Op-Ed: Obama's Myriad of Scandals
There is one Washington scandal after another; it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up.
U.S. President Barack Obama seemed unstoppable after his landslide reelection win (332 versus 206 electoral votes) back in November, even though he was presiding over the highest unemployment rate (7.9%) to reelect a U.S. president since FDR (1936). This was an incredible feat, and his goal was crystal clear: win back the House of Representatives for the Democratic Party in the 2014 election which in turn would enable Obama to pass any legislation he wanted. He was off to a good start by dividing the Republicans over the so-called “fiscal-cliff” deadline of Jan. 1, 2013, but eventually, his momentum would slow down, and has now come to a complete halt.
It began with the sensational Benghazi hearing in early May, where previously muzzled whistleblowers testified on the administration’s mistakes before, during and after the terror attack. A couple of days later ABC released a report which revealed that the talking points Amb. Susan Rice used on five Sunday TV shows on the weekend after the 9/11/12 Benghazi terror attack were changed 12 times, removing all references to Al-Qaeda and Islamic jihad.
On the same day as ABC released the report, the IRS admitted, and apologized that it had targeted conservative groups for additional reviews. Groups were singled out based on keywords such as “patriot” and “tea party.” This would be the start of a still growing scandal, with the IRS’ director of Exempt Organizations (the office that targeted conservatives) Lois Lerner was put on paid leave; yes paid leave. That occurred after Lois Lerner stated in front of the House Oversight Committee that she had “not done anything wrong,” and then invoked her Fifth Amendment right to silence, thus refusing to answer any questions from the committee.
Moreover, the head of the IRS Douglas Shulman was reportedly fired, but it turned out he was due to resign a couple of weeks after his termination anyway.
Obama claimed that he found out about the IRS scandal from the news. That is highly doubtful considering Mr. Shulman had visited the White House 157 times during Obama’s first term, far more than any cabinet member.
The scandals did not end there. The Department of Justice (DOJ) was caught spying on AP and Fox News reporters, listening to their phone conversations and reading their emails. The DOJ also accused Fox News reporter James Rosen of being a co-conspirator and at flight risk to justify their snooping.
Earlier this month we found out that the U.S. government has been authorized to seize all of Verizon’s phone records on a daily basis (an estimated 3 billion phone calls a day) and that the National Security Agency’s PRISM program collects emails, video chats, instant messages and more from companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL.
This week CBS News reported that Hillary Clinton’s “State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within its ranks.” The allegations include then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail who allegedly hired prostitutes, a U.S. ambassador accused of going to public parks for paid sex and a security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals.
With all these scandals being revealed in such a short period of time, the Republicans need to capitalize on this opportunity. The problem for the Republicans will be to link President Obama directly to these scandals (which I believe they will be unsuccessful at); however, it may be far simpler than that. The President has claimed ignorance across the board on these issues. He has not explained or addressed any of the scandals besides “I will get to the bottom of this,” or repeated his favorite phrase, “I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.”
The fact is, 9 months after the Benghazi terror attack, not a single suspect has been arrested. Obama still has not revealed who pushed the idea that an anti-Islam YouTube video (that nobody had seen) caused the first assassination of a U.S. ambassador in over three decades. He has not told the American people who denied protection for the slain Ambassador Stevens when he asked for it, nor has he revealed who gave the stand-down order on the night of the attack on September the 11th 2012.
Not a single person has been held accountable at the IRS, no one in the Obama administration has explained what the head of the IRS did at the White House 157 times, the Attorney General Eric Holder (head of the DOJ) has not been fired (despite lying under oath), and even though Obama criticized George W. Bush for intruding on the privacy of Americans, his own administration has vastly expanded the surveillance state.
Obama is either lying to you, or is completely incompetent as Commander-in-Chief. I’m not sure which of the two options is worse.