The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 22, 2013

Republicans natter about 'I' word

Mitt Romney first politicized the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, only hours after the event, by claiming the president sympathized with terrorists.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., called Benghazi the “most egregious cover-up in American history” and predicted that Obama will soon be facing impeachment calls. Similar views were expressed by Michele Bachmann and by Mike Huckabee, who asserted that “this president will not fill out his full term.”

A PPP poll found that 41 percent of Republicans, echoing the Fox News/talk radio frenzy, think Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in history.

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, agreed, saying that Benghazi is 10 times bigger than the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals put together.

That’s nonsense. Watergate was about Nixon running a burglary ring out of the White House, for which he was forced to resign. Sixty nine people were charged with crimes and forty-eight went to prison, including two of Nixon’s attorneys general (Mitchell and Kleindienst), his chief of staff (Haldeman), along with Erlichman, Colson, Liddy, Magruder, and others.

Iran-Contra was about Reagan illegally trading weapons to Iran for American hostages and lying about it. He then illegally diverted the proceeds to the murderous Contras in Nicaragua and lied about that too. Presidential historian Richard Reeves has calculated that 138 Reagan administration officials were indicted for various offenses, making his administration the most corrupt in U.S. history. Among those convicted were his Secretary of Defense (Caspar Weinberger), two National Security Advisors (MacFarlane and Poindexter), his chief of staff (Michael Deaver), Oliver North, and others, most of whom were pardoned by George H.W. Bush.

Most of the convictions were for lying, perjury and obstructing justice in an attempt to cover up criminal activity by the president.

Benghazi, in contrast, is a manufactured scandal over press talking points drafted by committee, which Republicans later misrepresented to the press.

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