There’s a classic response when one hears something patently ridiculous passed off as insight or wisdom: “They must think I’m stupid.” Over time, I’ve become convinced that the Obama administration thrives in part because it doesn’t just think we’re stupid, they know it. Stigma and attitude continually substitute for argument, and millions of Americans not only buy in, they cheer wildly.
In the instantly memorable exchange between Hillary Clinton and Senator Ron Johnson (which Eliana discusses below), Ms. Clinton had this to say:
With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.
Keep in mind that she’s saying this scornfully, with her voice rising with every word. It was riveting television, but her statement was utter nonsense. First, invoking the slain American diplomats to defend herself from a tough question was distasteful in the extreme. It is because their lives were so valued and their death so jolting that the hearing was even happening. Second, the false choice between a protest and an evening stroll gone awry was patently ridiculous. The relevant questions included whether the attack was a spontaneous protest (one form of threat), a pre-planned terrorist attack (another level of threat entirely), or an opportunistic combination of the two. Because the administration misled the American people, it helped perpetuate a false sense of security about our terrorist enemies — that they were virtually defeated. Finally, “what difference at this point does it make?” Well, it makes all the difference in the world when trying to determine terrorists’ intentions and capabilities in North Africa.
Watching the exchange, I was reminded a bit of the Biden/Ryan debate, when smirks and laughs successfully substituted for argument. Of course, no one is laughing or smirking here, but once again attitude trumps substance. Nonsense delivered with anger and conviction is still nonsense. But does it really matter? Not to the Huffington Post: