Portions of the media that, in large measure, supported the election and re-election of Barack Obama have begun to turn against the President, the V.A. scandal serving as the precipitant. One has to wonder if the turn is genuine, that a somnambulant media is waking up, or the President’s people agreed to a short term beating, given that the adoration would return post haste.
John King reports on CNN that anonymous Democrats are referring to the President as “detached, flat footed and incompetent. In regards to the V.A. King reports that Democrats want the President to “get a spine!” Given a month of nothing to say about the V.A. the President has created his own little corner that he will have trouble getting out of given his penchant to have something to say about nearly everything, facts or the absence of same notwithstanding.
Doyle McManus in the L.A. Times opines that the President is a skilled politician and speaker but a “lousy manager”. He describes his frustration with inaction over the V.A. as “helpless fury.” He recalls a litany of management failures: Shovel Ready, The ObamaCare web site, confusion in the handling of the BP oil spill, the IRS and Benghazi not as failures of policy but as failures of implementation. Mr. McManus is correct as far as he goes. Where he should go is the realization that some policies cannot be implemented in the real world, they only exist as a reality in the West Wing, Congressional chambers and caucus meetings.
Elaine Kamarck, a former Clinton administration official tells McManus that there is “no adequate Communication system, no high ranking aide assigned to monitor how programs were implemented.” Karmack’s comments are telling as she served that role for Bill Clinton. She also gives voice to Presidential priorities and the frequently discussed idea that a Presidential speech or an interview with the selected few will right the ship no matter how treacherous the waters. At least for now that appears not to be the case as the President on Saturday once again expressed his outrage at the V.A. situation; on Sunday he was taken to the woodshed by portions of the media and members of his own party.
The Pittsburg Post-Gazette referred to the Obama response to the V.A. as “vapid”.
Another of the President’s staunch allies, The Boston Globe by way of Jeff Jacoby recalls correctly, the media’s role in President Obama’s election. Jacoby recalls, “In 2008, voters were encouraged by newspaper endorsements, backing him (Obama) because he offered more competence than drama” (L.A. Times). A lack of competence, to those of us who actually have management experience, guarantees drama. We have an awful lot of drama these days! Key Presidential advisor and alter ego Valeria Jarrett, well known for aggressively making her displeasure with the media known in no uncertain terms, is probably having a very busy day.
“I’m a better speech writer than the speech writers, I’m a better policy guy than the policy directors and I’m a better political director than the political directors”; so said Barack Obama. Recent polling asking after the President’s managerial competence saw, on average, 57% saying “I don’t think so.” Ed Kline took the title of his book, ‘The Amateur’, from Bill Clintons’ reference to Obama prior to the 2012 re-election bid. Bill, shame on you, you had a large hand in saving him in the end.
Democrat candidates such as Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky are clearly distancing themselves from the President on issues such as the V.A. We should expect to see much more of the same. They will also have to separate themselves from Leaders Pelosi and Reid who remain insistent on vague references blaming Bush for an issue that Obama made a centerpiece of his election bid six years ago. Despite the fact that whistleblowers are showing up with disquieting consistency the President, Eric Scinseki and Democratic leadership still insist on, ‘if the allegations are true’, when they identified the problems years ago.
The plethora of scandals besieging the White House are one thing, standing up to them is quite another. The V.A. scandal is, in the minds of the vast majority of Americans, not about party and should not be about politics, attempting to make the argument that it is will be viewed, at best, as disingenuous; at worst, brain dead.
If there is an epiphany in the offing for the President it does not appear on the horizon. On Thursday at a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Obama blamed some of his problems on the Founding Fathers’ and the Great Compromise of 1787. According to Dave Boyer of the Washington Times the President said at that event; “there are several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the senate and recapturing the House, one of those problems is the apportionment of two senate seats to each state regardless of population; “obviously” said the President, “the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage.” The President usually intent on Justice appears to not appreciate the motivation for the Great Compromise, intended to protect smaller weaker states from the potential tyranny of the majority. No indication of an epiphany here folks, nothing to see here.
I digress, but this scandal also resolves any doubt about who is at the top of the ‘worst President in modern times’ list. When the Tehran Embassy rescue effort failed Carter went on television and took responsibility for the failure. He stood up, he did not blame the military nor did he blame the intelligence community. For that reason alone he should come off the top of the list. It becomes ever more difficult to even imagine Barack Obama doing the same.