As Tim Murphy observed in piece in Mother Jones, Hillary Clinton's appearance before the Benghazi Committee lasted, among other things, longer than the Anglo-Zanzibar War, the lifespan of a female mayfly, and, more onerously, the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy on screen.
And I couldn't even get through "The Fellowship of the Ring."
To see Clinton endure it all in one take, almost 11 hours without scene changes or a stunt double — the same claims over and over, the same accusations that have been on a Fox News loop for three years – it wasn't good cinema. It was, however, illustrative, just not in the way Republicans hoped.
Clinton wasn't exactly Mel Gibson on the rack in "Braveheart," but she was an amazing study in fortitude and forbearance in the face of withering petulance.
Yes, Republican partisans had been planning this effort for days, weeks, months, years to undermine Clinton's presidential aims. What they made her look was – yes — presidential.
Honestly, why was Trey Gowdy the one sweating? Clinton looked like she had stopped by for a pedicure. The South Carolina congressman, with his sharp chin and darting eyes, was right out of the "Spy vs. Spy" comic strip, minus trench coat and pointy hat.
Here he was having his moment, his once in a lifetime, this giant magnifying glass in his moist palm. Sadly, outrageously, Hillary Clinton would not be a specimen for him.
This is twice now in recently days that inquisitorial Republicans have tried to make villains of women who came out smelling like roses. The hearings aimed at belittling and castigating Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards only made her look sympathetic and stateswoman-like.
A Clinton-Richards ticket for 2016? Bring them both back for hearings, and there might be a groundswell.
Oh, yes, in both cases the Republicans have overplayed their hands, but when you have a 24-hour "news" cycle to feed to Roger Ailes, this can happen.
Benghazi was a tragic screw-up. It was inexcusable, when we have security forces in every corner of the globe, particularly that corner, for a clearly vulnerable installation to be so at the mercy of hooligans and killers.
But tragic screw-ups occur when we establish our footprint in so many venues where we aren't greeted like the Good Humor Man.
The self-righteous bluster over this matter has become sickening, particularly when no such bluster was heard from the same players when false claims led a whole nation to war. Where was the investigation into Dick Cheney's fallacious "facts" about Iraq's ties to 9/11? A lot of young men and women went to war assuming them to be true.
There was no three-year probe-athon about what the Reagan administration didn't do to protect the barracks in Beirut in 1983 when truck bombs killed 299 American and French servicemen. Maybe that's because we didn't have Fox News in 1983.
But then, as former House speaker aspirant Mike McCarthy reminded us, this was about bringing down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers. And don't you ever believe this was about anything else.
If, let's say, Madeline Albright, to name a Democrat, were secretary of state when the tragic Benghazi screw-up occurred, we wouldn't be having hearings on it three years later. This only pertains if the former secretary of state is a front-runner to be president.
Now I'm wondering who else could benefit, image-wise, from a congressional hearing. How about Octo Mom? How about Charlie Sheen?
Call Trey Gowdy or Congressman Jason Chaffetz. Set up some face time. They obviously have the time.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.