‘Hillary Clinton Got Away With Murder’

Meanwhile, Cheney and Rumsfeld continue to live as free men who somehow sleep at night
Official U.S. Senate photo

Hey, we haven’t heard from South Carolina in a while. Anybody done or said anything stupid lately?

Does the Earth orbit the Sun? (Memo to South Carolina: It does.)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has upped his already harsh rhetoric against outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, claiming that she “got away with murder” in the Benghazi, Libya, attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

“I haven’t forgotten about Benghazi. Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view,” Graham said on Fox News Monday evening, speaking to Greta Van Susteren. “She said they had a clear-eyed view of the threats. How could you have a clear-eyed view of the threats in Benghazi when you didn’t know about the ambassador’s cable coming back from Libya?”

He also threatened to block the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as President Barack Obama’s next secretary of defense until outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies about the attack.

For goodness’ sake, Senator, this is clearly not a case of Mrs. Clinton getting away with murder. Now, if she’d been handed a memo titled, say, “Islamic extremists determined to strike U.S. consulate in Libya,” and if she’d skimmed it, then handed the memo back to the State Department briefer with a blithe, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now,” then that would be a pretty serious problem.

Seriously, what is with this state? I read somewhere once — and wish like hell I could remember who wrote it — that about half of American history has come in reaction to South Carolina acting out. How does one smallish, otherwise inconsequential commonwealth produce this many chuckleheads, and how do they keep getting into positions of, Lord help us, actual power? Can’t we put South Carolina on probation or something?

Salon’s Joan Walsh brings up another pernicious aspect of this kind of talk. It’s a dog whistle that comes equipped with plausible deniability:

Now, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s using “got away with murder” figuratively, rather than saying Clinton murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens or the three other Americans who died in Benghazi last fall.

You can never be sure, though, since wingnuts have accused Clinton and her husband of murder before, from vicious theories disputing the suicide of Vince Foster to Rev. Jerry Falwell’s “Clinton Chronicles,” which accused the president of responsibility for “countless” murders. Even if Graham is just talking overexcitedly about last week’s hearings, he can count on the lunatic fringe of his target Tea Party base hearing the charge that the outgoing secretary of state “got away with murder” any way they like. And applauding.

Fine, then. Figuratively speaking, when can we expect the entire Bush Administration to be dragged in figurative chains to The Hague and tried for figurative crimes against humanity?

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest