The most disturbing aspect of President Obama’s “phony scandals” broadside is that it wasn’t a slip of the tongue. If it was, we might cut Mr. Obama some slack. Who among us hasn’t said something on the fly and instantly wished we could catch our words in midair and snatch them back?
But President Obama wasn’t ad-libbing. He made the “phony scandals” charge not once but three times – within a few days. And Jay Carney, the president’s Baghdad Bob in the White House pressroom, said it too. So no one slipped up here. This was part of a political strategy that had been given some thought.
Which raises a question: What political genius came up with this idea?
Mr. Obama used to blame his predecessor, George Bush, for just about everything from the BP oil spill to the crummy economy which he made sure everyone knew … he “inherited.” After five years, that dog won’t hunt anymore. Even the most loyal followers of the current president are tired of hearing that tune. So now Team Obama comes up with this new catchy phrase – phony scandals – to make sure we know that whatever has gone wrong with the economy still isn’t his fault.
“With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals,” the president said, “Washington has taken its eye off the ball.”
This raises a second question: What phony scandals does the president have in mind?
Was Fast and Furious a phony scandal? You may recall that Fast and Furious was a federal program that allowed the sale of a few thousand guns to suspected thugs tied to Mexican drug gangs. The feds planned to trace the guns into Mexico, but, oops, they didn’t. And eventually two of the guns turned up at the scene of a shootout in which a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed.
How about Benghazi, where four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, were slaughtered? That happened almost a year ago and we still don’t have all the facts. The president said those responsible would be brought to justice. They haven’t even been caught.
Is that a phony scandal?
What about the abuse of power by the IRS that involved the targeting of conservatives, with the possible involvement of a White House political appointee? Back in May, President Obama said this: “”If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way, then that is outrageous.”
How did we go from outrageous to a phony scandal in just 2 ½ months?
And what should we make of the Justice Department’s decision to spy on journalists at the AP and Fox? Or the NSA program that “mines data” on just about all of us – without, until recently, our knowledge?
Are those the phony scandals concocted by Republicans to thwart the noble Mr. Obama?
This president will say just about anything to shift blame away from himself and onto Republicans for the weakest economic recovery since World War II. None of it could possibly be his fault: Not ObamaCare, which has led employers to turn full-time workers into part-timers to save money; not chronically high unemployment; not the $7 trillion dollars he added to the national debt, with precious little to show for it; and not his obsession with income inequality and spreading the wealth instead of endorsing policies that would actually boost economic growth.
And for a long time he’s gotten away with his sorry performance, thanks in part to clueless Americans who unfortunately are allowed to vote.
But his biggest ally has always been, and still remains, the so-called mainstream media, an institution that is supposed to hold the powerful to account, but has shown little interest in the scandals. They never cared much about Fast and Furious or Benghazi, writing them off as partisan witch hunts. The IRS story caught their interest, but only for a short time before it fell off their radar screen. And you don’t read or hear much anymore from the MSM about spying – on Americans in general or journalists in particular.
Americans are losing faith in government. We can thank Barack Obama for a lot of the disillusionment. As Peggy Noonan put it in her Wall Street Journal column: “This White House is careless with the reputation of government. They are a campaigning organization. Not a governing one.”
And how does President Obama deal with this serious problem. He hits the campaign trail shouting PHONY SCANDALS. This doesn’t even qualify as leading from behind.