Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Bad Week For the Obama Administration

It has been a tough week for the President. Recall briefly how smoothly things were going for the President from his re-election to just a few weeks ago. In short, the Republicans were on the ropes and many were beginning to speculate that President Obama could be one of the few Presidents to gain seats (or even retake the House) in the mid-term elections during his second term.

That has all changed. A series of scandals continue to mount that jeopardize not just the Presidents 2014 fortunes, but his presidency. Consider the following:

1. Benghazi, Libya will not go away. I felt during the election the President had smoothly (with the help of the media of course) brushed this aside until after the election. No doubt if it had received the sort of scrutiny it deserved and the Romney campaigned had pushed for it perhaps the election would have had different results. Nevertheless, Benghazi is back this time with whistle blowers who claim they were threatened into silence. There remain a lot of unanswered questions and the press appear to be giving it a more serious second look.

2. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has admitted to harassing specific conservative groups based on their names, affiliations, descriptions, and purposes. One should note that the IRS has already admitted guilt so the scandal is not based on any accusations, but on fact. The media seems particularly concerned about this one and many are already comparing it to the Nixon scandal which also involved the IRS. Consider the following from NBC Nightly News:

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Once Brian Williams starts comparing the Obama administrations to Nixon, you know its gotten serious.

3.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been caught with at least 2 months wroth of phone records from the Associated Press. This is, without a doubt, an attack on the media and it is doubtful the media will gloss over this. In the administration's defense, they say it was for the purpose of national security. However, if it can be shown that this has been an ongoing practice of the administration, beyond just these calls, the administration will fall.

4. Now there is small, very small, rumbling about how Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius funding and power over the funding of Obamacare which is scheduled to be implemented in 2014. The CATO Institute is comparing Sebelius to Oliver North and his work in the Iran Contra scandal.

5. Finally, the EPA. The Washington Examiner writes:

Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

CEI reviewed Freedom of Information Act requests sent between January 2012 and this spring from several environmental groups friendly to the EPA’s mission, and several conservative groups, to see how equally the agency applies its fee waiver policy for media and watchdog groups. Government agencies are supposed to waive fees for groups disseminating information for public benefit.

“This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS’ hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government,” said CEI fellow Chris Horner.

These last two scandals brewing are lesser known and are receiving little press at this time, but if they gain, even a little, attention then the administration will appear to be snowballing out of control as one scandal upon another comes to the forefront.

Brett Baier on his daily news show Special Report did a piece on the first three scandals.

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The next few days and weeks might shape the future of this country. These accusations are fresh and we have not gotten at the root of each of these. It could all blow over. But many are beginning to think that at best Obama's second term could come crashing down and he be a lame duck for the last 3 1/2 years of his presidency.  We shall see.

My concern with each of these is that most of these scandals have been building. Tea Party and other conservative groups have been complaining about the IRS since 2009. Attorney General Eric Holder has done some shady things himself (Fast and Furious and not prosecuting the New Black Panthers just to name two) and Obama's continual appearance to be above and not involved in anything negative in his administration. The President always appears to be shocked rather than in charge.

In the end, if the media remains interested, the rose will be off the bloom for President Obama and his administration and five years into his presidency he will finally know what it was like for President Bush for his last 7 years.
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