Sunday, June 23, 2013
Scandals and Secrets
Well, to some skeptics, the Obama Administration is on the verge of going into a “tailspin.” Suddenly an administration that had ‘nary a scandal during the whole first term, is now mired in them. Of course it all depends on how you define “scandal”. Dictionary .com defines scandal as a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, or an offense caused by a fault or misdeed. It does not define it as taking the blame for circumstances that already existed before you became President.
I am elder enough to remember President Nixon’s Watergate scandal. I was in high school, and did not understand the whole story, but I was told that the President “lied to the people.” A two-bit burglary mushroomed into a scandal that eventually made a President resign from office. I recall the arms for hostages incident back in the1980’s, and I remember seeing a lieutenant colonel take all the heat for the wrongdoings of the Reagan Administration. I always said that this scandal was much worse than Watergate ever was….but like Teflon it slid off of Mr. Reagan, and even to this day, it’s not mentioned very often.
The Clinton administration scandal involved sex, of course. I recall the grandfatherly CBS correspondent, Bob Schieffer reading the graphic sexual descriptions in front of the Supreme Court….even I was embarrassed for him. This lead to Mr. Clinton’s impeachment….but today he remains one of our most popular Presidents.
My take on the Obama scandals is that they are a distraction. The President was elected on a clear mandate from the people on last November. He was and is on a clear path to getting things done that he was blocked from during his first administration. Things like immigration reform, Obamacare (which the Republicans have tried to block at least 39 times), gun control, jobs, sequestration, etc., etc, etc. Now ALL of a sudden these, so-called scandals take precedence.
The Republicans are still talking about Benghazi. A very unfortunate and very tragic incident, where we had four diplomats, to include an ambassador, to get killed. It’s true that the administration may have awkwardly tried to explain what happened on the Sunday talk shows…..but I think that it hardly qualifies as a scandal. A U.S. Embassy was attacked. Even if security had been “beefed up”, as we are told was requested….the embassy would have still been attacked. Probably with the same consequences.
A Senate subcommittee spent three days investigating the IRS, and why they had closely investigated tea party related groups who wanted 501c status. Investigations by the Internal Revenue Service are nothing new. The IRS has investigated and audited groups and individuals since it came into existence. But these groups…some with undisguised intent to overthrow the government….feel that it’s unfair that they were singled out. What is not mentioned in the news is that none of these groups , as far as I know,were denied non-profit status. What is mentioned and shown by the the media is footage of these rhythmically challenged IRS employees trying to learn the “Cupid Shuffle”. (my wife and I laugh every time we see that video) My question is….where is the scandal?
The last one that I will mention is the fact that the National Security Agency (NSA), listens to our phone calls and monitors our emails. (although the President assures me that they don’t…..I may differ with him on that) My take on that is …..”DUH”….that’s why they are called the National Security Agency. I am certain that every time that I pass by NSA on my way to Fort Meade, that they know who I am. Again…this is nothing new. The Bush Administration signed The Patriot Act after the tragedies of 9-11, authorizing NSA to monitor phone traffic. No one seemed to have a problem with it then. I doubt seriously if the Obama administration is using NSA any more aggressively. If he is, it has worked, because it has kept the terrorists at bay….and besides my phone calls are pretty boring.
The recent admission by a federal contractor named Edward Snowden that he is the person who leaked the details of the NSA workings has not helped matters any. As of this writing he is running around the world seeking asylum….from the USA. The question is, is this a black eye for the administration, or is this just some guy who has broken the law?
I’m sure this will play out like an episode of the old sitcom “Run Buddy Run” in the upcoming weeks. Is this Snowden guy a traitor or a whistleblower….who is seeking asylum? Time will tell.
In local good news:
My friend Tom Coale officially entered the race for Delegate for 9B. Gridlock between Bethesda and Columbia kept me away from his announcement, but we wish him luck. I was able to attend Janet Siddiqui’s announcement that she will seek to be the newest member of Team 13. She will be seeking the delegate seat currently held by my buddy Guy Guzzone. Guy announced at his annual pizza party that he will be seeking the state Senate seat, currently held by my friend Jim Robey, who has announced his retirement. 2014, is going to be a busy year!