Yet another dumb teabagger complete fail. Republicans' 11-Hour Gift to Hillary Clinton Conservatives on the Benghazi committee practically picked Clinton up and carried her toward the White House By Jeb Lund October 23, 2015 Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi Thursday. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Eleven hours is a long damn time. Eleven hours is long enough to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco with two stops along the way to watch a movie and a football game in their entirety. And over the course of 11 hours of hectoring, insinuation and questions that started out redundant and turned into echolalia, Hillary Clinton never lost her cool. If she's elected president, she should send every Republican member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi a needlingly effusive thank you card. They practically picked her up and carried her toward the White House. Sidebar 5 Moments of Total Absurdity From the Benghazi Hearing » As explained before, things weren't going well for the committee even before Thursday's marathon testimony. To begin with, it's now the longest sitting special committee in American history, having surpassed the investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal and the historic Church Committee, which investigated not only Watergate but abuses by the CIA, FBI and NSA. That this committee has lumbered over the political landscape like some idiot golem willed into existence from a pile of trash only highlights the insignificance of its focus. Those other committees were merely about the power of the presidency, civil liberties and what kind of republic we have. The Benghazi committee is like Angie Jordan saying "ham" for 15 minutes. If that weren't bad enough, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy went and gave the game away, admitting the truth that anyone with two brain cells to rub together knew all along: that the committee's signature accomplishment had been driving down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, which was the only reason for its existence in the first place. By the time Thursday's events were gaveled into order, anyone paying attention knew they were about to bear witness to the toxic alchemy of campaign ratfucking melding with a surpassing waste of everyone's time. With that in mind, Trey Gowdy, Congress' own version of Matthew Lillard lengthened by a machine press accident, had Hillary sworn in, in private, foregoing the political dynamite of an image of her once again standing with her hand raised and swearing to tell the truth. The civility and good sense ended there. Despite being billed as a hard-nosed prosecutor, Gowdy let the proceedings wander all over the place, to the point where it's impossible to tell what the Republicans even wanted to know, let alone what they thought they could charge Hillary with. Maybe it was her Libya intervention policy itself that failed, inevitably leading to the four deaths in the Benghazi compound. Maybe it was her email. Maybe she emailed with her buddy Sidney Blumenthal too much and Ambassador Chris Stevens too little. Maybe she didn't care about the security staff. Maybe she tried to spin the attack afterward. Maybe she goes on political talk shows. The Republican members of the committee demonstrated their ignorance on two issues repeatedly over the day’s duration. Many seemed totally unaware of the contents of previous Benghazi reports and testimony. If this had been a conventional courtroom, Clinton's attorneys could have objected with "asked and answered" and turned the proceedings into 11 hours of tape hiss. Many of the Republicans also seemed ignorant of how the State Department even functions. Republican Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana showed off a pile of Hillary's emails pertaining to Libya from 2011 and another from 2012, then insinuated that the much smaller 2012 pile indicated her administrative indifference to the issue. Her case of the piles signaled an unawareness of the face that the State Department conducts the majority of its communications through cables, and that things like telephones exist, and that one of the unfortunate byproducts of conducting business on the telephone is that it doesn't generate an email afterward. Even the most generous interpretation of her questions can't elide the fact that the disparity in emails could easily have indicated general conversational traffic about Libya that eventually shifted to the official cable system as the maintenance of the Benghazi compound became more urgent. Rep. Mike Pompeo of California did show a familiarity with the telephone that then wandered into absurd territory as he tried to show that Hillary was a much worse friend to Ambassador Stevens than she was to people she's been friends with for decades, like Sidney Blumenthal. POMPEO: Ambassador Stevens didn’t have your personal email, we’ve established that. CLINTON: That’s right. POMPEO: Did he have your cellphone number? CLINTON: No, but he had the 24-hour number in the State Department that can reach me 24/7. POMPEO: Yes, ma’am. Did he have the fax number? CLINTON: He had the fax number of the State Department. Well, hell, a fax machine, there's your damning evidence that Hillary Clinton wasn't willing to be found during an emergency: She didn't give someone the number to a machine that she'd have to be standing next to, to notice a message churning out. He should have asked why they didn't have prearranged hills to conduct semaphore chats on, or whether they'd picked out a lake to meet at and really rap about Libya via Aldis lamps. Still, Pompeo himself had the best joke about his line of questioning: POMPEO: Did he have [your] home address? CLINTON: No, I don’t think any ambassador has ever asked me for that. POMPEO: Did he ever stop by your house? "Hey, Chris, it's Hillary. Texting you my addy, feel free to drive over from Benghazi." If that weren't bad enough, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul dropped a proverbial turd in the Gowdy punchbowl midway through this line of questioning: Heaven knows what the you don't love your ambassadors like you love Sid Blumenthal feint was supposed to accomplish. While there's some obvious intrinsic value in dredging up a name from the Lewinsky scandal, the former New Republic writer and long-time Clinton friend has nothing whatsoever to do with Benghazi. If Gowdy meant to defuse the accusation that the committee's investigation isn't political, then he did himself no favors with this topic, especially when the committee's ranking Democrat, Maryland’s Elijah Cummings, lit him up for it. Cummings condemned the committee for selectively releasing portions of Blumenthal's testimony, which Gowdy has justified under the argument that full transcripts will coach witnesses as to what kind of questions the committee asks, and allow them to prep evasive answers in advance. But of course Thursday's hearings and the seven previous Benghazi investigations have already given potential witnesses almost all the information they'd need. The selective releasing and leaks only allow Gowdy to work the media with the choicest quotes, out of context, and stoke the Deceitful Clintons narrative again and again. The unintentional comedy went off the charts when Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia actually said "aye" in response to Cummings' call for transparency, leading Gowdy to shake his head at him and remind Westmoreland that his opinion was actually different. When Cummings kept pressing back, Gowdy raised his voice and said, "If you think you've heard about Sidney Blumenthal, wait for the next round." Which, great — except, if you're going to keep asking about someone totally unrelated to Libya, just cut the bullshit and subpoena Monica Lewinsky. Reps. Peter Roskam and Jim Jordan had a much better idea anyway. When Clinton didn't say the things they wanted her to, they interrupted her, dismissed her, badgered her with louder questions, made baseless assertions and eventually just started testifying for her. Short of Ted Cruz, Jordan probably set the land speed record with most Americans for going from "guy I’ve never heard of before" to "guy I wish would jump up his own asshole." His entire schtick seemed to be based on the presumption that bullshit magically turns into less bullshit the faster it comes out. During every round he eventually abandoned the slow pace of his first questions in favor of rapidly testifying at Hillary to produce the statements that neither she nor the factual record were able to provide him. "You picked the video narrative. You picked the one with no evidence. And you did it because Libya was supposed to be...this great success story," he said during one of his filibusters. "You can live with a protest about a video. That won't hurt you. But a terrorist attack will. So you can't be square with the American people."