By now it’s obvious to everyone who has been paying attention that the Obama administration orchestrated a cover-up after the attacks on the US in Cairo and Benghazi. Unfortunately, too few have been paying attention. It’s a frustrating truth, that any article or post about the NFL referee lockout tends to get more attention than any post or article about Benghazi, despite the fact that the lockout only cost one football team a game, while the Benghazi attack cost four Americans their lives and continues to cost America its standing in the world. President Obama does himself a world of good with short attention span voters by weighing in on the NFL mess, and so far has done himself no harm by disingenuously blaming the terrorist attack on an amateur film. It’s shocking and says nothing good about the state of the nation, but it’s where we are.
The media is slowly turning up the pressure, reporting holes in the administration’s narrative, but not fast enough. The story is not breaking through. I guarantee that at this moment, more Americans know about the end of the NFL lockout than know that their government has been spreading disinformation about terror attacks on US soil.
I only see three ways that this story breaks out fast enough to impact the election, as it should. Those who would argue that politics stop at the water’s edge have no standing here: The administration injected politics the moment the decision was made to create fables about the attacks. Benghazi is both a national security story and a political story, as it should be.
The first way that this story could break out is of the victims’ families speak out. They haven’t yet and the media aren’t likely to report that with any great intensity, though. The second way it could break out is if Congress starts demanding answers. That is happening but so far, though, only Republicans have shown much interest. Democrats have mostly gone to ground on it, keeping the issue a partisan one for the most part. Democrats don’t want to be seen challenging their president on what was supposed to be a strength — foreign policy.
Mitt Romney has an opportunity here, though. He has campaign appearances over the next few days to hammer two themes: Obama is failing on the economy and Obama is being dishonest about his foreign policy failure. He also has the debate next week to start framing the issue at a time when Americans’ attention really gets focused on the election.
The media will pounce and accuse Romney of playing partisan politics with foreign policy or speaking out of turn, as they did when he first spoke up about the attacks the night they happened. That should not deter Romney from going on the attack, though. The next few days and the debate itself are too large an opportunity and there is no longer any time to lose. Romney has two solid and easily detailed narratives to tell, and both get at this president’s priorities and his personal honesty. If done effectively, attacking the president’s priorities and his honesty chip away at the voting public’s opinion of Obama’s character.
Romney and Paul Ryan need to ask Obama and Biden, directly and pointedly, in campaign appearances about both the economy and the Benghazi cover-up. They need to call Benghazi a cover-up. They need to highlight the story that Ambassador Susan Rice told, that the attack was a “spontaneous” reaction to a movie. They need to call on President Obama to directly explain his team’s inconsistency to the American people. They need to become advocates for the American people in getting answers from our president on both the terrorist attacks on our country and the stalled economy.
If Obama responds, that’s a story that the media has to report. If he doesn’t, Romney and Ryan should keep pushing. Keep Obama on the defensive and keep challenging him directly.