It sure was fun watching Hillary take on the blithering idiots of the GOP yesterday. She made them look silly and childish. As Charles Pierce wrote yesterday,
the appearance of Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning proved on very salient point: at its upper echelons which, at the moment, praise be, consist of only its congressional delegations, the Republican party has become something extraordinarily unserious. If its domestic policies, laid out clearly in the last election, were fairly well rejected, its notions in the area of foreign policy reside in a spot somewhere between threadbare and obsolete. They are lingering in a fairly brutal hangover between having gone all in on the Bush administrations’s grandiose schemes for imperial reconstruction and having yielded the real power in the party to people with all the gravitas of your drunk uncle who watches Fox all day and sends chain e-mails to the family.
There were so many stupid Republicans competing to be the most obnoxious questioners in the hearings, but I’d have to say that Wisconsin Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson made the biggest ass of himself. Hillary managed to keep her cool through more than five hours of questioning, but she lost her patience briefly with Johnson after he repeatedly argued that the State Department could have easily found out what actually happened in Benghazi by calling people who had been in the consulate and simply asking them (!). Dakinikat posted the video yesterday, but here’s Hillary’s so-called “eruption.”
“Senator, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on,” Clinton said, adding that the State Department was waiting for the FBI to finish conducting interviews.
“I realize that’s a good excuse,” Johnson responded.
“Well, no, it’s the fact,” Clinton said. “Even today, there are questions being raised. We have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on, and why they were doing what they were doing, is still, is still unknown.”
Clinton forcefully insisted neither UN Ambassador Susan Rice nor the Obama Administration misled the public. “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” she said. “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? It our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information.”
I actually thought that was pretty mild, considering the idiocy of Johnson’s remarks. Joan Walsh had a great summary of Hillary’s day: Hillary faces down the angry men. On the Johnson interchange she writes:
On a morning in which senators vied for the worst moment, Tea Party darling Ron Johnson of Wisconsin stood out. “A very simple phone call to these individuals I think would have ascertained, immediately, that there was no protest prior to this…it was an assault,” he told Clinton condescendingly. The fact that Johnson could envision “a very simple phone call” in the wake of the Benghazi carnage – has he even seen photos of the devastated compound? – shows that he’s a very simple man when it comes to foreign policy. Johnson’s entire point was to ask, again, about Rice “purposely misleading” the Sunday shows five days after the attack.
After his humiliating beatdown by Clinton, Johnson made a bigger ass of himself by claiming to McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed that Hillary Clinton Planned To Get Emotional To Evade Questions
“I’m not sure she had rehearsed for that type of question,” Johnson told BuzzFeed Wednesday afternoon, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. It was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me.”
He said it was clear, at other points during the hearing, that Clinton was working off a set of talking points, but that his questions “got under her skin” because “they’re just so common sense.”
“I just don’t think she had an answer to that,” he said. “Maybe it embarrassed her. Maybe she hadn’t thought of it that way.”
He went on to criticize Clinton for ostensibly taking “full responsibility” for the State Department’s handling of the attacks, but then continuing to avoid questions with “theatrics.”
“She allowed politics to trump getting to the facts,” he said.
Yeah, like Hillary needed to get “emotional” to avoid answering questions about Susan Rice! And get this, Johnson told Politico that Hillary probably never even thought to make those phone calls to people who had escaped the Beghazi carnage.
“Whether she actually never thought of calling them or she was kind of feeling a little guilty that she didn’t, I think the secretary of state had the responsibility to,” the Wisconsin senator said.
This guy doesn’t even realize what a fool he made of himself! BTW, Johnson is the same moron who offered to “mansplain” the federal budget to Tammy Baldwin after she was elected to the Senate in 2012. Johnson has been in Congress for all of two years, while Baldwin served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years and before that was a Wisconsin state representative. Oh, and she graduated from Smith College with a double major in math and government. Johnson worked in his father-in-law’s business until his first run for office in 2010.
In other greatest hits, Johnson believes he knows more about climate change than scientists who have spent years studying it. He said women who can’t afford birth control should just go on-line and google “what if I can’t afford birth control?” He claimed that the great recession ended before Obama took office in 2009.
In April 2012, Johnson became an object of ridicule after Roll Call published an article about his “frustration with his legislative staff.”
Freshman GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) is looking to purge nearly his entire Washington, D.C.-based legislative team, according to multiple Republican sources familiar with the situation.
Johnson’s frustration with his legislative staff has been one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington for months, those close to Republican Conference politics said.
But the situation in Johnson’s office has escalated in recent weeks. The top brass of the Senate Republican Steering Committee — the Conference’s conservative hub — have connected at least one Johnson legislative aide with another GOP Senate office, and sources indicated they may be helping others find jobs before they are asked to permanently clear their desks.
Johnson denied the charges, but
While top Republican sources expressed exasperation at the internal turmoil in Johnson’s office, they also noted that the Wisconsin freshman has not been diligent in building relationships with other Senators within the Conference and has alienated himself by not reaching out more frequently to colleagues.
“He’s an interesting case study of someone who has talked more than he has listened, lectured more than he has developed relationships with his colleagues, and now he’s having a tough time because of that behavior in advancing his policy goals,” one senior GOP aide said. “It’s kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store.”
“The Senate is still about relationships, and he doesn’t seem to get that,” the aide continued.
How stupid is Ron Johnson? He’s so stupid that some of his constituents started a website called “Our Dumb Senator” to keep track of his ongoing stupidity.
Now look what I’ve done. I’ve wasted most of this post the stupid Senator from Wisconsin–can you believe this guy actually beat Russ Feingold?!
In other news, it’s now confirmed that Beyonce didn’t really sing the National Anthem at the Inauguration.
An inaugural official confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that Beyonce lip-synced the National Anthem during Monday’s Inauguration Day ceremony.
“She did not sing live,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told CNN, adding that the singer made the decision herself to go with a pre-recording the night before Monday’s ceremony.
“Because she didn’t have time to rehearse with the Marine Band, she decided to use her recording with the Marine Band,” the official added. “It was all Beyonce.”
Ho hum, just like American Bandstand back in the day. I guess if Obama didn’t care no one else should. I’m not a Beyonce fan, frankly, and I didn’t really care for her rendition of the song. I’ve heard much better. So shoot me.
I have some more interesting reads for you that I’m just going to throw out link dump style. First, some articles about Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney from Boston who drove cyber activist Aaron Swartz to suicide. The consensus seems to be that Ortiz’s career is over.
Who What Why: Carmen Ortiz’s Sordid Rap Sheet
Scott Horton at Harpers: Carmen Ortiz Strikes Out
Blue Mass Group: Not how the news was supposed to go for Carmen Ortiz
A few more links:
Amy Davidson at The New Yorker: ISOLATED VICTIMS, FROM WILLIAMSBURG TO NOTRE DAME
Andrew Marantz at The New Yorker on the Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl” on Super Bowl Sunday
Jonathan Chait: Boehner: Let’s Destroy Math Instead of the Economy