According to MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Republicans are using Benghazi like a "voodoo doll" against Hillary Clinton by establishing a select committee of Congress to investigate the attacks. Matthews opened up Monday's Hardball with his screed against Republicans.
"The enemies of Hillary Clinton, by that I mean the partisan enemies, have got their voodoo doll. It's called Benghazi. Every time they put the pin in, they hope it hurts Hillary. Every time they say the word, they hope it scares her," Matthews sneered. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
His rant became more bizarre as he said Benghazi "has become an obsession bordering on cultism among Republicans." He added, "You can almost smell the incense. 'Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.' They keep chanting the word until it gets Hillary to fall."
Matthews pooh-poohed any notion of a scandal or an Obama administration cover-up. "At worst, what the Obama people are guilty of, at worst, and this is taking the total Republican argument, they spun it a bit more in one direction than the other."
Below is a transcript of the segment:
7:00 p.m. EDT
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me start off the week with this. The enemies of Hillary Clinton, by that I mean the partisan enemies, have got their voodoo doll. It's called Benghazi. Every time they put the pin in, they hope it hurts Hillary. Every time they say the word, they hope it scares her. And now they have got a select committee, an official committee of the Congress devoted entirely to putting in the pins. It will endure for months and quite plausibly years as they stick it into Benghazi. And every time they want to hurt the person they fear will loom as unbeatable in 2016. Just listening to the chanting and incantations as they dwell on the incident they hope will puncture the political brand of the former secretary of state. They want her and every voter in the country when they hear the word Benghazi to think Hillary Clinton. It's become an obsession bordering on cultism among Republicans, with even John Boehner falling under its spell.
You can almost smell the incense. "Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi." They keep chanting the word until it gets Hillary to fall. Could the cause of this bizarre rite be a secret Republican fear that while Hillary Clinton may be strongly positioned on the center left, they've got nobody on center right to stand up to her? Now that Christie's got stuck on the bridge and Jeb doesn't know whether he's going or coming.
MATTHEWS: Michael, you were the one in your column that inspired this discussion. In an article for Politico, you called it the "Benghazi industrial complex," quoting your piece. "It's already too late for the truth. Benghazi has taken on a cultural life of its own on the right. It's become embedded in the Democratic demonology of the conservative base. It is now shorthand for a new generation of right-wing conspiracy theorizing about the Clintons that Republican candidates know will excite conservative voters. Benghazi has become to the 2010s what Vince Foster and Whitewater were to the 1990s." You also say it's partly about trying to make Hillary Clinton so disgusted with this nonsense, she just decides to stay out of the race.
MATTHEWS: At worst, what the Obama people are guilty of, at worst, and this is taking the total Republican argument, they spun it a bit more in one direction than the other. Okay?