WASHINGTON, D.C. — To most outside observers, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and his House Select Committee on Benghazi have had a terrible last couple of weeks, and news on the Hill is that the bad publicity has had a major impact on the South Carolina Republican’s mental health.
It started when Rep. Kevin McCarthy made what many consider the biggest political gaffe of the year when he bragged to Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the House Republicans’ dogged pursuit of the Benghazi scandal has helped to knock down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s polling numbers. That blunder not only likely caused McCarthy to withdraw his name from consideration in the election to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner, it opened up a door for Clinton to hammer the Republicans in a campaign ad, and for Democrats on the committee to harangue Gowdy and his conference mates.
Then another Republican congressman seemed to corroborate McCarthy’s implication that the committee is not much more than a political witch hunt on Clinton and her supporters. Shortly thereafter, Gowdy was tremendously embarrassed when he accidentally released the very same CIA operative’s name in his own press briefing, after having chided and chastised Clinton for inadvertently exposing that operative’s name as well. “To say the last couple weeks have been rough on Trey would be the understatement of the century,” one source close to him said, adding that now all Gowdy does is roam the halls of Congress, offering to “witch hunt people,” the source told us.
“I think Gowdy knows this Benghazi charade is pretty much over,” another Republican staffer told the press, “and so he’s hoping he can start up a new witch hunt against another Democrat soon.” The staffer said that Gowdy “really sets his clock to his ability to bully his political opponents” and having to close down the Benghazi investigation — which has run longer than the Watergate hearings did — would be a “major blow to his ego.”
One source said that Gowdy was so disheartened and confused by the events of the last few weeks that he tried to start a witch hunt against himself. “I’ll get to the bottom of why we Republicans kept spending millions of dollars chasing our tails by God,” Rep. Gowdy was quoted as saying at a Republican prayer breakfast. He was quickly hushed and taken off the stage.
Gowdy himself could not be reached for comment, but his office sent an email to the media saying that he is “still supremely confident the Benghazi committee will uncover the truth we feel is out there.” The email also insisted that “members of the press help us find the truth we know in our hearts is out there, no matter how little to no evidence there is to back up our feelings.”
“There will always be work for someone like Trey to do in Washington,” said one of his colleagues who wished to remain anonymous, “because Republicans are always trying to settle that damn Watergate score. It irks us to know that our guy was the Watergate guy, and even though we can never find any evidence to back them up, our conspiracy theories say that the Democrats are far more scandalous, and do far worse things while in the White House. So we try our hardest to make those fantasies meet reality. Why do you think a blowjob turned into a national crisis for fuck’s sake? We’re obsessed with taking down a top Democrat so we can feel like the score for Watergate is even.” People like Gowdy, said the anonymous congressman, “are what you need when your party is not interested in governing but is instead interested in political theater and substance-free witch hunts.”