|Obama taking questions in the rain with the PM of Turkey.|
A month ago leftists could argue that republicans were picking on President Obama and have some credibility, this week the democrats are joining the chorus of complaints against the Obama administration. Three different scandals, Benghazi, IRS and the AP, are emerging and they all look bad. In case you live under a rock and don’t know what’s happening on Capitol Hill, I’ll briefly breakdown the scandals:
Benghazi: This is the oldest scandal that was reignited last week when communications were uncovered that appear to implicate that the State Department and the White House were involved in changing the talking points shortly after the incident on November 11, 2012.
What’s the big deal? When the ambassador was killed, the White House quickly released talking points indicating that not all facts were known, but that everything appeared to be a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube video. A member of the administration, Susan Rice, was then sent out to repeat these specific talking points on the news circuit three days later. When pressed about the details, everyone from the administration, Hillary Clinton, Jay Carney and Obama, continued the narrative developed by these talking points. They went so far as to create a televised apology and air it across Middle Eastern television station. The exchange about these talking points was an issue during the Presidential debates and ultimately swung some momentum in Obama’s favor after Candy Crowley incorrectly corrected Mitt Romney mid-debate. Questions remain as to who created the talking points, why they didn’t cite terrorist activity initially and why immediate help wasn’t given to the ambassador. The implication is that the State Department and the White House initially knew what happened and lied about it.
IRS: In 2012 the IRS was probed by congress about inappropriately targeting conservative sounding groups applying for 501(c) status. They denied the activity happening at the time, but have recently come forward saying they actually did target conservative groups with extra scrutiny.
What’s the big deal? It almost goes without saying that this is a big deal. Using the power of taxation and additional scrutiny to intimidate political opponents is very dangerous and more like 1970’s Russia than the United States. We do know that the political targeting happened. We don’t know how high up the directive came from and if politics was the driving force.
The AP: On Friday of last week it was revealed that the Department of Justice had secretly tapped 20 individual phones at the Associated Press as well as their phone bay at the White House. The Associated Press broke the story and so far the least has been done about this controversy.
What’s the big deal? The First Amendment, that’s what. The DOJ claims the taps were necessary for national security purposes; however, they have failed to explain why the net was so wide, why multiple locations were recorded and why for so long. The press has special freedoms protecting it from government. Even though this scandal has gotten the least attention so far, this should also be the most alarming.
Individually, each scandal can almost be kept away from the president and explained adequately. In Benghazi, for example, the facts were fluid for a few days. It would be wise to downplay terrorism anyway and especially for political reasons. It’s not illegal to do that. In the case of the IRS, it could have just been the work of a few employees and it could have just been laziness. The AP story could have everything to do with national security and we just might never know the answer there.
However, together the three scandals paint a broad picture of the Obama administration. There are only two possible conclusions that can be drawn from such a mess. 1) Obama and his administration are using their power to manipulate departments and keep the political winds in their favor or, 2) Obama is completely incompetent. Either the stories are true and there is a cover-up in Benghazi, the IRS was politically motivated and the DOJ is abusing its power, or the White House’s story is true that in each case it knew nothing.
If we are to believe the President, then he is not engaged when our country is under attack and he does not know what has happened even shortly after eye witness accounts relate the facts to the State Department. If we are to believe the President, then he only heard about the possibility of the IRS politically targeting people when he read it in the news this week and not when congress brought it up a year ago. If we believe the President, then he has no say and no clue what the DOJ is doing when we are faced with a major national security leak. If we are to believe the President, then he has no control, no say, and no idea what is going on in 3 major departments that report directly to him.
Either way you look at it, the White House has a problem. They either knew what was going on and are criminals, or they don’t have a clue what is going on and are ignorant.