Having been thwarted in their four-year mission to make Barack Obama a one-term president, Republicans have now embarked on a new mission: Make Hillary Rodham Clinton a no-term president. If you checked in on Clinton's appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, you may have gotten a whiff of Campaign 2016 even though not a soul has yet announced his or her candidacy to succeed Obama.
Given the chance of the Capitol Hill TV version of Project Runway to get to the root of the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, the GOP side pounced on her testimony with a story line that Hillary is an incompetent "Madam Secretary" and a phony at that.
Some in the anti-Hillary camp had accused her earlier of faking a concussion to avoid appearing before the virile committee that a mere woman could not match. And when she teared up at the beginning of her testimony, that proved she was following a script to win public sympathy. At least, that's what Rush Limbaugh raged to his own audience that nods like wilting sunflowers at his every word. She did, however, have her strong moments against the critics on the panel who, um, were doing the will of the people.
A few of the Republican darts stood out:
Sen. Rand Paul, the airball from Kentucky, told Clinton that if he had been president, he would have fired her. (The good news: No danger of this guy ever being president.)
Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, in a blustery melt, repeatedly declared that the American people are frustrated by the lack of information about Benghazi. (Translation of this mouthful: Some of the American people from his southern district. Wasn't he the guy who once described undocumented immigrants as "vagrants and animals?" )
Tea Party Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin accused her of making excuses for not taking a hands-on role in the Sept. 11 attack. She replied it wasn't an excuse but a fact that she didn't want to interfere with the ongoing FBI's investigative role. When Johnson persisted , she angrily replied, her voice rising:
"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?"
With a 67 pct. approval rating, this special woman proved it would take more than the crocodiles from the other side to tarnish her profile with the American voters. Of course, we're still four years away from the next election. So what's the point of the new GOP search and destroy initiative? That's the McParty's problem. It doesn't have any points these days.