Conservatives are hoping that Benghazi will eventually develop into a contemporary version of Watergate, a far-reaching, multi-layered cover-up that will ultimately bring down the Obama presidency and Hillary Clinton with it. While I share the sentiments of my fellow conservatives, my response to this wishful thinking is simple: good luck with that. The Watergate burglaries occurred in May and June of 1972. Benghazi occurred in September 2012. In the years between 1972 and 2012, America experienced enormous societal change; some good and some not so good. The lack of public outrage over the Benghazi tragedy is symptomatic of the not-so-good societal changes in America since the early 1970s as well as the added fact—from the mainstream media’s perspective—that Nixon was a Republican and Obama is a Democrat.
On any measure of tragedy or presidential culpability, Benghazi easily surpasses Watergate. In the final analysis, Watergate was nothing more than a couple of third-rate burglaries that went off the tracks. Nixon’s guilt in Watergate had more to do with the subsequent cover-up and his coercive use of government agencies in that cover-up than with the actual burglaries themselves. But Benghazi is different. With Benghazi, American diplomatic personnel were brutally attacked and murdered, American property was burned and looted, and sensitive government documents were seized. In this tragedy, President Obama and Hillary Clinton were and are culpable on several levels, both before and since the tragedy.
On one level they are culpable because they knew enough about the situation before hand to have prevented it and didn’t. On another level, they seem to think that claiming they knew nothing somehow exonerates them. We now know that their denials of prior knowledge are fabrications, part of a Nixon-like cover-up However for the sake of argument, assume for a moment that their denials are true. In my view, the culpability of Obama and Clinton actually increases in this case. Why? Because it was their job to know. When you are President of the United States or Secretary of State, you are responsible for protecting the lives of the diplomats and other personnel you send in harm’s way. It is your sworn duty to know where you are sending them and what they might face when they get there. Presidents and Secretaries of State do not have the option of claiming “I did not know.” Claiming “I did not know” is the same as admitting “I did not care enough to stay informed.”
With what we now know about the Benghazi debacle, one would expect that public outrage would exceed the level of vitriol aimed at President Nixon in the aftermath of Watergate. However, public outrage about Benghazi—to the extent there is any—is tame by comparison. In reality, we could house the few Congressman, Senators, FOX News broadcasters, and thinking American citizens who seem to care about Benghazi in a high school football stadium; a small one. The hard truth is that Benghazi is not generating the public interest, much less outrage, we saw in the aftermath of Watergate. Public apathy toward Benghazi is an even bigger tragedy than the event itself. This being the case, one might reasonably ask: Why don’t more Americans care about Benghazi?
The lack of media coverage about Benghazi can be attributed to the fact that Obama is a Democrat, and not just any Democrat but the favored son of the leftwing mainstream media. There is nothing new about this. The mainstream media began its turn to the left in the 1960s and has not stopped turning left yet. But the lack of public outrage is a different issue. Beginning in the 1960s liberals, progressives, Marxists, secular humanists, and other fellow travelers began making noticeable progress toward achieving their goal of a compliant, easily led, self-interested, sheep-like American populace. Now in 2013 we are seeing the fruit of the left’s incremental but persistent effort to transform Americans into ovine puppets who believe what they are told to believe, cannot think for themselves, lack the intellectual curiosity to pursue complex issues that do not affect them in an immediate and noticeable way, and care more about Dancing with the Stars than they do about what happens in foreign countries they—thanks to public education—could not locate on a map.
To the typical American, Benghazi is just some far-off place they occasionally hear discussed on the nightly news while waiting for their favorite brain-dead sitcom to air. If it was not their father or brother who was slaughtered by a mob of Islamist thugs, they don’t care. If their favorite news anchor does not tell them they should care, they don’t care. If getting interested in the Benghazi tragedy is going to require them to think about something bigger than their own day-to-day desires, they don’t care. If Hillary Clinton says “What difference does it make?” they agree, because they don’t care. After all, if the Secretary of State and President don’t care, why should they? This is what America has become in the 237 years since our Founders risked their lives, property, and sacred honor to build what Ronald Reagan called that “shining city on a hill.” If our Founders could see us now, they would weep.