democrats, and have gone to great lengths to make it so. But when their inquiries run aground, or devolve into partisan witch hunting, they eventually relent, and allow the investigations to fizzle out. The Benghazi committee is flirting with the same fate. 10/19/15 http://www.newrepublic.com/article/123155/benghazi-witch-hunt-against-hillary-backfiring-bills-impeachment

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