By Samuel O. Doku, Ph.D.
- Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, emerged as a tried, tested, and proven presidential candidate after the Benghazi hearing.
In a spirit invested in social justice and a panache for fairness that has seen him strive for good over evil, right action over flawed judgment, and order over dystopia, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the venerable Congressman from Baltimore, MD on Thursday called on his colleagues in Congress to show the world better leadership.
Cummings’s call came in the wake of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the Select Committee on Benghazi during which Republican members of the Committee peppered and badgered her with questions in attempts to test her limit of endurance in a hearing that endured over 11 hours.
The Select Committee on Benghazi was trying to discover if there was any more information to be ferreted from Clinton after allegations surfaced that she had used a private email account during her four-year tenure as Secretary of State.
- Rep. Elijah Cummings showed a genuinely passionate support for Secretary Clinton during the hearing.
The Committee was also mandated to find out what went amiss during the Benghazi U.S. consulate attack in September 2012 that led to the demise of four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, who was then serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Many more Americans were injured in that attack.
But in the opinion of many, the hearing turned into a theater of witch-hunting and fishing expedition that easily could have exhausted and frustrated any quotidian mortal. But not Clinton.
In the process, Cummings and his Democratic colleague from Washington State, Rep. Adam Smith emerged as passionate advocates for Clinton by calling on Republican members of the Committee to stop the witness badgering.
- Chair of the Select Committee on Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy couldn’t help but show a lot of admiration for Secretary Clinton after the hearing.
Cummings, the Howard University alumnus, said: “We are here in a marathon session that has gone over 11 hours badgering the witness. We are far better than this. We can do better than this. Let us show the world better leadership.”
Cummings’s call has profound connotations because the U.S. is seen as the leader of the free world, and many fledgling democracies look up to America for guidance. From that perspective, if the U.S. exhibits the same partisanship that informs politics in some developing countries, then it would unabashedly lose the respect those countries have for American democratic politics and republicanism.
Rep. Mike Pompeo in a pensive mood at the hearing. What next? he seems to be asking.
Smith also complained about the badgering and at one point even asked chair of the Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy–R-South Carolina, to stop Mike Pompeo from further badgering of Clinton.
However, in all honesty, Rep. Jim Jordan of Alabama emerged as the chief purveyor of the badgering.
In the end, the hearing turned out to be a test of presidential character for Clinton, and she emerged triumphantly from it. “I was determined and prepared to let statesmanship prevail over partisanship,” Clinton told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow 24 hours after the hearing.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, also promised that when elected as the next President and the first female chief executive of the United States, she would not deviate from the policies of the first black man to occupy the White House, Barack Obama.
- The presence of Rep. Adam Smith and Elijah Cummings at the hearing provided some mortifying moments for Republicans.
Clinton’s promise echoed Vice President Joe Biden’s appeal to the next Democratic President not to sway from the achievements of the Obama administration. Biden, who earlier on Wednesday announced that he was not viscerally prepared to run for President following the death of his son, had noted that it would be a tragic error in judgment if that should happen.
With her brilliant performance on October 22, Clinton has, indeed, given a whiff of oxygen to the cliché that experience is the best teacher.