He’s not going to get any, but Speaker Boehner deserves some credit for making the right choice in naming South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to chair the select committee on Benghazi.
Gowdy is not exactly a Boehner favorite. And until the most recent Benghazi emails were released, Boehner was getting annoyed at members like Gowdy who were pushing for a select committee all along.
But Gowdy is the logical choice for such a plum assignment. He knows the issues surrounding Benghazi back and forth, he has the timeline down cold, and he’s been an effective advocate when interviewed.
“Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come,” Boehner said in a statement. “His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel.”
House Republican leadership expects to vote this week on legislation that will create the panel. They will then announce the other members of the committee. There’s been significant behind-the-scenes jockeying to score a seat on Gowdy’s panel — Republican leadership has been fielding calls since Friday from interested members. Boehner (R-Ohio) is taking the lead in selecting lawmakers.
Gowdy said the committee will tackle the “unresolved questions about why the security was inadequate, our response during the siege itself, and our government’s interaction with the public after the attack. All of those lines of inquiry are legitimate and should be apolitical. Facts are neither red nor blue.”
Democrats have largely dismissed the probe as purely political theater.
Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, said Monday the committee is “unnecessary.” He said that he would urge his members to vote against the committee when legislation comes to the floor this week.
Hoyer said the Democratic leadership has not “made a determination” on whether they would appoint members to the committee. He said the panel was a “partisan messaging” activity.
Democrats are asking themselves; what do we have to gain by participating on this select committee? They should be asking what do we lose if we don’t. In the end, they will look very bad if they sit out the investigation. And, of course, the record that is made would be created without any input from the minority.
I don’t think they’re serious about boycotting a select committee. The hearings are bound to be widely covered and televised. How many members of Congress would pass up the opportunity to appear on national TV? Their own vanity will convince them to participate.
Gowdy’s lines of inquiry are clear, but new evidence will be hard to come by. Expect near zero cooperation from the White House, the State Department, national security agencies, and the Libyan government. The narrative, “Dude, this was like two years ago” will be hammered home by the media and the pretense that the most recent emails reveal nothing new will be continued.
No doubt Gowdy has his work cut out for him.