Leon Wolf is right: Benghazi has been over for months.

This week, RedState’s Leon Wolf opined that Benghazi investigations had run their course. He’s right – regardless of how important the scandal is or isn’t, it simply hasn’t stuck to Hillary Clinton.

What’s more, this should have been obvious a month and a half ago, when we were all getting ready for the Super Bowl. Remember the dust-up over whether the Patriots improperly deflated footballs?

All scandals need a name, and most called this one “Deflategate.” But some called it “Ballghazi.” Anecdotally, I heard that version most from New Englanders, who complained that the whole thing was a non-story.  The Washington Post noticed:

This could, of course, be a semantic weakness of “-ghazi” as an scandal label — it suggests a would-be scandal, not an actual one… In that sense, said [Dartmouth Professor Brendan] Nyhan, “-ghazi” functions in the same way as “-gate” — ironically, as a way to mock high-profile controversies as manufactured pseudo-scandals.

It was obvious early on that the -ghazi suffix had the same potential as the -gate suffix, but it hasn’t come to pass. Patriots’ likely cheating exposed that there isn’t a consensus that Benghazi is a legitimate scandal – or at least, what exactly the scandal is. There are apparently other albatrosses to hang around Hillary Clinton’s neck (or so I read), but this isn’t one of them.

Benghazi and Cultural Stickyness

Today the Washington Post pointed out analytics that showed interest in the Benghazi hearings was largely older, whiter men.  That may have a bit to do with the demographics of people working inside the Beltway who would be most likely to tune in, but it won’t be the final determination of whether this scandal has legs.

One of the reasons Watergate remains so ubiquitous in American political is that its unique moniker has kept it alive.  When political scandals erupt, the suffix “-gate” is immediately added.  No one references the Teapot Dome scandal that way.

Linguistically, the Benghazi scandal has that potential.  Too many lavish, taxpayer-financed vacations for the President?  Travelghazi.  Donors receiving special access to the President in exchange for campaign cash?  Sounds like a “Donorghazi” program.  And you can throw in Cubaghazi for that one couple that raised a bunch of money for the President and then magically got to go to a country that normal schlubs aren’t allowed to go to.)

It won’t be testimony in a stuffy hearing room that gives the administration’s misdirection gravity beyond the  halls of Congress.