[Content Note: Misogyny; terrorism.]
In case you hadn't heard, Hillary Clinton testified yesterday in a hearing about the attacks on a United States consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
For months now, we've heard rightwingers breathlessly tell us how important it was that Secretary of State Clinton testified about this issue so that we could get Some Answers. When Clinton became ill near the end of 2012, they even accused her of faking a medical problem to avoid testifying, insinuating that her illness was a stunt meant to ensure that she could just ride off into the sunset when her term as Secretary of State ended without ever testifying.
Bullshit. Here she was. And in the course of the testimony, she had a very memorable exchange with Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson. Johnson spoke loudly, interrupting Clinton as frequently as he could, and, after the hearing, accused Clinton of "evading" his questions with "theatrics," which sure sounds a lot to me like the usual "women are hysterical" trope.
But here's the thing that really makes me mad: This hearing was ostensibly about Benghazi, but the back-and-forth between Johnson and Clinton couldn't have made it any more clear that this surely wasn't the case. In an all too typical rightwing move, they complained for months that she wouldn't testify, holding this whole situation over America's head as though it were going to be some serious "gotcha!" moment to hold against the Democrats. And finally she was there, answering questions, and Ron Johnson didn't even want to listen to her answers.
Johnson and the Republicans didn't want answers. They hate Hillary Clinton. They hate Democrats. And they saw this unfortunate event (that has clearly affected Clinton personally), as a chance to stick it to both. For Clinton's part, she seemed perfectly contemptuous of the manner and style of questioning, clearly annoyed that national security and politics are little more than a game to her opponents. Rightfully so.
It took me quite a bit of watching these Republicans aggressively attack Clinton yesterday before I finally realized it—these hearings weren't really about Benghazi at all. They were about grandstanding and giving the entire rightwing at least one more chance to call Hillary Clinton, currently the most popular potential successor to President Obama, a lying bitch.
In a special bit of irony, John McCain afterward claimed that Hillary Clinton's "adoring media" was giving her cover. Well, Hillary Clinton "got cover" because of the hearings, that's for sure, in this misogynist piece of garbage from the New York Post—
—and other outlets were gleefully giving Supreme Asshole Ron Johnson's "theatrics" comment, and his colleagues' similar dog-whistly complaints, as much space as they possibly could.
After months of claiming that Clinton was avoiding them, and using those dishonest claims to justify their ridiculous screaming about a "cover up!", Clinton showed her integrity by calling their bluff. She appeared before them to testify like they purportedly wanted all along—and when the pitiful facade of some massive government cover-up was crushed into little pieces, all they had left was their standard fallback: Misogyny.