Bush League

A fellow blogger and likeminded political liberal recently bemoaned the current Benghazi, IRS and Associated Press “scandals” engulfing President Obama, writing:

“Suffice it to say that we are witness to a collision behind some slipshod, misguided or errant acts by officials inside the Obama administration and a take-no-prisoners, draw blood first – ask questions second, facts-be-damned modus operandi by a band of freelance members of the opposition who will seize any opportunity to discredit people and destroy careers in the service of future electoral victories.”

Much as I hate to argue with a fellow Democrat, describing the actions taken by the White House, the State Department, and the IRS as “slipshod, misguided or errant” is like Richard Nixon saying the Watergate break-in was just a prank. It is unreasonable not to assume that the State Department and the White House made a concerted effort to misguide Congress and the press by trying to hide the terrorist responsibility for the Benghazi attack, or that the IRS targeting and obstructing the tax deductibility of right wing organizations and the demands for names of contributors was not politically motivated and probably encouraged by people in the president’s circle, or that the invasion of the AP’s email was not a blatant attack by the White House on a free (albeit irresponsible) press. The president personally may not have been a party to these acts but his subsequent “outrage” is far from enough of an admission and acceptance of his responsibility.

Beyond that, while I agree with my colleague’s description of “the opposition,” it would, to be fair, also serve to describe the modus operandi of some of the left wing’s reactions (including my own on occasion) to various aspects of George W. Bush’s presidency although I will defend most of my “take-no-prisoners” tendencies as largely justified, even if sometimes intemperate.

As I wrote back to him, if all this had been going on (and certainly worse did indeed occur) during W’s time, we’d be screaming bloody murder and defining it as evidence of his incompetence if not malfeasance. I will continue to give Obama the benefit of that particular doubt, but can only conclude, this late in his presidency, that for all his intelligence and good intentions, he has learned nothing thus far (and seems not to care) about how to construct/execute his office, and is simply incompetent as a manager of the executive branch. The current fiascos reach a level of organizational dysfunction not seen since Jimmy Carter.

I agree with my friend’s call for the resignations or dismissals of Attorney General Eric Holder as well as other IRS and White House staffers directly involved, and with the demotion of Valerie Jarrett who, as he so pithily put it, is one of many around the president who “see the fifth face on Mt. Rushmore when they look inside the oval office.”

At the end of the day, this is the president’s own fault due to his inability or unwillingness to deal with the administrative logistics required for the effective execution of presidential leadership and action. In this regard, not even his predecessor was so Bush league.