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January 23, 2013

A "Thought About What Does It Matter?"

Obama had a scripted response to Mitt Romney in the second debate in which he turned to him and recited a pre-written, rehearsed speech in which he insisted "How dare you, sir" to any suggestion that anyone in his Administration had lied over this silly Benghazi matter, and really, wasn't the most important thing the deaths of four Americans?

It apparently worked. It's stupid rhetoric, but that's about the American public's comfort speed these days, stupid. Yes, the most important thing is that four Americans are dead; that doesn't mean that other things aren't also important. And the other things naturally draw more attentions, for two reasons:

1, There's not a great many ways to ask if someone is dead? Once you get to "Are you sure he's dead, and not, say, just hiding?" you're pretty much all out of questions about his alleged state of death.

2, There is nothing that can be done to improve the situation of the dead. There are, however, things that can be done to improve the functioning and candor of the government which made them dead.

Looking at Hillary's now-infamous "What does it matter?" screech, I believe two things:

1, this is a pre-scripted response. She's attempting to do what Obama did in Denver, play the How Dare You card, by noting that four dead Americans is a more important fact than anything else. (But not explaining why "most important" is suddenly synonymous with "solely important.")

2, I think this was poll-tested. I think most Democrats do not understand Benghazi because they don't want to dig deeply into a major Administrative failure and would like to just assume that everything went okay (except for the murders). And because the media doesn't cover it much, they're permitted to easily self-select out of the group who knows anything about this. Thus, I would imagine the most frequently offered response about Benghazi, in focus groups, by Democrats, is exactly this: "What does it matter?"

Thus, Hillary is attempting to not only play the How Dare You card (with How Can You Ask Such Trivial Questions When Their Are Four Dead Americans power-up card), but is also attempting an emotional catharsis on behalf of the bewildered Democrats who don't understand all the fuss. By channeling that precise emotional response -- "What's all the fuss?" -- she connects herself emotionally to Democrats.

They're thinking just that, and feeling rather bad about being ignorant of a major foreign policy failure that sure sounds important and sounds like the sort of thing an Enlightened Liberal Bien Pensant should know about; but in comes Hillary to reassure them that their ignorance is in fact a sort of Enlightenment. "What does it matter?!" Indeed, I imagine a lot of ignorant Democrats' heads were nodding at that-- in excusing herself, Hillary also excuses those Democrats from the responsibility of taking an interest in important affairs.

Thus, they have a big incentive to believe her lie -- in thinking well of Hillary, they also get to think well of themselves. And thus they'll latch on to it.

People love hearing things that make them feel well about themselves. Politicians tend to talk about the "basic wisdom and goodness of the American voter" an awful, awful lot just as the American voters are deciding who to give jobs to.

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posted by Ace at 12:53 PM

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