This is the committee that never ends.

Photographer: Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images

Benghazi Will Backfire on GOP in 2016

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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Bloomberg Politics broke the story: The House committee investigating Benghazi is planning on dragging its feet long enough so it can dump its report right into the middle of the presidential campaign next year. Meanwhile, the committee reportedly plans to hold two public hearings next month with Hillary Clinton as the guest of honor.

Yes, this means the Benghazi committee, authorized in May 2014, will be a lot slower than the Senate Watergate Committee (authorized February 1973, report issued June 1974). It’s already been on the job as long as the Joint Iran-Contra Committee (authorized January 1987, report issued November 1987).

But the drawn-out process isn't a problem for Clinton and the Democrats. Instead, it's an indicator of the conservatives' closed information-feedback loop, in which Republicans keep talking to themselves without realizing what it sounds like to everyone else.

For those who listen to conservative talk radio, Benghazi is a huge scandal that will bring down Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton) any day now. But no one outside this bubble thinks that way: Remember the trap Mitt Romney got caught in when he tried to score points on Benghazi in a 2012 presidential debate? 

It is unlikely but not impossible that the scandals involving the Clinton Foundation will move votes in 2016. We’ll have to see what the evidence says. But Benghazi? By delaying the report until next year, Republicans might think, Wile E. Coyote-like, that they’re finally going to get Clinton. But all the House maneuvering will do is force the Republican nominee to have to disassociate himself from the party's nuts-and-kooks crowd. 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net