Shawn Mitchell

Let’s roll the tape:

"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 who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and to do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator."

It was a dazzling play, instantly destined to enter the lore of political hardball and be studied and dissected for decades.

Such a perfect eruption of concentrated, seductively appealing dishonesty had to have been crafted by the father of high-wire lies, the master distracter himself, the Big Bill. The formidable but workmanlike Hillary lacks the creative gift and mendacious flair to actualize the McCarthy-Hellman standard: “Every word is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

Let’s admire her bravura work. Roll the super slo-mo, please:

"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans." Wait, read her lips. I think she said:  “Have you questioners no decency or understanding of the gravity here? Four Americans died! This is much too serious and difficult for you to be asking me serious and difficult questions about it!”

Poor Senator Johnson. Look at his head snap back with the hit!

Roll tape:

"Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans?”

“Or?” Just two options? Either it was an angry movie review that spontaneously spun out of control, or it was some guys out fitness striding who combusted really spontaneously?

That’s a new one. No one until our distraught, reputation-saving, would-be future president ever suggested anything remotely like it. A bloody attack on an American mission that materialized from nothing. The Big Bang writ small.

It’s not accidental the Secretary’s false A or B excluded the truthful C: It was a planned attack on America by Al Qaeda affiliates on the anniversary of 9/11.

The Administration cretins are still lying through their whitened teeth and the sleeping dogs of the press are still refusing to bark. There are times when you might be forgiven for understanding why Bill Ayers decided only some really loud noises might wake the people up.

Back to the tape:

“What difference at this point does it make?” 

That’s a powerful head fake: “Nothing can bring back the dead, you petty politician. Why are you asking these questions? Why can’t you just support the transformative vision of our historic president and stop trying to dig up inconvenient facts that our loyal protectors of the press have been so good to help us keep buried?”

Tape:

“It is our job to figure out what happened and to do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator."

Wow! Did you SEE Hillary’s neck-snapping spin and dive into the end zone?! Right over the flattened senator, across the goal line, and into the safe embrace of the media refs who raised triumphant arms, screeched “7!!” out their whistles, and immediately fed the highlight into the news cycle’s repeating loop.

Let’s break it down. “Why are you asking me about the nature and genesis of the attack? Or the motives, possible planning, and tactics of the attackers?  Don’t you know our solemn duty—the only thing we can do--is figure out the genesis and nature of the attack, the motives, possible planning, and tactics of the attackers?

That’s how we can be prepared to make sure nothing like this will ever happen again. So please! Stop asking irrelevant questions about the genesis and nature of the attack, the motives, possible planning, and tactics of the attackers. This is too important for politics!”

It was a show for the ages. For our age, anyway.

For the record, Madame Secretary, it makes all the difference. It matters for public accountability: Understanding how the attack developed sheds light on how reasonable or not the decisions were that preceded it. It helps the public gauge the magnitude of the failure and reasonable consequences for a diplomat or politician who claims “full responsibility.” Is that just a convenient phrase to survive the news cycle, or does it mean something?

It matters for the administration’s credibility: People have a right to know if their government dealt straight or if it maneuvered feverishly to conceal and mislead for advantage in the campaign’s closing weeks. Every lie advanced the president’s narrative and deflected criticism. Coincidence?

It matters for understanding the larger global context and US interest: A planned Al Qaeda terror attack on America runs counter to the president’s story of positive trends in the Middle East. Is America’s stock rising or falling? Is Al Qaeda dwindling or resurgent? Was the US mission as rumored an illegal conduit of arms to Islamist rebels in Syria?

When John F. Kennedy took a bath in the Bay of Pigs, he couldn’t blame it on a Cuban fiesta that got out of hand. He never dreamed of trying. He had to own his policies and their consequences. A more professional press of the day helped ensure it.

We’ve fallen far if we’re transfixed by temper and tears. What was the issue again, anyway?


Shawn Mitchell

Shawn Mitchell was elected to Senate District 23 in the Colorado General Assembly in November of 2004. Shawn is an attorney at private practice in Denver and Adams County.