By Brent Budowsky - 05/08/13 10:35 PM EDT
House Republicans are misusing taxpayer money and abusing House committee rules to promote a partisan vendetta against President Obama and the woman who has earned the stature of being the most admired political leader in America, and a stateswoman who is widely admired around the world: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Last week I wrote about the GOP’s Obama problem. Today I write about the GOP’s Hillary problem and begin with this: The House leadership and the media should investigate and report whether Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and the majority of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have violated the rules of the House by systematically withholding vital information about Benghazi witnesses and testimony from committee Democrats while selectively leaking information to the press.
Make no mistake, these hearings are not an impartial attempt to gather the facts. They are a partisan witch hunt against Clinton that embodies everything Americans dislike about politics in Washington and Republicans today.
Former White House Counsel John Dean once told Richard Nixon that there was a cancer on his presidency. Republicans have lost so many recent elections because there is a cancer on their party.
The cancer is that, without ideas and policies that appeal to voters, Republicans are reduced to a politics of obstruction, nihilism and negativity that makes them appear as if they hope America fails, and a politics of personal destruction that is now, through the Benghazi hearings, directed at Clinton.
Republicans today can learn from Nixon’s farewell address, when he warned that those obsessed with destroying their political opponents will only destroy themselves.
Before the bodies were fully laid to rest after the tragedy at Benghazi, the Republican nominee for president, backed by the Republican National Committee chairman, disgracefully said that President Obama was sympathetic to those who killed Americans at Benghazi.
From September 2012 until May 2013, Republicans have shamefully tried, and failed, to exploit the deaths of Americans at Benghazi for partisan gain. Of course, mistakes were made at Benghazi. Clinton long ago accepted her fair share of responsibility, which is one more reason she is held, and will continued to be held, in such high esteem by so many Americans.
When will Chairman Issa and Republicans accept responsibility for their aggressive and unwise attempts to cut embassy security spending before Benghazi?
It is a disgrace for House Republicans to ask taxpayers to subsidize five House committees — paying huge staffs and expenses, working in league with partisan Republican lawyers, withholding information from committee Democrats and leaking partial information to the press — pursuing a partisan vendetta against the former secretary of State, who is the one person who has taken public responsibility and implemented changes to prevent future tragedies.
Clinton has achieved widespread admiration at home and abroad by earning it through hard work, great skill, high standards, vast achievement and good faith as first lady, a United States senator and secretary of State. She has triumphed over a generation of GOP slanders and cheap shots with even more achievement and good humor.
This is the GOP’s Hillary problem. Republicans ignore Nixon’s farewell warning at their peril. Republicans who offer nothing except attempts to destroy opponents they treat as enemies will only destroy their party, as the GOP has destroyed itself in recent elections.
Republicans tried this against President Clinton, who was elected to serve two terms. They tried it against President Obama, who was elected to serve two terms. The Benghazi attack against Clinton will fail by making Republicans look like party hacks demeaning a world-class stateswoman.
The GOP’s Hillary problem is that over a lifetime of great achievement, she has earned the admiration and trust of the people, while Republicans who smear her have not.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.