David Corn: 'For Many Conservatives,' Benghazi Like a 'Candy Store,' But 'The Bins Are Empty'

This past week was the biggest in a long time for Benghazi news. How did some of the leading lights of the lefty blogosphere handle the Ben Rhodes e-mail and related topics? We report; you decide.

1. David Corn of Mother Jones, best known for bringing to light the Mitt Romney 47-percent tape, wrote on Friday that the Rhodes e-mail is "pretty standard stuff" and that "all the fuss about [it]...is smoke, not fire." Corn admits that the White House "certainly has bungled part of its Benghazi reaction" but that the Republicans' case nonetheless "should have been...closed, a long time back."

Corn wrapped up by suggesting that conservatives' obsession with Benghazi resembles an untreatable "virus," one that apparently makes them really hungry for sweets (emphasis added):

For Obama's political foes, the Benghazi narrative—that is, their reality-challenged version of it—offers too much benefit to be abandoned. It serves three fundamental desires of the right. The get-Obama crusaders have long wanted to show that the president is just another weak-on-defense Democrat, to demonstrate that he is not a real American worthy of being president, and to uncover an explosive scandal that eviscerates Obama's presidency and provides cause for impeachment. Benghazi, in their feverish minds, has had the potential to do all of this. It is a candy store for many conservatives—no matter that the bins are empty. They will not—cannot—let it go. Nor can they simply focus on the real issues of what went wrong that dreadful night and what must be done to prevent another such disaster. They are love-sick for Benghazi. And for that, there is no cure.

2. Also on Friday, Daily Kos editor and publisher Markos Moulitsas contended that with the GOP's anti-Obamacare efforts sputtering out, it needed "to pivot to something new, so why not Benghazi?"

Kos believes that this renewed emphasis on Benghazi is meant not for midterm swing voters, but rather is "designed to appease [Republicans'] core base—both at the grassroots level and in the House." He explained:

By conducting Benghazi kabuki, Republicans deflect some of that base frustration, while giving Boehner some breathing room. It's a win-win! Well, it's a win-win if you live inside the Fox News bubble of death. For anyone else watching, they just see an even crazier GOP.

3, And the Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore opined Thursday that Republicans' main purpose in pushing Benghazi in 2014 is to damage Hillary Clinton for 2016 (italics his, emphasis added):

Of all the “Obama scandals,” Benghazi! is the only one in which Hillary Clinton can conceivably be implicated or even mentioned. No wonder that more than nineteen months after the events of September 11, 2012, Republicans are still pouring over emails and trying to make this the Mother of All Scandals. Hell, they may yet try to make this an impeachable offense, so seductive is the idea of nullifying the 2012 elections while tilting the board for 2016 as well, striking at the “The One” even as they pull a few points off the approval ratings for the past and future Red Queen they’ve been hating for so many years. So tedius [sic] as it may seem, “smoking guns” or not, the only thing that could possibly make Benghazi! go away before November 8, 2016, would be a declaration of non-candidacy by Hillary Clinton.

Our little elephant friends just won’t be able to help themselves, bless their hearts.

Ed Kilgore David Corn Markos Moulitsas