Last week, the title for my blog post was the Absentee President. This week the title should be the Clueless President; or is he? President Obama, who is praised for his intellectual and political capabilities, all of a sudden wants the American people to believe that he was unaware of the major scandals that are eating away at his political capital and perhaps his second term.
It is hard to believe that White House officials have been so disengaged that they were unaware of the Internal Revenue Service scandal or the U.S. Justice Department's secret seizure of Associated Press phone records. The president is either checked out and attending too many fundraisers, or his advisors are primarily focused on the next political event where the president continuously bashes his opposition.
The president and his political team have called tea party patriots terrorists and characterized them as extremists. His rhetoric clearly has seeped into the official regulatory side of his administration and has resulted in an assault on his political opponents.
Obama has a hard time moving beyond his partisan political speeches and sends a clear message of disdain for these conservative groups and leaders. The IRS officials may have taken clues from the president by taking actions to intimidate, harass and purposely delay pro-life, conservative Hispanic groups and Tea Party organizations, while the liberal ones received a free pass.
The next question that the White House needs to answer is how directly and how far up the chain was the president's anti-conservative rhetoric followed-up with clear directives from the IRS.
In the end, the responsibility of government abuse lies with the president. As Obama said in 2012, "it's pretty clear to me that I'm responsible for folks who are working in the federal government and you know, Harry Truman said the buck stops with you." If his words hold true, then he has failed in leading the executive branch.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney mentioned in a press conference that they were also unaware of the U.S. Justice Department tapping into AP reporters' phone records. Even Attorney General Eric Holder denies having knowledge of the incident. Then who is directing the bureaucrats and making decisions, if it is not coming from the top?
The White House may be truly oblivious to the agencies' overreaching and shocking actions, but if Benghazi is any indication of the president's role then the White House may be in real trouble. The administration revised the Benghazi talking points 12 times, taking out references to al-Qaida and CIA's warnings of a threat. The president and his top foreign policy advisers initially tried to convince the American people that the killings of four Americans, including our ambassador, were not a result of a terrorist attack linked to al-Qaida. Their failure to immediately share the truth with the American people raises serious concerns as to whether the American people can believe the administration's statements on any of these other scandals.
The IRS plot is thickening, and many questions remain to be answered on Benghazi and the U.S. Justice Department's actions against the AP. Congress and the media have their work cut out for them in the months ahead. As new information emerges everyday, we may soon find out that the buck did stop at the White House after all.
- Read Pat Garofalo: The IRS Scandal Is About Budget Cuts, Not the Tea Party
- Read Susan Milligan: Obama 'Going Bulworth' Wouldn't Give Him Power Over Republicans
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