My Turn: Benghazi and Alice B. Toklas

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Gertrude Stein was a native of Oakland who moved to Paris and scandalized everyone by living openly with Alice B. Toklas. Alice may or may not have invented brownies (laced with pot). Back to this in a minute.

This morning I went to the Corona del Mar Post Office to pick up some Christmas stamps. On the sidewalk outside was an impassioned young ideologue urging me to sign a petition to impeach President Obama because of the Benghazi scandal. The young man is a follower of Lyndon LaRouche, a flake who has run for president eight or nine times. LaRouche is a right wing conspiracy nut who nobody takes seriously, so it’s easy to disregard his ravings about Benghazi.

It is harder to understand why senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and the talking heads at Fox News keep trying to whip this dead horse. Truth is, Libya isn’t very important to us despite the tragic attack in Benghazi. We only bombed the place because Libya was important to our European allies. They need a secure source of oil to offset their reliance on Russian oil. Since they helped us in Iraq and Afghanistan, we had to help them with Libya.

The GOP was looking for an international security gaff during last fall’s election to try and discredit Obama’s killing of Osama Bin Laden. Most voters couldn’t have pinpointed Benghazi on a map, but when terrorists attacked our consulate there in September, it was the only scandal the Republicans could come up with. It must have been very frustrating to them when the voters refused to bite. The only reason I can think why they are still trying to make a scandal out of this now that the election is over is that they have been sampling some of Alice’s brownies.
Not everything rises to the level of a scandal. Some things are just your ordinary, everyday screw-ups. Benghazi fits this definition. And bringing UN Ambassador Susan Rice into this mess made no sense whatsoever. She had nothing to do with Benghazi. McCain attacked Rice anyway, and now he has succeeded in trashing the reputation of an incredibly well qualified black woman. One can only stare in disbelief at Republican efforts to build a bigger tent.

Back to Gertrude. Someone once asked her about her childhood home in Oakland and she famously said, “There is no there there.” The same can be said about the Benghazi scandal. There is no there there.

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