You know things are tough for President Obama when some his biggest fans start taking shots at their guy. Over at NBC News, usually a reliable cheerleader for the president, foreign correspondent Richard Engel has accused the administration of being less "forthcoming" than the Taliban in the Bowe Bergdahl fiasco. The Taliban! And just last week, Engel was unable to name a single nation with which our relations have improved under the Obama administration.
The New York Times editorial scribes recently described the president's big speech at West Point as "uninspiring," concluding it "did not match the hype." And that was before the Bowe Bergdahl controversy and the president's unilateral decision to swap five high-level Taliban jihadists for one alleged deserter. Law experts left and right questioned the legality of the move, and liberal law professor Jonathan Turley actually characterized Barack Obama as "the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be." To borrow from a certain bard, that has to be the unkindest cut of all.
So what's going on behind closed doors at the White House? Sadly, precious few truly know. What we do know is that a man who ran on his competence is making Jimmy Carter look like a hybrid of Bismarck and Steve Jobs.
It was simply stunning to see Susan Rice trotted out to declare that Bowe Bergdahl "served with honor and distinction." Everyone other than Bergdahl's father knew that was almost certainly not true. A lie. Shouldn't Ms. Rice have spoken with a bit of caution after her shameful misstatements about Benghazi? Apparently the Obama gang doesn't put much credence in the adage about experience being the best teacher. Then, to add insult to implausibility, the White House's shell-shocked spokesman Jay Carney tried mightily to defend Susan Rice's laughable claims.
Rice and Carney probably weren't tuned in five years ago when Fox News strategic analyst Lt. Col Ralph Peters said this: "The media has been turning this guy, a probable deserter and certainly AWOL in the combat zone, as some kind of hero." Now that Bergdahl has been released by the Taliban, his former platoon mates are finally free to talk about his service, which was apparently not so honorable. "He violated his oath when he deserted us," said one of them, while another accused Bergdahl of a "very big betrayal."
As for the thugs released from Gitmo, they are not soldiers. These five killers are now enjoying their freedom in Qatar, perhaps savoring a return to the battlefield. The president asserts that the war is winding down, and that prisoner exchanges are customary at the end of conflict. But the Taliban will never stop fighting. What else are they going to do, watch sitcoms and play Candy Crush in the Hindu Kush? Fighting against the West is their reason for living; they sit in the mountains, determined to usher in the return of a barbaric Islamic state to Afghanistan.
President Obama seems to be under the misguided impression that pretty much anyone can be reasoned with, with the possible exception of Congressional Republicans. That inability to recognize evil brings to mind Jimmy Carter, whose ambassador to the United Nations (the same position formerly held by Susan Rice) was the naive Andrew Young. How naive? He referred to the murderous Ayatollah Khomeini as a "saint." Carter also worried that we suffered from an "inordinate fear" of communism, an ideology that killed tens of millions of people. And now, three decades later, the Obama crew has praised the fanatical Muslim Brotherhood and believes we can work things out with the Taliban.
Once again, why are so many monumental mistakes being made inside the Oval Office? The VA scandal is still fresh and now we have this, in addition to the IRS, Benghazi, NSA, and on and on. Is it possible that any administration could simply be this incompetent? Not merely bumbling or wrong-headed, but breathtakingly bad at looking out for the American people.
One person very familiar with the inner workings of the Obama White House offers an explanation. He says the president is fully aware that the economy will remain stuck in neutral, that ObamaCare will be an unpopular mess for years, and that his job approval will stay under water. And therefore, President Obama will simply do what he wants. Full speed ahead, public opinion be damned.
That is a chilling analysis, but how else can anyone explain what's happening on Pennsylvania Avenue? To any sentient person, anyone other than an Obama zealot, the chaos in Washington is embarrassing and downright frightening. Things are so bad that people might be excused if they find themselves longing for a certain peanut farmer.