President Obama is losing the battle over what he termed on July 25th “phony scandals.” The IRS targeting scandal, Benghazi, and the exposure of NSA spying activities (revealed by the defection of Eric Snowden) has forced the Obama Administration to switch tactics on how to handle them.
Why has the Obama Administration been unable to move past these three scandals like many previous ones?
For one, these three scandals potentially affect all Americans, not just those who disagree with the President’s failed policies. The Benghazi fiasco made America consider it could have been their sons who lost their lives while the President was too busy campaigning to come to their aid. And while this dereliction of duty was bad enough, insult was added to injury by the Administration’s lame cover-up, believed by no-one.
The IRS targeting scandal stoked the fire of mistrust when people realized the IRS could investigate, audit, or refuse license to any person or organization whose political leanings differed from those in power. And the officers of the same could do so without any accountability. If the IRS could target political groups over a difference of ideals, what could prevent the IRS to do what they wished to whomever they wished?
The trifecta of problems came in the person of one Eric Snowden who exposed an out of control government spying agency known as the NSA. This scandal proved to be a thorny one for the administration – every American’s casual belief that the Big Brother was somehow spying on the most personal aspects of their lives was confirmed by Eric Snowden.
What was promised as the “most transparent administration ever,” is anything but transparent, and the public opinion polls are reflecting that fact. Even the most ardent followers of President Obama are giving pause, and taking a closer look at the current scandals, questioning the Administrations explanations.
In an effort to regroup, after his losing the battle with his usual cover up effort, the Administration pulled out the old playbook and manufactured a crisis. Making a mountain out of a molehill the Obama camp devised a plan which they hoped could illustrate to everyone they were willing to do whatever to protect the lives of American emissaries overseas (which they failed to do at Benghazi) and prove the necessity of the NSA in the defense of the nation. I need not remind anyone Senator Obama was against the same NSA activities that now President Obama is a stanch supporter of.
On August 2, 2013 the State Department shut down activities at 19 U.S. embassies in the Middle East. This decision to close the embassies, they said, was based on ‘chatter’ between Al-Qaida leaders intercepted by the NSA. Pretty convenient timing one would think. Most of us gave little credence to this ominous danger being wise to the creation of crises by the Obama Administration. I wonder how the Obama camp thought the necessity of the closing of the embassy in Afghanistan play out since we have a standing Army completely capable of thwarting any attack by insurgents.
This knee-jerk action signaled a sign of failure from the start. Foreign policy experts, elected officials, and people in general felt this was an overreaction by the administration and another foreign policy blunder by Obama. Dr. Walid Phares, a terrorism expert, said the United States “shouldn’t signal retreat” by closing any embassies in the Middle East, as it would only embolden the enemy.
In an effort to maintain his ‘cult hero’ status the campaigner-in-chief scheduled an appearance on the Tonight Show Tuesday evening hosted by Jay Leno, he was the only guest. A whole hour of Barack Obama, no one considered this was a setup, right? It was sad, the president of the United States talked, joked, and made light of serious issues that affected the lives of the American people. It was reminiscent of a once popular actor, whose career was in decline, running the talk show circuit blaming everyone and everything for their sinking popularity but themselves. Maybe no one would notice the fact Jay Leno, who had already been replaced by Jimmie Fallon, and was only called in for this one performance.
Leno could be trusted not to further embarrass the president by asking awkward questions he was not prepared to answer, nothing was left to chance. But even in this scripted affair, President Obama carefully chose his words, never once linking the term Islamic when speaking of terrorist attacks. Altogether it was a diplomatic failure at the expense of saving face here at home.
Going a step further on August 8, 2013, the White House canceled a meeting with Russian president Putin in protest to Russia’s granting Eric Snowden asylum there. A move that was both expected and appropriate, but failed to garner any accolades; in short it was an insignificant move by the White House. Things were not improving on any of the scandal fronts and Obama facing still unanswered questions, called a news conference on August 8, 2013.
As usual, the President was 6 minutes late to his own scheduled address, revealing a total lack of respect for all of those in attendance. The tone of his remarks could be described as glib, containing little or no substance – it was the same old Obama, just a little more irritated that normal. He was losing the scandal war and it was showing. Instead of his arrogant, scripted address, the President spoke as one under pressure, even some of his favorite terms like ‘folks,’ were missing from his address.
During the remarks- regarding the NSA, the President said “we are not out there willy-nilly sucking information in on everybody and doing with it what we please.” Not only is there no proof to support that claim, I have issue with that particular statement. I have in my possession a government metadata file that I found which contains my email address from work!
Much of the remaining address was the usual meaningless comments and plants to fix the problem. Obama spoke of a new website designed to “restore the public’s confidence in their government,” and of course openness to yet another debate. It was reported; Before the press conference President Barack Obama hosted Apple CEO Tim Cook, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Google computer scientist Vint Cerf and other tech executives and civil liberties leaders on Thursday for a closed-door meeting about government surveillance. A closed door meeting to address privacy invasion of the American people does not restore the public’s confidence.
In a last ditch effort to defuse the situation Obama turned his attention to the 2014 Olympics which will be hosted by Russia. While he said boycotting the Olympics would be unfair to all those athletes who were training, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to say he “hoped that a gay U.S. athlete would bring hold a gold medal.” Does this imply if you’re a heterosexual athlete and win a gold medal in 2014 your victory is less meaningful than a gold medal won by a homosexual?
To Obama, Russia’s intolerance for homosexual marriage would serve as a justified reason for cancellation of the meeting with Putin. The fact is Putin, by shrewdly refusing to give up the best source of intelligence since Gary Powers, had embarrassed the President on a world stage. The cost of these ‘phony’ scandals was mounting both home and abroad.
President Obama is losing the war on all three of these real scandals and the only thing phony about them is that way they are being addressed and/ or avoided by this president. Transparency and truth are found in this administration as infrequently as the time President Obama spends in the oval office. It’s time this President spent more time at work and do the job he was elected to do. The next time Obama addresses the American people it should be from the Oval office instead of from a road show appearance.
President Obama has spent less time in the Oval office than any president save James Garfield (who was shot four months after he took office). The argument ‘the president is the president no matter where he is’ becomes indefensible when he continues to fly all over the country in Air Force One, costing the taxpayers $180,000 per hour, when economic issues go unresolved that need to be resolved at the office, in person.
The Obama family left Saturday for their annual vacation at Martha’s Vineyard (leaving on time I bet). One can only guess what the White House minions will come up with to rescue their leader from these latest scandals, but expect something outrageous.
Mr. President you can run but you can’t hide. You can label these latest scandals ‘phony’ if you wish but they are real, you are responsible for them. You are running out of scapegoats, excuses, and empty promises. Even the media is beginning to limit their gushing support of your policies and subsequent actions, and beginning to ask questions of their own. These scandals will be waiting for you when you return, and I will do my best to keep everyone aware of what you have been caught doing.