We have been living through a committed attempt at progressive revival the past seven years, and key to the project is an emphasis on “transforming” the domestic foundations of the country rather than those related to foreign policy. Progressivism depends on control of a robust state apparatus with which they mean to shape society into something more just and equitable. Once the business of remaking America at home is done, the focus can turn to exporting their enlightened awesomeness abroad. The only obstacle standing in their way is the persistent and inconvenient truth that their ideas just don’t work.
When confronted with failure, progressives always obfuscate and deny their transgressions, because the only thing worse than a failed progressive experiment is acknowledgment of failure. Once you admit failure to the masses you’re trying to control, the jig is up, as who is going to sign onto enlightened rule by expert knowledge if the experts don’t know what they’re doing? The reality of every collectivist enterprise is a citizenry at the mercy of the powerful. In order to maintain the illusion that the people are served by these benevolent masters, the powerful must claim infallibility. More important, skepticism must be quashed, as the crucial element of any statist regime is information control. In the end it is all about coercion.
This is how a major foreign policy disaster is covered up. While critics and skeptics were met with either indifference or derisive mockery, the administration was busy putting the clamps down on all information so as to avoid any damning leaks that could contradict their fabrication.
Like the progressives, I prefer to talk about domestic issues over foreign policy because no matter how dangerous or precarious American interests look overseas, nothing compares to the urgency of our domestic situation. Particularly on economics and the physical makeup of our federal government, domestic issues dominate kitchen table discussions in liberal and conservative homes alike, and for good reason. And while I understand clearly the importance of the Benghazi incident, it’s hard for me to muster as much outrage or expend as much mental energy on it as many conservatives have, simply because I believe Obamacare, the NSA and the IRS stories carry larger weight. Still, Benghazi was undoubtedly a tragedy and, we now know, undoubtedly a terrorist attack. What infuriates the average American is not that the Obama administration failed to prevent a coordinated jihadist attack on an American outpost, but that they lied about it for a month in order to cover for their election campaign narrative that “bin Laden is dead and al Queda is on the run.”
Even more infuriating is the mocking and dismissive tone among leftwing pundits regarding conservative questions about what happened in Benghazi. It is now fashionable to make fun of “#Benghazi” and to paint anyone with a hint of curiosity about the subject as a desperate lunatic. The most galling thing about all this is the willingness of leftists to dutifully believe everything about the administration’s account of the tragedy. Contrast most of the national media’s reluctance to assign blame to any principal in the Benghazi matter with the way it covered the Chris Christie scandal. It is perfectly acceptable to just know that Christie knew about the retributive lane closures, whereas it is a crime against decency to suspect that someone in the administration concocted a false narrative about Benghazi because of presidential campaign considerations. And since Obama’s strategy of stonewalling has worked so well, unanswered questions and lingering suspicions are dismissed by progressives as remnants of an outdated story stuck in an infinite loop inside the conservative echo chamber.
It is bad enough that the administration lied about the circumstances that saw the U.S. lose its first foreign ambassador to violence in over thirty years. Knowing how progressives operate, especially those within the Obama White House, it is wholly unsurprising that the likes of Valerie Jarrett and Ben Rhodes would put politics and campaign messaging over the truth. By extension, the same goes for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (and Chris Christie). What is so painfully dispiriting is the way their cheerleaders and cult followers played such a complimentary role in the administration’s efforts at brushing the whole thing under the rug. It was not enough to distort the facts or glom onto a fanciful story about a youtube video being the culprit. It was equally important to disqualify conservatives who objected to the official account so that their objections could be dismissed at the outset. Make them sound so crazy and out-of-touch for clinging onto a “conspiracy theory” about an “old” story and the public will assume there is nothing to see here and move on. And it has totally worked.