Monday, October 5, 2015


Guest Post: Ray Gonzales, Ph.D.  

Dr. Gonzales is retired from the California State University system, served in the United States Marine Corps (1957-59), was elected to the California State Assembly from Kern County in 1972, served in the first Jerry Brown administration, was a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1980 to 1990, Director of Recruitment for the Peace Corps from 1993 to 1997, and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at CSU, Bakersfield. 


            In 2012, shortly after the Benghazi consular attack by Al Qaeda militants who took the lives of four Americans, I wrote an article noting that the call by GOP House leaders for a select committee investigation of the incident was motivated to “tarnish the image of Hilary Clinton as she appears to be the Democratic Party’s front runner for the presidential elections in 2016.”  On September 29 of this year, the potential new Speaker of the GOP-House, Kevin McCarthy, confirmed my suspicions.  In an unbelievable comment on a Fox News program, McCarthy boasted, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?  But we put together a Benghazi special committee….What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable.  But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”

            Democrats, of course, were thrilled at McCarthy’s damaging comments.  Former Vermont Governor and presidential candidate, Howard Dean, noted, “The Republicans lied through their teeth when they said this wasn’t about politics.”  Even some Republican House members were incredulous.   Oversight Committee Chairman, Jason Chaffets, who announced a last minute bid for the Speakership, urged McCarthy to apologies for his remarks.  There were other GOP House members who were upset by McCarthy’s political ineptitude.

            In that same article on the Benghazi attack, while not attempting to defend Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I pointed out that, “while the killing of Ambassador Stevens…was tragic and lamentable, Ambassador Steven, himself, was, in many ways, responsible for his own tragic death.  His action were not only dangerously risky, but one might say, even reckless.”  Typically, no ambassador in a hostile country would consider traveling outside of the embassy with less than a dozen security personnel in fully armored vehicles.  There were no Marines at the Benghazi consulate as they are posted only at  embassies.  Stevens had only two security guards when he arrived at the consulate.  The Ambassador had not been ordered by Secretary Clinton, nor anyone in the State Department to travel to Benghazi during those dangerous times.

            Nevertheless, Republican House majority sought to maximize the political fall-out as Kevin McCarty has recently admitted.  He has in the last few days attempted to walk back his comments of the 29th.  “It was never my intention to ever imply that this committee was political.  Because we all know that it is not.”  I am not sure who McCarthy means when he say, “we.”  Certainly Democratic House members and even some GOP representatives have their doubts.  That is why McCarthy’s quest for the Speakership is not automatic.

            This is not the first time McCarthy has misspoken and exposed the GOP’s political agenda.  It is a well-documented fact that on Inauguration night of 2009, when President Obama took a giant step forward in American presidential history, Republican leaders were meeting at the Caucus restaurant in Washington to discuss how they could thwart Obama’s efforts and sabotage his presidency.  As Kevin McCarthy, the GOP Minority Whip at the time, stated, “If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority…We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”  Certainly, the GOP followed McCarthy’s recommendations.  They opposed every effort Obama made to pass needed legislation, opposed every appointment, and became the Party of “NO” for most of Obama’s initiatives.  It was their philosophy of non-cooperation for Obama’s entire term, regardless of how it affected the nation. 

            Now, as the GOP has taken control of both Houses of the Congress, their goal is the presidency.  They started planning early, as the evidence now shows how they plotted the destruction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, by “challenging them on every single campaign,” as McCarthy advised them.  The new pretender to the Speakership has tipped the GOP’s hand.  McCarthy has a habit of misspeaking, and even butchering the English language on occasion.  On October 2, when he tried to clarify his misstatement on the Benghazi Select Committee, he uttered an incoherent statement: “…I should have come out right afterwards. Never my intention.  It wasn’t, in my mind, was saying out there.  I was saying some truth came out from this committee. You can always improve.”  

             If McCarthy is to be the new Speaker and spokesperson for the GOP House, he should get himself a good speech writer and never vary from the written text.  Otherwise, the Party will have to spend a lot of time cleaning up the messes he makes.  Like he says, he, himself, may be “untrustable.” 


- Mark

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