The Washington Post

Rep. King calls Benghazi “bigger than Watergate,” but the math is a little complex

(Charles Tasnadi/AP)

So, let’s do the math. If Watergate resulted in the resignation of a president, plus dozens of convictions, and Iran Contra ended with 11 convictions, and Benghazi is 10 times bigger...wait a sec...carry the one...then it will result in at least 10 presidents resigning and hundreds of criminal convictions.

But King’s math is complex. After all, he once asserted that the various allegations against community organization ACORN were “thousands of times bigger than Watergate.”

We’ll need a cosmic calculator for this one: if Benghazi is 10 times bigger than Watergate and Iran Contra combined, is that bigger or smaller than Watergate times a thousand?

The mind boggles.

To be sure, people died in the Benghazi tragedy, but it’s far from clear that purely as a political scandal goes, it’s in Watergate territory.

Of course, the “bigger than Watergate” label gets slapped on anything these days. In the language of particularly excitable Republicans, it pretty much translates “raises an eyebrow.” Even Jon Stewart earlier this year mocked the liberal use of the phrase by conservatives on FOX News, running a clip of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) asserting that Solyndra made “Watergate look like child’s play.”

We seem to recall that House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (D-Calif.) once said that the “Fast and Furious” gun walking mess “looks an awful lot like Iran Contra.” And he later added a Watergate comparison for good measure: “This is like Iran Contra, like Watergate.”

Former Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) liked a Watergate comparison, too. He once said the collection of documents on Republicans by the administration of former President Clinton could go “beyond Watergate in its seriousness.”

One suggestion? If Republicans want to turn Benghazi into a souped-up Watergate, we suggest they give it a catchier name.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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