May 17, 2013
Proof of an editor conspiracy? (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Proof of an editor conspiracy? (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

An unusual thing happened at the top of Charles Krauthammer’s column today. He urged caution, specifically to the GOP, in comparing Benghazigate to previous bigtime Presidential scandals. Overhyping the scandal in terms of what, politically, it might accomplish — bringing down or at least deeply embarrassing the president — minimizes the facts of the case, which Krauthammer saw as plenty damning on their own.

As Benghazigate plays out in the PostScript bunker, PostScript has come to learn much about the dynamics of those commenters who enjoy doing the very thing Krauthammer warned against here. She has seen several who characterize Benghazigate as much worse than Watergate; she has seen people say that at least Nixon had the common decency to resign, etc. Essentially, the internet wilds and anonymous commenting do not strike her as the kind of place where people follow suggestions for decorum or persuasiveness from The Post’s columnists. This is a gleeful, boundary-pushing culture; it will not be told what to do.

That is what PostScript thought.

Bizarrely, though, PostScript found almost no references to the Watergateyness of Benghazi. Just a few days ago Watergate overflowed. Now, almost totally dry. Here are the sum total she found, wading through the 2,500 comments:

TheStatistQuo

Bob Woodward says Benghazi is similar to Watergate, shouldn’t be dismissed. That settles it.

(Note the use of Bob Woodward of … the mainstream media.)

shoppegirl2001

Whatever Nixon did was elementary compared to what BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA is doing to us.

Rhallifax

Two main differences between Obama and Nixon: (1) Obama doesn’t record his conversations (2) the Democrat Party doesn’t have their own version of Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee.

Well, there is a third difference. Unlike Watergate, ordinary Americans across the country are feeling intimidated by their own government today. There is a chill wind blowing from Washington.

TraderB

It appears that the House is going have to go with a select committee a la Watergate, after Miller’s evasive answers.

PostScript is not at all suggesting that this curious allegiance to Krauthammer is in any way a conspiracy that goes straight to the top. She is merely noting her own surprise at all the spontaneous agreement that the Watergate comparison isn’t helpful.

After all, the anonymous Internet is a strange place where strange things happen. Krauthammer gets accused of using left-wing talking points:

Pilot1

The overselling of Benghazi is the new left wing talking point. They are trying it out all over, not working. Next week it will be something else; all the Republicans’ fault of course.

And grammar fights break out that goes way over PostScript’s head:

babybaby0

Sorry, Charlie. “If this activity took place, it’s inappropriate…” is not subjunctive. It’s past indicative. The speaker is not implying that “this activity took place” is contrary to fact; this form of “if” leaves its truth as undetermined. The past subjunctive form would be “if this activity had taken place, it would have been inappropriate”.

It’s unfair to suggest that Mr. Carney was implying that it didn’t happen by characterizing his statement as [contrary-to-fact] subjunctive.

That is incredibly disconcerting. PostScript doesn’t have the grammar knowledge base to know who is right on her own, and can only rely on expert testimony to understand the issue. But there’s no way of knowing the experts are unbiased; indeed, the usual experts would be The Washington Post Opinions Page Copy Desk, which approved Krauthammer’s use of “subjunctive” in the first place! And a website that backs up the copy desk could have come from them too! PostScript can’t help feeling that something here is being covered up.