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Where is Benghazi? Kuster's refusal to stand

Poor Ann Kuster. She invited constituents to a Nov. 23 event, promising she would "answer questions about Israel and the Middle East." Politics being what it is today, you probably can guess what terrible, unAmerican cruelty was heaped upon her that day. Some joker, if you can believe it, had the nerve to actually ask her a question about the Middle East.

What is this country coming to?

The questioner asked Kuster, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, to give her position on House Resolution 36, which would create a select committee to study last year's attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The stout-hearted Kuster did not let that questioner push her around.

Kuster denied that the resolution existed (it does), denied that Libya was in the Middle East (it is), and then bravely gave the moderator several pleading looks until he moved on to the next question. If Congress gave Courage awards to members who heroically refused to answer constituents' questions, Kuster would have earned herself one that day.

If you have not witnessed this profile in courage, you can see the video on It is striking not because Kuster did not know about the existence of the House resolution or the location of Libya. Those are mere embarrassments. The catastrophe came as Kuster cast about for an exit that would not pass her through an answer to the question. She tried ignoring it. She tried mumbling. She tried claiming that the question was off topic. Finally she settled for shooting desperate, silent pleas for help to the moderator, who at last came to her rescue.

These are not the reactions of a leader. A leader would have answered with an attempt at persuasion. They are not the reactions of a follower. A follower would have given a poll-tested response calculated to please. Kuster's desperate squirming avoidance revealed her to be the worst kind of politician: a place-holder. Faced with a moderately dangerous question, she froze in fear that any answer would jeopardize her hold on the office, and she simply hoped it would go away. After witnessing this incident, even more voters in the 2nd District will be hoping the same thing about her.

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