Remember when all Democrats were instructed to quake with terror because the incredibly deft and well-prepared prosecutor Trey Gowdy was taking over the latest incarnation of the endless Benghazi committee? Remember how all the Very Serious People tsk-tsked the wild men on the GOP side who couldn’t stop running their yaps to keep up the pretense that Gowdy’s was a totally impartial not-at-all-focused-on-HRClinton team? Yeah, well, Rep. Trey’s decided staying in the primary loop is more important than holding on to that increasingly transparent figleaf, per Politico:
White House hopeful Marco Rubio snagged a big-name endorsement this week from Trey Gowdy, the popular South Carolina congressman leading the House investigation of the Benghazi attack.
But the boost for Rubio could mean trouble for Gowdy back in Washington. Democrats are already pouncing, saying it shows Gowdy is not the politically disinterested inquisitor he’s portrayed himself to be throughout his months-long look into the 2012 attack, an investigation that’s scrutinized Hillary Clinton’s actions as secretary of state.
“We knew Trey Gowdy was abusing his power as chair of the Benghazi Committee to attack Hillary Clinton. What’s now clear is that he was doing so in order to help Marco Rubio run for president,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), former head of House Democrats’ campaign arm, said in a statement to POLITICO. “His actions in Congress and on the campaign trail are nothing more than to further his partisan political agenda.”
Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, has maintained for months that he’s running a fair and impartial investigation that has nothing to do with politics. He abstained from some campaign events and fundraisers, and distanced himself from political comments made by fellow Republicans about his probe — largely out of concern that it could tarnish the Benghazi investigation’s integrity and give Democrats fodder to argue that it’s a partisan witch hunt.
Those efforts, he and his allies have acknowledged, didn’t protect him from accusations of partisanship and attacks from the left on his panel’s credibility. The complaints reached a crescendo in the weeks leading up to Clinton’s marathon appearance before his panel in October.
Now he appears to be casting aside that caution, plunging into the 2016 campaign. A Gowdy spokesperson noted that the lawmaker still refuses to campaign on the topic of Benghazi and argued he is keeping the two issues separate…
Gowdy’s embrace of Rubio, which included a formal endorsement during a two-day swing through Iowa this week, comes as the Benghazi committee is winding down its work. The panel is slated in the next few months to release its final report on the attacks in which four Americans were killed…
My own suspicion, given the timing here: Conventional wisdom, at this point in time, is that Ted Cruz is now expected to win in Iowa, and one of the four “Establishment” candidates (Rubio, Bush, Christie or Kasich) is supposed to consolidate enough support to win in New Hampshire (or at least come in a strong second behind wild
man card Donald Trump). If none of the Favored Four can pull ahead in NH, then the South Carolina primary (Feb. 20) becomes that much more important to winnow out a “permanent party” candidate to stand against Talivangelical Ted — and, of course, The Donald. That’s why Lindsay Graham dropped out when he did, so that his SC supporters could switch to one of the Favored Four well in advance of primary day. And Rep. Gowdy is said to be a Big Man in SC politics; presumably, getting his endorsement out as soon as possible (even before Iowa, just in case the caucus voters don’t like Ted Cruz any better than every other human who’s spent more than an hour in his company) has become more important in the GOP Long Con than the never-very-convincing pretense of “impartiality” around his Benghazi investigation.
Which is good news for us Democrats, I’m thinking: It means the Repubs have given up on using Benghazi as a weapon against HRClinton for the nonpartisan (low information) voting bloc. It’s still a pious incantation among the faithful, like saying pater-nosters against the monsters under the bed… but they don’t expect any ‘new revelations’ to convince the unbelievers.