Tag Archives: benghazi


2014 Predictions from NovelPolitics

Sometime in the Spring, or maybe as early as the State of the Union, or maybe five minutes from now, the Obama Administration is going to come out with a new narrative. So buckle up, Republicans. Democrats, you can breathe now.

We found out what is in store for 2014 when we overheard Jack and Bob this morning, in their usual spot in the back bar of the Old Ebbitt Grill.Old Ebbitt

Jack slid his bar stool back and climbed on. Bob was already there, of course, and pointed at the bartender, then Jack.

Without a word, the bartender brought over two egg nogs. “On me,” he said

Jack thanked him. Bob nodded, with a weak smile. “What the hell is that?” he whispered to Jack.

“Egg nog. It’s good for you.” Jack took a sip. “Evan’s not coming. He said he was out late.”


“I know. I don’t believe him either. He seems so worried about the coming year, you know? What do you think will happen, Bob?”

“You aren’t serious. Surely the Spin Doctor knows. Surely you can read this like a slow pitch curve ball.”

“Okay. Here’s the Obama spin: “The economy is looking stronger than ever. The patient was gravely ill, curled up in a ball, unconscious under the front porch when the Obama administration took over. After a strong dose of shovel ready projects, and binge spending, finally the eyes are open. Look, the unemployment rate is down to 7%. Wow. Bet it goes into the sixes before the election.”

“Now, imagine Beyonce singing that.” Bob took a sip of his scotch and drained the glass.


“Exactly. Nobody look at that swelling non-participation in the economy—which puts the unemployment rate closer to 10 percent. Or the number of folks on food stamps…”

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Bla bla bla.”

“Agreed. But what about Obamacare? No way to spin that.”

Bob blinked. He watched the bartender at the other end of the bar and quickly poured his egg nog into Jack’s glass. Then he waved the bartender and waggled his scotch glass. “Listen.” He said to Jack. “Pay attention…Obamacare is really going to work. Look at all the people who signed up. Wow. And don’t worry–all of the mandates are going to be delayed. It won’t be so strong. Put it in some cocoa, or maybe a fruitcake, like brandy, if you don’t like it straight. Over time, you will get used to it. And besides, don’t you care about people? Do you want people to be sick?”


The bartender put a fresh scotch in front of him. He smiled and went on. “Now, imagine Matt Damon and George Clooney lecturing you about that. Oprah agrees. And, Beyonce is singing in the background.”

Jack squinted at him, slowly nodded and sipped the egg nog.

“See, you are already forgetting that you used to have a policy you liked, that children were covered under a special policy, that the poor had Medicaid and the elderly had Medicare.”

Jack shrugged. “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. What about the Republicans? They have a lot of other issues.”

“Sure. But don’t forget, the press is busy squirting gasoline on the bonfire of Republican disunity to stop them from making some of these rather obvious points.”

Jack frowned. “I’ll give it a try. The message of Benghazi, that an inept administration with a low priority on national security and security in general screwed up royally then covered up. Yes. Covered up the mess before the election. Cover up Cover up Cover up. I said it.”

“Aha. Yes. But did you overstep? Where’s the smoking gun?”

Jack shook his head. “Nice try. What about the IRS? How the IRS has been used as a tool to silence opponents of the administration. How the press accepts the bromides of the regime that both sides were scrutinized without blinking. How this scrutiny continues…”

“Oh sure. I know it reeks of Nixon but hey, they won’t get that far with it because the Democrats will come back with what they like to call the wingnut mocking gambit.”


“Sure. Right now, they are scouring the countryside for a fringe Republican who will make an inflammatory comment about women. Rape, if at all possible. So they can push the buttons of the legions of young women who vote on one issue. They will find someone to mock, and the mocking will spread to the rest of the party. Some Republicans will disavow, some will try to explain, but meanwhile, everybody stops talking about Obamacare and Benghazi.”

Jack sighed. “I have to admit–it has a familiar ring to it. So, will the Republicans be able to take the Senate? What is your call?”

“Hey, don’t ask me what the people are going to do. Politicians I can figure out. The people? We will have to wait and see.”

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Filed under 2014 election, Senate, Spin Doctor, White House

Bob and Jack Translate the White House #Benghazi Email

When the  email “sent by a top aide to President Barack Obama” was revealed by CNN, I had to get Spin Doctor out to see if it had been copied from its pages. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. But when I showed it to my lawyer and demanded he prepare a lawsuit, he was confused. I realized, he didn’t speak High Bureaucrat.  ne comprend pas–.no entiende–nicht verstehen

But he is not alone.  CNN clearly couldn’t order a glass of water or get directions to the cinema. They have no idea what the email actually says. And now, I see the White House is accusing the GOP of “falsifying” emails. I know this is all just a misunderstanding based on difficulty with the language. And I realized– we simply need a translation.

So, I asked Bob and Jack, two characters from Spin Doctor, to translate: First I had to find them. It didn’t take long. Yes, of course.

2011-08-20_17-39-58_421There they were at the Grant bar in the back of the  Old Ebbitt…

“Here. I’ll just read it out loud for you,” Jack
 took his phone back. “here’s the first part: Jack slid his Iphone over to Bob, who patted his pockets for a pair of reading glasses.


Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.”

Jack: “It sounds harmless, doesn’t it.”

Bob nodded. “ Nicely done. Let’s break it down into the individual idiomatic expressions:”

   “Sorry to be late to this discussion:”

It means, “I have been reading the emails, watching everything you are saying and  thought I better put a stop to this before anything more incriminating goes out.”


              “We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation:”

Bob smiled. Good one. “In case this email is leaked, it is on the record that I am not trying to impede the investigation. In fact, that’s my cudgel to shut you up. “

                        “There is a ton of information getting out into the public domain  from Congress and people who are not particularly informed.”

Jack leaned forward. “My turn—“The truth is getting out and it is drawing blood of the administration. Our adversaries are using it against us, making it look like we messed up.”

“Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or compromise the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression. 

Bob reached for his glass of Scotch, swirled the ice and took a reverent sip. “Really, if Shakespeare had been a politician, he couldn’t have done better than this one. I am thinking of doing this in needlepoint and hanging this on the wall.”

Jack nodded. “Or maybe make a pillow?”

Bob took another sip. “Yes, a pillow would be nice.”

Jack sipped his beer and sighed. “Here goes:”

“Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel  or compromise the investigation—”

Bob started slowly, choosing every word. “This is the fig leaf we will use to stop others from poking around in this…The sand we throw in their eyes when they ask questions–sorry to mix my metaphors–  And by constantly swearing to honor the investigation, I am protected from obstruction charges.”

“We need to have the capability to correct the record –”

 After another sip, for strength, Bob went on: “We have to come up with an alternate story and stick to it–go out there and say it over and over to drown out the critics. By the way, if it is pure fiction, it doesn’t impact the intel or investigation.”

“… as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.”

Bob waggled his glass at the bartender and drew in a breath. “There is an election going on and if the press starts listening to our critics and takes up the story before we have a chance to bat it down, we will be out of here on our skinny liberal asses, and the Philistines will be back–Sorry if that was a run on sentence, but there was a lot in it.”

“We will take this up tomorrow at deputies.”

Jack looked over at Bob, who was out of Scotch and mentally fatiqued. “I can do this one Bob. You don’t have to be fluent to get it–‘Don’t send out any more emails on this. Stop now. I’m not putting anything else in writing and neither should you. I will tell you what to say tomorrow at the meeting, behind closed doors.’”

Bob nodded. “Amen. With truth and justice for all.”

“That’s it. Short and sweet.”

Bob leaned in. “Not quite. There is the other shoe. You know. What happened next.”

Jack said “I’ll bite. What do you mean? What happened next?”

“The meeting was on Friday, September 14th, right? Starting on the Sunday, the 16th, various officials  starting with Susan Rice, and later,  Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama,  went out and told everyone about the video. Over and over again. No fingerprints. No incriminating emails.”

Jack frowned a moment, then nodded. “Oh, right. To make sure they didn’t “harden the mis-interpretation.”

Bob  “That’s right. Just the truth. Good thing the truth will set you free.”

“Although, maybe not in this case.”


If you want to talk to Bob and Jack about this, I’m pretty sure they left the Old Ebbitt. First of all, they abhor tourists. No offense. Also, they heard someone say there was no “there” there, so they left.

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Hagel Nomination in Trouble?

A rare consensus seems to have formed in Washington: Chuck Hagel was not good in his hearing. Not even a little good. Most of the press reports characterize the questioning as partisan, with Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post snarking that the Republican anger was rooted in Hagel’s abandonment of the GOP. But still, the pundits were not impressed.

So what happens next?

Hagel has promised to provide more information to the committee on his finances and his speeches. Chairman Levin said they wanted to move the nomination next week. That won’t give much time for analysis of the information, of course. Right now, Hagel still has the votes-He only needs a majority and he has roughly 56, including Sen. Cochran. Sen. Graham extracted a promise to hold a hearing on Benghazi before the vote. Who knows what will shake loose in those discussions. Also, if enough time passes, and enough microphones are in place, it is quite possible more Hagel gaffes will take place.  Although the greater likelihood is that he will be gagged, bound, encased in amber, perhaps hidden at the Smithsonian until after the vote, unseen and unheard.

The only question is, if the Republicans try to block the nomination, does he have 60 votes to stop them. And if it comes to that, does the administration want to take on that fight?  Waste political capital on someone who had interviews with Al Jazeera, alienates key donors, who seems inept and, who would be viewed by the world as having weak support in the Congress? How exactly will they spin that? Will he be their token White Male?

At the end of the day, again, the Democrats have the votes. We don’t know if the Republicans will have the stomach for the fight, or whether their calculus will be to let the President have his people and let him be accountable for the consequences.

Given his performance in the hearing, more than anything else, that should alarm the Democrats.

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