- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
- Rep. Steve Stockman: Give my campaign $10, and you’ll get an Obama barf bag
- Putin: Russia to buy $15 billion in Ukraine bonds
- Expert: Obamacare ‘death spiral’ fears exaggerated
- Alabama firefighters dig for survivors of apartment blast
- Big Sur wildfire destroys home of firefighting chief
- ‘ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas’ set for mock trial to argue authorship
- Angela Merkel’s third term as Germany’s chancellor to be marked by move to left
- Mega Millions entices with record-setting jackpot: Half a billion so far
- Dennis Rodman heads to North Korea — despite execution, political purge
PRUDEN: Betrayal in Benghazi, Libya, as clear as a sore toe
Mitt Romney should think of the betrayal in Benghazi as gout in Barack Obama’s left big toe, and step on it hard at every opportunity. The president will feel it, and the memory of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens deserves no less.
Making foreign policy an issue is usually hard to do, since most voters think a foreign affair is a naughty weekend in Paris. But this foreign affair is different.
The betrayal in Benghazi — and that is exactly what it was — was tragic for Mr. Stevens and his family, and it went beyond tragedy for the rest of us. The ambassador, watching the security arrangements dissolving over a period of weeks, had begged Washington for additional help. The White House answered with silence, not even sparing a little gas money for the 1936-vintage DC-3, a lumbering old airplane with a legacy of service in a half-dozen wars, assigned to American diplomats in Libya. The plane was insurance for a quick getaway. There was, however, $108,000 available to install a charging station for a fleet of Chevrolet Volts at the embassy in Vienna. It was a question of green priorities.
Mr. Obama, who fell in love with the sound of his voice many years ago, no doubt figured that if there was a genuine need for more security, he would make a speech. Surely the terrorists, like the birds, would fall to the ground at the sound of that voice. So he and his surrogates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, started spinning tall tales about what the attack on the U.S. Consulate was all about. Who could doubt a messiah, particularly one so close to the land of the pharaohs?
They insisted, against the evidence that a blind man could see, that the trouble was not a terrorist attack, or a “man-caused disaster” or even “workplace violence,” as we are now told by the White House to call Islamic terrorism. Everybody else in the Middle East called it terrorism, probably meant to mark the observance of 9/11, which is the highest high holy day of radical Islam, observed annually with a beheading or a dismemberment of an infidel. So why couldn’t Mr. Obama call it what it was? Even the president of Libya, who ought to know, called it by its right name.
Barack Obama, if he is as smart as he wants us to think he is, knew better. So did Mrs. Clinton and even Jay Carney, the president’s mouthpiece. Mitt Romney called it for what it was, the betrayal of Americans in Benghazi, and the glitteries and notabilities of the mainstream press, many of whom probably knew better too, rallied for the ritual crucifixion of the Republican nominee.
Nevertheless, Mr. Obama, figuring he had no alternative, “doubled down on denial.” He couldn’t concede that he hadn’t, after all, eliminated al Qaeda once and for all. For a fortnight, he and his surrogates insisted that the original cover story was true.
Joe Biden doubled down on denial, too, in his debate with Paul Ryan. Nobody expects a lot from ol’ Joe. The Obama campaign is comfortable sending him out to say whatever crosses his mind, which is usually a hoot. He’s always good for comic relief.
Mr. Romney must resist the temptation to be nice to the point of reticence in his second debate with the president. He has to double down himself, telling it like it was about betrayal in Benghazi. He can be polite and respectful. No noisy talk-over, and none of ol’ Joe’s idiot smiles. He should remember to step often on that big toe, Tuesday night and afterward, pretending that Mr. Obama is suffering gout. He can expect the worst from moderator Candy Crowley, puffed up, as you might say, with self-importance and eager to prove that the Romney-Ryan ticket is a Republican death wish, as she said it was just after Mr. Ryan was chosen.
The president revealed himself in the aftermath of Benghazi to be either terminally naive, which would require an absence of judgment, or terminally incompetent. Neither quality is exactly what anyone wants in the White House. Or it could be something worse.
Mr. Obama knows he looks foolish rattling across the country in pursuit of Big Bird, Elmo and the assorted Muppets of a child’s imagination. But it beats having to explain why he rattled on about an Internet video that almost nobody has seen while American interests are on fire all about him. The president and the Democrats are living in a fantasyland, and it’s up to Mitt Romney to jerk them back to the reality where the rest of us live.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- PRUDEN: The scam that will not die
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson tributes face Army War College removal
- Wasted: Tom Coburn's 'Wastebook targets 70 days in bed, Facebook
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Zadzooks: The Joker sixth scale figure review (Sideshow Collectibles)
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Colorado revolt: 55 of 62 sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- U.S. downplays Saudi prince's criticism of Obama's Middle East policies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Uncensored exploration of issues concerning current events, civil liberties, American political advocacy, and the political and social issues facing military veterans.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow