Has the Obama Team Finally Lost the Juice?

For those of us who have been writing about the Obama administration from the beginning, the past several days of the news cycle have been a gift from heaven.  Recent headlines include:

A perfect storm of scandals has been brewing for years, and events are finally coming together that indicate that Team Obama is as bad as some of us have been claiming.  Vindication?  That is not at all what we are looking for.  Predictions of dire consequences that ultimately led to the death of Americans are certainly not cause for celebration.  What would be cause for celebration would be watching the Obamas pack their bags, tails between their legs, heading home to Chicago where they belong.  But we are a long way off from that occurring.

For years, Obama was compared to Jimmy Carter.  There are various reasons for that assessment, including a horrific economy and a general sense that they shared left-wing ideologies on social and foreign policy issues.  For the most part, however, the analogy related to sheer incompetence on both presidents' parts.  But what we are learning this week is that the more apt correlation has proven to be to Nixon.

To briefly summarize the conflagration of scandalous news emanating from Washington:

  • Benghazigate - The missteps before and during the terrorist assault as well as the post-attack cover-up combine to create one of the greatest failures of leadership our country has ever seen.
  • IRS targeting of conservative groups - As Mitch McConnell stated, "[w]e've only started to scratch the surface of this scandal."  And this scandal will likely play out much more in the mainstream as individuals on both sides of the aisle realize that they too may become targets of government bullying if power is left unchecked.
  • The DOJ hacking Associated Press phone records - When the press becomes the target of the administration's nefarious tactics and intimidation, rest assured that the story will garner the attention it deserves.
  • HHS's possibly illegal, certainly unethical fundraising - With Lamar Alexander proclaiming that Sebelius's fundraising is "arguably an even bigger issue" than Iran Contra, this issue will not disappear into the rabbit hole as have so many other incidents of Obama's usurpation of constitutional authority.

It is difficult to gauge which event will garner the most attention from the media and public.  And it is impossible to rank which is the most important to our nation -- from an historical and political perspective, constitutional standpoint, and legal and moral analysis.  Benghazigate resulted in loss of life and goes to the issue of national security as a whole.  The IRS and DOJ scandals reflect a flagrant abuse of power -- the former arguably helped lead to an invalid second term for Team Obama, and the latter reveals the beginning of the end of any sense of privacy upon which Americans can rely.  The HHS scandal simply demonstrates that the administration lost all sense of boundaries a long time ago.  But all of these scandals reveal the level of dishonesty as well as disdain for the rule of law that permeates the administration from the top down.

What is astonishing is how many on the left continue to obfuscate the significance of each of these events separately and certainly as the aggregated mess that they are.  Blind as these leftists are to the fact that the administration has long been "drunk on power," there still seems to be a sense that many simply wish to move on and do not understand that these scandals personify the Chicago machine that moved into the White House on January 20, 2009.  When Jay Carney pronounced that Benghazi "happened a long time ago," he was not uttering a statement that reflected the White House's erroneous perception of time.  He was hopeful that the American people had moved on.  And perhaps he was correct.  Bret Stephens certainly believes so, as he noted that, "barring fresh blockbuster revelations[,] the [Benghazi] scandal will go nowhere, because so many Americans are as eager as the White House spokesman to forget it ever happened."

Politico reported that a Democratic strategist emailed the following:

The AP phone records thing just sealed the deal for what the newest narrative around the Obama administration is going to be. They are the new Nixon admin when it comes to bullying, withholding info and targeting enemies. The right won't probably call him directly Nixon because you know, Nixon was a Republican, but it will be the basic idea. You will hear claims that there has never been an administration who reached so far to suppress information and dissent.

While I don't think this is actually the full truth, it is hard to not realize this is fully the fault of the administration that perception has gotten to this point. They have a small window- I'd say 2-5 days- to try and turn this around and hold on to a plausible veneer of not being a group of shadowy thugs. But given how tone def [sic] they've been in the past, my money is on this being the lens through which their next 3.5 years are viewed.

The Democrats' spin continues.  Obama's entire presidency has been smoke and mirrors (or faux Greek columns and empty promises), and to claim that the only problem here is that they have lost the narrative is not only pathetic, but a concession that there is not much left for them to spin.  As a former senior Obama advisor stated, "When there's no narrative, stuff like this consumes you."  The Politico column summarized:

Democrats are privately befuddled by the White House's flat-footed handling of this P.R. and legal mess, blaming a combination of bad timing, hubris and communications ineptitude. The most charitable defense offered up on background is that Obama staffers are scandal virgins, unaccustomed to dealing with a rabid press.

So a president who promised transparency (as well as bringing a gun to the knife-fight) has not exceeded the lies and threats that emanated from the Nixon White House.  The "scandal virgin" simply never learned from Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" how to handle a "rabid press."  Alas, gone are the days when Democrats understood that "the buck stops here," as Truman presidentially declared.   Or my take from a little old lady in a 1980s Wendy's commercial: "Where's the beef?!"

Democrats also assume that Americans are morons.  Obama recently announced, "Keep in mind by the way these so-called talking points that were prepared for Susan Rice, five, six days after the event occurred, pretty much matched the assessments that I was receiving at that time in my presidential daily briefing."  This is actually pretty funny coming from the man who has historically failed to attend his PDBsi.

This is not to say that I know for a fact that Obama did not attend a PDB in the "five, six days after the event occurred" (emphasis mine, as apparently Obama still struggles to call this a terrorist attack).  But what we do know is that he was missing in action the night of "the event" (apparently he stays up only for White House events that involve Hollywood celebrities and partying) and left for a fundraiser in Vegas the next day.  I am not sure which is worse, however -- claims of ignorance for a period of up to a week after the attack or lies about what he knew for a much longer period.  But the fact that he is feigning ignorance eight months later reflects his belief that pleas of innocence will be enough to vindicate him for his dereliction of duty -- for each and every one of these scandals.  Perhaps that is the most shameful.

But Americans are now on to Obama.  Jim Geraghty explained:

When there is evidence of scandalous or bizarre behavior on the part of a political figure, and no reasonable explanation is revealed within 24 to 48 hours, then the truth is probably as bad as everyone suspects.

Nobody withholds exculpatory information. Nobody who's been accused of something wrong waits for "just the right moment" to unveil information that proves the charge baseless. Political figures never choose to deliberately let themselves twist in the wind. It's not the instinctive psychological reaction to being falsely accused, it's not what any public communications professional would recommend, and to use one of our president's favorite justifications, it's just common sense.

Claims that Americans' calls for honesty and transparency have "a lot to do with political motivations" will no longer fly.  As each day passes, Obama sounds more like Nixon.  Perhaps it is best for reporters to move back to the parking garage, as Matt Drudge recently suggested.  At least the truth will come out, and we will not have to wait several decades for history to look back at the Obama years and reveal not just incompetence and failed policy, but abuse, criminal activity, and the moral depravity that so many of us lived through in real time.

 


iThe Washington Post article stated:

 

The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama's schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) - the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times - or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent - falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.

For those of us who have been writing about the Obama administration from the beginning, the past several days of the news cycle have been a gift from heaven.  Recent headlines include:

A perfect storm of scandals has been brewing for years, and events are finally coming together that indicate that Team Obama is as bad as some of us have been claiming.  Vindication?  That is not at all what we are looking for.  Predictions of dire consequences that ultimately led to the death of Americans are certainly not cause for celebration.  What would be cause for celebration would be watching the Obamas pack their bags, tails between their legs, heading home to Chicago where they belong.  But we are a long way off from that occurring.

For years, Obama was compared to Jimmy Carter.  There are various reasons for that assessment, including a horrific economy and a general sense that they shared left-wing ideologies on social and foreign policy issues.  For the most part, however, the analogy related to sheer incompetence on both presidents' parts.  But what we are learning this week is that the more apt correlation has proven to be to Nixon.

To briefly summarize the conflagration of scandalous news emanating from Washington:

  • Benghazigate - The missteps before and during the terrorist assault as well as the post-attack cover-up combine to create one of the greatest failures of leadership our country has ever seen.
  • IRS targeting of conservative groups - As Mitch McConnell stated, "[w]e've only started to scratch the surface of this scandal."  And this scandal will likely play out much more in the mainstream as individuals on both sides of the aisle realize that they too may become targets of government bullying if power is left unchecked.
  • The DOJ hacking Associated Press phone records - When the press becomes the target of the administration's nefarious tactics and intimidation, rest assured that the story will garner the attention it deserves.
  • HHS's possibly illegal, certainly unethical fundraising - With Lamar Alexander proclaiming that Sebelius's fundraising is "arguably an even bigger issue" than Iran Contra, this issue will not disappear into the rabbit hole as have so many other incidents of Obama's usurpation of constitutional authority.

It is difficult to gauge which event will garner the most attention from the media and public.  And it is impossible to rank which is the most important to our nation -- from an historical and political perspective, constitutional standpoint, and legal and moral analysis.  Benghazigate resulted in loss of life and goes to the issue of national security as a whole.  The IRS and DOJ scandals reflect a flagrant abuse of power -- the former arguably helped lead to an invalid second term for Team Obama, and the latter reveals the beginning of the end of any sense of privacy upon which Americans can rely.  The HHS scandal simply demonstrates that the administration lost all sense of boundaries a long time ago.  But all of these scandals reveal the level of dishonesty as well as disdain for the rule of law that permeates the administration from the top down.

What is astonishing is how many on the left continue to obfuscate the significance of each of these events separately and certainly as the aggregated mess that they are.  Blind as these leftists are to the fact that the administration has long been "drunk on power," there still seems to be a sense that many simply wish to move on and do not understand that these scandals personify the Chicago machine that moved into the White House on January 20, 2009.  When Jay Carney pronounced that Benghazi "happened a long time ago," he was not uttering a statement that reflected the White House's erroneous perception of time.  He was hopeful that the American people had moved on.  And perhaps he was correct.  Bret Stephens certainly believes so, as he noted that, "barring fresh blockbuster revelations[,] the [Benghazi] scandal will go nowhere, because so many Americans are as eager as the White House spokesman to forget it ever happened."

Politico reported that a Democratic strategist emailed the following:

The AP phone records thing just sealed the deal for what the newest narrative around the Obama administration is going to be. They are the new Nixon admin when it comes to bullying, withholding info and targeting enemies. The right won't probably call him directly Nixon because you know, Nixon was a Republican, but it will be the basic idea. You will hear claims that there has never been an administration who reached so far to suppress information and dissent.

While I don't think this is actually the full truth, it is hard to not realize this is fully the fault of the administration that perception has gotten to this point. They have a small window- I'd say 2-5 days- to try and turn this around and hold on to a plausible veneer of not being a group of shadowy thugs. But given how tone def [sic] they've been in the past, my money is on this being the lens through which their next 3.5 years are viewed.

The Democrats' spin continues.  Obama's entire presidency has been smoke and mirrors (or faux Greek columns and empty promises), and to claim that the only problem here is that they have lost the narrative is not only pathetic, but a concession that there is not much left for them to spin.  As a former senior Obama advisor stated, "When there's no narrative, stuff like this consumes you."  The Politico column summarized:

Democrats are privately befuddled by the White House's flat-footed handling of this P.R. and legal mess, blaming a combination of bad timing, hubris and communications ineptitude. The most charitable defense offered up on background is that Obama staffers are scandal virgins, unaccustomed to dealing with a rabid press.

So a president who promised transparency (as well as bringing a gun to the knife-fight) has not exceeded the lies and threats that emanated from the Nixon White House.  The "scandal virgin" simply never learned from Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" how to handle a "rabid press."  Alas, gone are the days when Democrats understood that "the buck stops here," as Truman presidentially declared.   Or my take from a little old lady in a 1980s Wendy's commercial: "Where's the beef?!"

Democrats also assume that Americans are morons.  Obama recently announced, "Keep in mind by the way these so-called talking points that were prepared for Susan Rice, five, six days after the event occurred, pretty much matched the assessments that I was receiving at that time in my presidential daily briefing."  This is actually pretty funny coming from the man who has historically failed to attend his PDBsi.

This is not to say that I know for a fact that Obama did not attend a PDB in the "five, six days after the event occurred" (emphasis mine, as apparently Obama still struggles to call this a terrorist attack).  But what we do know is that he was missing in action the night of "the event" (apparently he stays up only for White House events that involve Hollywood celebrities and partying) and left for a fundraiser in Vegas the next day.  I am not sure which is worse, however -- claims of ignorance for a period of up to a week after the attack or lies about what he knew for a much longer period.  But the fact that he is feigning ignorance eight months later reflects his belief that pleas of innocence will be enough to vindicate him for his dereliction of duty -- for each and every one of these scandals.  Perhaps that is the most shameful.

But Americans are now on to Obama.  Jim Geraghty explained:

When there is evidence of scandalous or bizarre behavior on the part of a political figure, and no reasonable explanation is revealed within 24 to 48 hours, then the truth is probably as bad as everyone suspects.

Nobody withholds exculpatory information. Nobody who's been accused of something wrong waits for "just the right moment" to unveil information that proves the charge baseless. Political figures never choose to deliberately let themselves twist in the wind. It's not the instinctive psychological reaction to being falsely accused, it's not what any public communications professional would recommend, and to use one of our president's favorite justifications, it's just common sense.

Claims that Americans' calls for honesty and transparency have "a lot to do with political motivations" will no longer fly.  As each day passes, Obama sounds more like Nixon.  Perhaps it is best for reporters to move back to the parking garage, as Matt Drudge recently suggested.  At least the truth will come out, and we will not have to wait several decades for history to look back at the Obama years and reveal not just incompetence and failed policy, but abuse, criminal activity, and the moral depravity that so many of us lived through in real time.

 


iThe Washington Post article stated:

 

The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama's schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) - the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times - or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent - falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.