Speed Reads


The GOP's newest strategy for the 2014 midterms: Benghazi

Win McNamee/Getty Images

It's been nearly two years since the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, but you wouldn't know it from the news emerging out of Capitol Hill today. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced the creation of a select committee to investigate the incident. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, issued a subpoena to Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about Benghazi, even though the attack occurred before his tenure. And a group of three Republican senators — John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) — sent a letter to President Obama demanding that he reveal his whereabouts on the night of the attack.

The flurry of activity comes in response to the release earlier this week of internal White House emails about the attack. Republicans claim they constitute a "smoking gun" of a nefarious White House cover-up; others disagree. Either way, my colleague Peter Weber earlier today noted that the GOP's renewed emphasis on Benghazi is curious given that the issue has largely been forgotten by the American public, epitomized by Tommy Vietor's comment on Fox News this week, "Dude, this was like two years ago."

But, of course, it hasn't been forgotten on the right, where the flames of Benghazi burn as brightly as ever. And as Lynn Vavreck noted recently at The Upshot, American elections are no longer about trying to convince the mythic "swing" voter in the middle — they're about maximizing turnout at either end of the political spectrum. So while Benghazi may seem like an odd issue to raise in 2014, it's actually perfect — so perfect that you can count on seeing it again in 2016, too.