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Last week in my “Bad Week For Obama” blog I discussed three current “so called” scandals that the white house is trying to deal with. The IRS debacle, the Department of Justice wiretapping issue, and the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Honestly I thought all three of those scandals would fizzle and fade away from mainstream media. I knew Fox wouldn’t let these issues die so that part I expected. But mainstream media and even liberal media are still leading their broadcasts with all three of these stories every day. I’m not saying that these issues aren’t important, but they aren’t half as big as everyone is making them out to be. Especially Benghazi. That’s the one that drives me crazy because I don’t understand why an argument over talking points has garnered all this attention. I thought President Obama took all the steam out of that story during the second presidential debate. Romney thought he had a sure-fire trump card that would definitely score him major points but President Obama threw it right back at him and ended up making Romney look like an uninformed opportunist. For some reason Republicans never learn from their mistakes and seem incapable of moving away from issues and political maneuvers that have failed and in some cases failed miserably. Two very good examples of this is Benghazi and the repeal of The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The House and the Senate can’t seem to get anything done or even bring bills to the floor for a simple up or down vote, but that hasn’t stopped them from voting on the repeal of Obamacare 45 times. They know each time this will fail but they still do it over and over again. Common sense would tell anyone that there’s zero chance of Obama signing a bill that would undo his biggest piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act is the most important part of his legacy. Hell, it even has his name in the title (lol). It seems as though everyone has caught scandal fever when it should have been just a 24 hour bug.
I can’t blame everything on Republicans because the White House continually makes bad decisions which makes small missteps into huge epidemics. Their number one problem is rolling-disclosure. Leaking small pieces of information here and there day by day keeps these scandals in the news. They’ve done this with Benghazi, the IRS thing, and the DOJ’s wiretaps. I just blasted the Republicans for not learning from their mistakes, but the White House has the exact same problem. I wish President Obama would have taken charge of the IRS issue as soon as they became aware of it. They should have been the one to bring this to the public’s attention. That would have taken 90% of the steam out of the GOP’s argument. But instead his staff and advisers decided that “plausible deniability” would somehow protect him and limit his exposure without risking his political capital… so they didn’t tell him. That works well in business but it never works in politics. Especially when you’re the president. Maybe this time they’ve finally learned that lessen and they’ll stop giving Republicans ammunition.
This has not been a good week for our president… stating the obvious I know, but he’s taking heat from all sides, both left and right. Some of it is warranted but most of it only exist in the minds of republicans or manufactured within the 24 hour news cycle to raise a ratings slump that’s been stagnant and/or lagging ever since the presidential election ended in November. I hate to see the President on the ropes like that so I’m going to break it down and help him out a bit (like he’s going to read my blog or solicit my advice lol).
Late Friday evening a story leaked out accusing the IRS of unfairly targeting right-wing groups who filed for nonprofit status. After the story broke the IRS released a statement acknowledging the unfair targeting and extra scrutiny these applications were getting. President Obama held a press conference to address this issue and told the press that they were launching an investigation, and he was very emphatic about finding out who was responsible and promised to deal with them accordingly. I’m a very liberal democrat (surprise surprise) and I’m not a fan of the Tea Party (an even bigger surprise) but wrong is wrong. Anyone at the IRS who had anything at all to do with this should be fired and prosecuted in a criminal court. President Obama also said that he had no prior knowledge of this happening until the day before the story leaked, and it’s pretty obvious that he had nothing to do with the IRS placing extra scrutiny on the right-wing groups applications. Common sense would tell anyone that the White House and President Obama had absolutely nothing to gain by delaying nonprofit 501c applications. He’s extremely intelligent and pragmatic so he would never risk his presidency for something as stupid and insignificant (relatively speaking) as this . But the republicans haven’t figured this out yet. They’ve alluded to cover ups of mass proportions all week on any media outlet that will give them airtime. Normally this wouldn’t be such a huge deal. Admittedly the IRS was wrong and they should take responsibility for letting this happen and be punished. But the far right-wingers want to make this all about President Obama and they’ll continue to feed these delusional theories to their base buffet style as long as they keep eating it up. So the quicker the president resolves this situation the better. He needs to wrap the investigation up ASAP and be brutal quick and indiscriminate with the firings of some top IRS officials and do it in a very public way. When dealing with political scandals whether they are real or manufactured, perception is everything. Republicans rarely deal in reality so you have to beat them at their own game. PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING. Start demagoguing the hell out of every press conference when these guys start to come for you. So, that’s my advice on the IRS issue. On the scandal scale it gets a 2 out of 10 (10 being Watergate or the Iraq war, and 1 being Jimmy Carter lusting in his heart lol).
The second scandal is a lot more serious and actually merits even more attention than it’s already getting. Earlier in the week the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration did this without a warrant, without honoring the First Amendment, and contrary to normal procedure where they could have asked the Associated Press to cooperate and if they declined then they could take it court and let a judge decide. Prior to this incident that is the way the DOJ has handled similar situations in the past. This story troubles me the most, and it’s the most confusing issue I have with President Obama. I voted for him twice thinking he wanted to do things a lot different from his predecessor. Obama promised me and everyone who voted for him a more transparent government. Then he does a 180 and instead of walking back some of the civil liberty infringements of George Bush’s Patriot Act, he adds to it with things like warrantless phone taps on law abiding citizens, increasing the number of DRONE attacks, and assassinating secret targets without telling congress and without any due process. For most of his first term in office he wouldn’t even acknowledge that the drone attacks were coming from us. That doesn’t sound transparent to me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I think the President is doing a great job as commander in chief, and I don’t regret voting for him at all. But when it comes to foreign policy and protecting civil liberties I am extremely disappointed in that part of his administration’s agenda. So here’s my advice to the president about this. First of all he needs to do some restructuring at the Justice Department. He needs to take the DRONE attack program away from the CIA and give this responsibility to the military. The CIA is a covert organization so they really can’t be transparent about their operations, and they do not answer to Congress so that means no oversight. The Military handles these types of things best because they have to get orders, show results, and notify Congress of their actions. My second piece of advice pains me because I like Attorney General Eric Holder, but like I said before, perception is everything. President Obama needs to replace Holder with someone else, preferably someone outside of his circle of close friends and advisors. Someone who is passionate about progressive ideas and an advocate for civil liberties. Eric Holder was great at his job, but someone’s head has to roll and roll quickly.
It will be interesting to see how the President will handle all of these situations being thrown at him all at once. I have complete faith in him as a leader because he’s been overcoming major obstacles all his life. So far he’s risen to meet every set back head on and always comes out unscaved as the victor. I’m not even going to talk about Benghazi because he’s already won that argument. The republicans just don’t know yet. When will they learn that It’s going to take more than the GOP to tarnish this man.
|YEAR||DEBATE OUTCOME||ELECTION WINNER|
|1976||Incumbent Gerald Ford lost 1st debate against Carter||CARTER WON ELECTION|
|1980||Incumbent Carter lost 1st debate against Reagan||REAGAN WON ELECTION|
|1984||Incumbent Reagan lost 1st debate against Mondale||REAGAN WON ELECTION|
|1992||Incumbent George Bush Sr lost 1st debate against Clinton||CLINTON WON ELECTION|
|1996||Incumbent Bill Clinton won 1st debate against Bob Dole||CLINTON WON ELECTION|
|2004||Incumbent George W Bush lost 1st debate against John Kerry||GEORGE W BUSH WON ELECTION|
|2012||Incumbent Barack Obama lost 1st debate against Romney||??????????????????????|
I’ve had a lot going on this week personally and professionally. Most notably was the passing of my uncle JT. So due to those situations, I haven’t had the time to blog about the loss of Ted Kennedy’s seat in the Senate on Tuesday. It was quite a shock, and a huge blow to the Democrats and President Obama’s progressive agenda. The reason this is so major is because the seat was loss in a special election to an anti-health care reform Republican. With that loss, the Democrats’ tenuous “filibuster-proof” Senate majority is gone. The reason for the loss is easy to pinpoint: the lack of enthusiasm and turn-out among Democrats and Independents who want this Congress and President Obama to be bolder.