Bob Barr

While the soap opera “All the General’s Girls” currently occupies the top spot in the Washington, DC ratings wars, the “Benghazi Chronicles,” with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in a starring role, continues to enjoy strong ratings – as it should.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney played it safe during the campaign -- refusing to press the many questions surrounding the September 11th fatal attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The campaign was the perfect forum from which to demand and obtain answers to questions about why the United States was so poorly prepared for the violent attacks in Benghazi. It also served as an appropriate stage on which to discover why the Administration continued to mislead the American public about the forces behind the attacks.

With those opportunities badly flubbed by Romney, attention is now focused on Republican leaders in the Congress to use their confirmation, legislative and oversight powers to do what Romney did not – play hardball and demand answers.

Republicans should quickly and firmly brush aside Obama’s symbolic bravado during last week’s news conference, when he dared the Republicans to “take [him] on” and leave Rice alone. This is a red herring. The GOP also should be firm in casting aside the nonsense being mouthed by Rice’s defenders, such as Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, who are playing the Race Card by claiming criticism of Rice is founded in racial prejudice.

What Republicans should not brush aside, but should continue to focus on, is that “Benghazi-Gate” represents a most serious series of errors committed by the Obama Administration – errors in judgment, intelligence, security, and policy that began long before the September 11th attacks; and which continued even after the tragic death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

This is serious business; and whatever smokescreens the Administration and its defenders throw out there – charges of “sexism,” “racism,” “partisanship,” or whatever – must not be permitted to pull the GOP off target. The GOP is the loyal opposition in this equation, and must not allow itself to be bullied into submission or start chasing animals down irrelevant rabbit holes. If the Republicans in either House flub this, then the incompetence displayed by the Obama Administration in meeting the challenges not only in Libya, but in Iran, Egypt and elsewhere, will continue and likely result in future debacles.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.