October 29, 2015 | Last week Hillary Clinton testified before the Special Committee on Benghazi, appearing, as she said, "Because I said I would."
Hillary was all sweetness and charm, cloaking a core of steel and determination, ready for whatever the committee might toss her way. She kept her composure throughout the 11 hours of testimony, and never fumbled for an answer. From time to time she would retrieve a piece of paper from her heavy notebook and brandish it while answering, as if swatting away pesky flies.
Occasionally someone in her staff, seated in a row behind her, would hand her a note. One representative, Peter Roskam, of Illinois, condescended by offering to "pause while you’re reading your notes from your staff." Hillary would have none of it. "I can do more than one thing at a time, Congressman—thanks," she replied. Point Clinton.
I watched most of the testimony from the comfort of my couch, amazed that anyone could stay focused (if bored) for such a long time and keep her cool, totally. Seem like admirable qualities in a president, in my opinion.
While the panel bickered among themselves, Hillary sat serenely, sometimes look bored, sometimes incredulous, sometimes amused. She was in control, and she knew it.
One highlight came late in the afternoon when Martha Roby of Alabama had her turn at the microphone. She reminded me a lot of those folks you get when you call tech support, insisting on going through her script, item by item, unmindful of the answers Clinton was giving her. "All my staff were still in the office." "What about name ?" Then she turned to what Hillary did that night after she left the office.
"Who else was at your home? Were you alone?"
"I was alone, yes."
"The whole night?"
"Well, yes, the whole night."
[Guffaws from everybody in the room, including Clinton]
"Well, I don't know why that's funny."
The full exchange can be viewed here (video). Needless to say, only Ms Roby was oblivious to the obvious innuendo in her question.
All pretense of sincere investigation and fact-finding had been shattered weeks ago when Kevin McCarthy, Speaker-of-the-House-Wannabee, boasted on Fox News that the special committee had been formed to drive Hillary's poll numbers down. They say that in Washington a gaffe is when someone accidentally tells the truth, and that was a gaffe of ginormous proportions. A staff member claimed he had been fired for not being relentless enough about discrediting Hillary. And the committee was riven by internal strife, Democrats questioning whether they wanted to have any part in such a show trial. In the end they decided to stay so they could correct the record. It should be noted that correcting the record involves a lot of vitriole and barely controlled tempers.
By the end of the day, the Repugnicans had succeeded only in making themselves look more petty, more incompetent, more whacko-bird than before. And Hillary, she waltzed out of the hearing room with a smile on her face. At the same time, chairman Trey Gowdy looked like he had been the one under assault.
Gowdy is said to be a former prosecutor. Let's all hope he was a better prosecutor than committee chair.
Last updated on May 11, 2016