Rich Galen

One of the great character-study movies of all time is the 1933 film Duck Soup starring the Marx Brothers.

As President Rufus T. Firefly (played by Groucho) is interrogating a man named Chiolini (played by Chico) who is on trial for spying. There is this brief exchange as a General rushes in to announce that Sylvania, the country bordering Freedonia, is threatening to attack:

General: This means war!

Civilian Official: Something must be done. War would mean a prohibitive increase in taxes.

Chicolini: I got an uncle lives in Taxes.

Official: Nooo. I'm talking about taxes, money, dollars.

Chicolini: Dollahs. That's where my uncle lives, Dollahs, Taxes!

It's not often that a 13-second clip from a film so closely mirrors the entire absurdity that now engulfs Our Nation's Capital.

We have Presidents, Generals, taxes, countries threatening (or actually engaged in) war, and … Marx Brother-esque double-talk.

At his press conference on Wednesday, President Barack Obama led off with his assertion that the number 250,000 had acquired mythical properties as the income level that separates the wealthy from the middle class. In Dallas and everywhere else in America.

So, that's the taxes part. Obama, then, protested against Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who had said earlier in the day they would block any attempt to confirm the U.S. Representative to the U.N. Susan Rice as Secretary of State.

Putting aside for the moment that the job of Secretary of State is (a) not vacant, so (b) Obama hasn't nominated anyone to fill the non-vacant post, McCain and Graham were pointing out that Rice was trotted out on the Sunday after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi to claim it was the result of that movie about the Prophet Mohammed.

It wasn't true, of course, but Obama said that if the Senators wanted to attack his U.N. Ambassador "then they've got a problem with me."

Going back a month, on October 19, 2012 the Washington Post's David Ignatius quoted the CIA's "talking points" that were given to Rice before her taped appearances on three Sunday talk shows five days after the attacks:

"The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations."

That was the CIA's contemporaneous version of events - or, at least their publiccontemporaneous version of events.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at