Within a week, the party’s senior leadership was dodging questions about whether the NRCC’s “Benghazi Warrior” fundraising pitch ought to be withdrawn. Soon, the nation was treated to the spectacle of the most powerful Republican in the House, John Boehner, denying that he had any involvement in his own party’s fundraising Committee.
All of this is collateral damage; however, to the relentless fundraising machine that is the American political process today -- on both sides of the political aisle.
Some Democrat says something about taxes? Send out a mass e-mail. The immigration bill is coming before the House? Get a phone solicitation going. Four Americans dead and nobody can explain what happened? Tell the folks to donate and become “Benghazi Watchdogs.” Whatever Washington has done to you, the political fundraising consultants have an email pitch ready that’ll make you feel better: just send money.
The cynicism of the whole process was laid bare by former NRCC chair Tom Davis, who admitted to the Washington Post that pitches like the ham-handed “Benghazi Watchdog” are “not good optics.” Nevertheless, the former Virginia Congressman said, “If you raise a decent amount of money, you take the hit. That’s how it works.”
Time will tell whether the newly-tapped Chairman of the Select Committee, South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy, will be capable of exerting adult supervision over a House Republican campaign organization that seems to have gone rogue in its voracious and insatiable desire for funds.
Gowdy, a former prosecutor, comes to the job with a solid reputation and a no-nonsense approach, and he minced no words as he waded into the unnecessary fray: “Even in a culture of hyper-partisanship,” he said, there are still “certain things that ought to be above politics, like the murder of our four fellow Americans and like whether or not you can trust what any administration — Republican or Democrat — tells you in the aftermath of a tragedy. That, to me, transcends politics.”
Gowdy has it right. Unlike the team over at the NRCC, Gowdy knows that to be effective in a probe of this significance, Republicans must be like Caesar’s wife, not Caligula.