Skip to main content

Benghazi: Search for truth or witch hunt?

By Margaret Hoover, CNN Contributor
May 11, 2013 -- Updated 1826 GMT (0226 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN Radio podcast features CNN Opinion contributors on top three stories
  • Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah, John Avlon tackle motivation for Benghazi hearings
  • They discuss whether cracks in GOP's monolithic thinking will help or hurt party
  • They ask if Gov. Christie's lap band surgery was for political ambition or personal health

Editor's note: Margaret Hoover is the author of "American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party."

(CNN) -- Dean Obeidallah, John Avlon and I kick off this week's episode of "The Big Three" podcast by tackling Congress' Benghazi hearings from three distinct perspectives.

Ever the centrist, my beloved husband John questions whether the hearings are an earnest search for the truth or a hyperpartisan GOP political witch hunt aimed at embarrassing the Obama administration while derailing Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential bid. Dean and I duke it out from opposite perspectives, and we all agree on a surprising point at the end.

John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah
John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah

Then, on to a discussion of the dramatic fractures within the GOP on immigration reform -- a split between former Sen. Jim DeMint's Heritage Foundation and his protégé Sen. Marco Rubio -- which give Dean cause for celebration. But I'm not sure he will ultimately like the outcome of these GOP growing pains, which I suspect reveal a realignment of Republican reformers from old guard thinking.

Cracks in what had been GOP monolithic thinking on issues ranging from immigration to gun control to gay rights -- in a week where Delaware became the 11th state to pass marriage equality with a genuine bipartisan majority -- could reinvigorate the GOP brand and lead to a more competitive party nationally.

John thinks renewal and competition in any party orthodoxy is healthy for America, but Dean is clearly rooting for DeMint's success, even if it means the end of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. To be fair, Dean's a comedian, so maybe his partisanship is good for laughs, but it will give way to a desire for good policy to win the day -- even if the Republicans get some credit. We'll let you decide.

Finally, was Gov. Chris Christie's lap band surgery motivated by political ambition or personal health? One of us thinks Americans are too obsessed with weight to elect an obese president. Another worries that the act of losing weight will obscure Christie's record in New Jersey if he decides to challenge Hillary Clinton in 2016. Is it possible for aspiring elected officials to make decisions independent of their political future?

We hope you have as much fun hearing us analyze these issues as we had laughing it out over them.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Margaret Hoover.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
As a woman whose parents had cancer, I have quite a few things to say about dying with dignity.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
David Gergen says he'll have a special eye on a few particular races in Tuesday's midterms that may tell us about our long-term future.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1452 GMT (2252 HKT)
What's behind the uptick in clown sightings? And why the fascination with them? It could be about the economy.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Midterm elections don't usually have the same excitement as presidential elections. That should change, writes Sally Kohn.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Mike Downey says the Giants and the Royals both lived through long title droughts. What teams are waiting for a win?
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1832 GMT (0232 HKT)
Mel Robbins says if a man wants to talk to a woman on the street, he should follow 3 basic rules.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2103 GMT (0503 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say more terrorism plots are disrupted by families than by NSA surveillance.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2125 GMT (0525 HKT)
Time magazine has clearly kicked up a hornet's nest with its downright insulting cover headlined "Rotten Apples," says Donna Brazile.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2055 GMT (0455 HKT)
Leroy Chiao says the failure of the launch is painful but won't stop the trend toward commercializing space.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Timothy Stanley: Though Jeb Bush has something to offer, another Bush-Clinton race would be a step backward.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Errol Louis says forced to choose between narrow political advantage and the public good, the governors showed they are willing to take the easy way out over Ebola.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Eric Liu says with our family and friends and neighbors, each one of us must decide what kind of civilization we expect in the United States. It's our responsibility to set tone and standards, with our laws and norms
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Sally Kohn says the UNC report highlights how some colleges exploit student athletes while offering little in return
October 26, 2014 -- Updated 1904 GMT (0304 HKT)
Terrorists don't represent Islam, but Muslims must step up efforts to counter some of the bigotry within the world of Islam, says Fareed Zakaria
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Scott Yates says extending Daylight Saving Time could save energy, reduce heart attacks and get you more sleep
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0032 GMT (0832 HKT)
Reza Aslan says the interplay between beliefs and actions is a lot more complicated than critics of Islam portray
ADVERTISEMENT