Sunday, June 9, 2013

President Obama’s lost year

The year is quickly slipping away, and for President Obama, it is beginning to seem like a lost year. His administration is besieged by controversies, and the severity of them is likely determined by which political party a person belongs to.
There is a lot of smoke surrounding these scandals, but there is also some fire. The Benghazi situation grew out of the deaths of four Americans in Libya last September that was the result of a terrorist attack.
Since then, the administration’s handling of the event has remained controversial. Though presidential supporters believe this is old news being rehashed by Republicans for political gain, the president really has nobody to blame but himself for its lingering.
The president claims he has referred to this event as a terrorist attack since the beginning. However, less than a week after the attack, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice did multiple media appearances blaming the attack on an anti-Islamic video that caused inflamed passions in that area and not a terrorist attack. This contradiction has led to much confusion that has not been cleared up yet.
Rice, who at one time was considered a possible successor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, appears to have fallen off the edge of the earth. She has kept a very low profile, and what media appearances she has made has been with friendly members of the fourth estate.
If the president did believe this was a terrorist attack from the beginning, all he had to do is take a straightforward approach with the American people. He apparently did not do that and the story continues to drag out months later.
All he had to do is say the deaths were a terrible tragedy and clearly state it was an act of terrorism. He could have pledged to do all that was possible to track down those who were responsible. He also could have emphasized that he will look at what went wrong in his administration to guarantee this will never happen again.
However, he did not really do that. He did say some of those things, but it was not with the emphasis and action needed to end the story. If he had, there would have been some political fallout, but it would not have been enough to sway last year’s election. He failed to trust the common sense of the American people, and it has come back to bite him.
Of course, there are other controversies, too. The IRS scandal probably resonates with the public more than any of these scandals. This is because we can all relate to it. We all understand the immense power the IRS has, and if it is misused, it can do damage. Any person who has ever opened their mailbox to find a letter from them during non-tax season can attest to how scary that can be.
An Inspector General determined the agency used its power to target conservative groups trying to get non-exempt status.
It does not matter if the president had direct knowledge of the situation. People are already skeptical of our government, and he is the head of it. If the scandal continues to unfold, he will take heat.
And finally, there has been controversy regarding the government’s heavy-handed approach to scrutinizing the Associated Press and other media. The government went as far as to name Fox News reporter James Rosen as a criminal co-conspirator in one situation. Though the public rarely has sympathy for the media, the government’s actions here deserve intense scrutiny.
If they will do this to the media, won’t they do it to you and me?

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