Regular readers know that we’ve been more than just a little critical of Republican Senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham when it came to how best to deal with the situations in Libya, Syria, et. al. but in this particular case, they’re right to keep up the pressure on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. When McCain, Graham, and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) were scheduled to meet with Rice, many expected the political assuaging of tensions behind closed doors; it’s become quite commonplace.
It appears the exact opposite happened as all three Republican Senators expressed even more concern over the demonstrably false talking points issued by Rice on five separate Sunday talk shows on September 16th. Check out these three short videos of each Senator shortly after they came out of their meeting with Rice.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC):
John McCain (R-AZ):
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH):
Some have suggested – like David Brooks, whose credibility should have been just as tarnished as the likes of those who predicted a Mitt Romney landslide, after he advised that Romney shouldn’t ‘nitpick’ on Benghazi in the third debate – that the reason why McCain has been so adamant in his opposition to Rice is because he would rather see John Kerry as Secretary of State but that doesn’t necessarily explain Graham’s motivations (other than loyalty to McCain) and it certainly doesn’t explain Ayotte’s alliance with the two senior Senators. Only in office since 2011, she comes across as a young Senator who’s just trying to do the right thing and doesn’t have the years of political backscratching and dealmaking under her belt that the other two do (like the kind that lead to suspicions that McCain may just be trying to help his buddy Kerry get the Sec of State gig).
Consider another, less cynical, possibility (I know but stick with me). Ever since the ‘Arab Spring’ reached Libya, both McCain and Graham supported the removal of Gadhafi, despite protestations from the likes of those who knew what would fill the vacuum (you know who you are). McCain embarrassed himself several times. During a trip to Benghazi in 2011, he called the rebels his ‘heroes’ and walked past a courthouse that just two weeks earlier was the site of a beheading amid chants of ‘Allahu Akhbar’.
Let us also not forget that McCain chastised Sean Hannity on September 13th, just two days after the Benghazi attack, saying that Libya had elected a secular government. While that may be true, it’s become quite obvious that Islamists are calling the shots.
Perhaps as the facts are coming out with regard to the truth about Benghazi and who’s running the Libyan show, McCain and Graham are realizing they’ve been duped (remember, they have access to far more information than we do). If, as is being increasingly reported, the facility in Benghazi wasn’t a ‘consulate’ at all but a hub for weapons dealing for Libyan and Syrian rebels, this scandal could get a whole lot uglier. If McCain and Graham begin to see that they’re Republican bonafides were used to send support to the likes of al-Qaeda with the help of bi-partisanship, it may be a breaking point for them.
Another sign that this may be the motivation for this newfound tenacity from McCain and Graham is if both pull back on their support for Syrian rebels.
If the latter scenario is true, it would be a welcome sight to see McCain and Graham see the light.
Ben Barrack is a talk show host and author of the book, Unsung Davids, which features a chapter on Walid Shoebat