Sunday, October 14, 2012

Upon Further Review...Stephanie Cutter Was Right

Obama's unctuous deputy campaign manager has been the target of some harsh criticism after making these remarks on CNN last week:

Cutter said Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s campaign is the only reason anyone cares about the administration’s changing narrative about the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi embassy.

“In terms of the politicization of this — you know, we are here at a debate, and I hope we get to talk about the debate — but the entire reason this has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan,” Cutter said. “It’s a big part of their stump speech. And it’s reckless and irresponsible, what they’re doing.”

Her commentary has been taken at face value; it was the typical liberal  response to unassailable criticism -  "shut up, they explained" - but taken to a new, offensive level when applied to a 9/11 attack on an American embassy that appears to have been quite preventable.

But I think we are misunderstanding her frustration here.  Cutter no doubt assumed that the media would cover for the president and protect him from any blow-back; and given the MSM's behavior after the Benghazi assault - attacking Mitt Romney as if he were the president, then demanding he shut up - it seemed (to her) as if this case was closed.  The media would close ranks around Barack, Mitt would apologize, return to the fetal position on the floor, and the re-election of Obama could go on unobstructed.

Except, of course, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would not shut up.  And when the media finally did some digging - primarily in an attempt to discredit the Republican ticket - they discovered a series of blatant  lies, distortions and cover-ups by an Administration desperate to hide their incompetence from the American people on the eve on an election.  And while some in the media still turned away,  many of them, realizing their livelihoods and reputations were at stake, began to dutifully report on the gross mischaracterizations of the event put out by the Administration, by the State Department, and by Intelligence.

And thus a scandal was born.  Not the first by far of the Obama Administration, but the first to be extensively covered by the media.  And at such an inopportune time.

So Cutter, in fact, is correct.  If Romney and Ryan had just shut up about the Benghazi Massacre, as they were instructed, none of this would be happening right now.  The president would still be receiving adoring press (as opposed to his recent downgrade to semi-adoring), his marks on foreign policy would still be high, and Joe Biden could still chant "Osama dead, GM alive!", while the dead of Libya were quickly buried and forgotten...

Stephanie is flummoxed for sure -  how could it all go so awry?  Didn't everyone know their lines, their roles, their places?

Her statement was born of frustration.  But - based on her understanding of how politics have worked in the recent past, it was  fundamentally true.  This shouldn't be happening.

The only problem is, Mitt and Paul have finally changed the rules...

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