Obama's Politics of Punishment

Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013 11:47 AM

By Bradley Blakeman

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The president, faced with yet another self-created economic crisis of sequestration, has embarked on a strategy of punishment of the people for his own failures.
 
Let’s remember that according to reporter Bob Woodward sequestration was the president’s idea. Obama wanted to use cuts to his own military as a tool to bring Republicans to agree to further tax increases without the need to agree to spending cuts.
 
The president in advance of sequestration being enacted ordered the agencies of the Executive Branch to make sequestration cuts felt to the people. Instead of reassuring citizens that he and his administration would make sure sequestration would cause as little negative effects to their lives, he did the opposite.
 
The fact is that sequestration is a cut in discretionary budget growth by 2 percent. There are no baseline cuts to the budget, just cuts in growth. You mean to tell me that the president cannot manage a cut in the growth of government, yet the American people have had to do just that during these past five years as payroll taxes have gone up, housing prices have fallen, and gas is over 100 percent higher than when Obama took office?
 
The president was fine with his secretary of Homeland Security telling the American people that because of sequestration they could expect longer TSA lines at airports and that criminal illegal aliens would be released. Obama was fine with his education secretary going before cameras stating erroneously that teachers have been let go because of sequestration.
 
The president himself embarked on a strategy of the politics of punishment by closing the White House to public tours blaming the United States Secret Service for cuts that had to be made due to sequestration. This is an out and out lie. As someone who served three presidents and most recently was a member of President George W. Bush’s senior staff who worked closely with the White House Social Office, Secret Service, and the White House Visitor’s Office, I can tell you that there is no way the Secret Service made this decision.
 
The White House wanted to cause noticeable and immediate ramifications to sequester. They wanted to press to cover it and wanted the American people to have a real example of sequester that impacted them. Shameful.
 
I can tell you that President Bush closed the White House to tours after 9/11/01 but did so with deep regret that it was necessary. When he agreed to the closure he did so with the directive that it be reopened ASAP once security measures were reviewed.
 
How is the president able to deal with a $3.6 trillion budget or a $16 trillion debt when he is incompetent to figure out a way to keep the White House open to public tours?
 
The vacations the president and the first lady took on the eve of sequestration cost taxpayers millions and millions of dollars in planes, helicopters, security, staffing, lodging, etc. There is no sacrifice on the part of the president and his family; it is only the people who must sacrifice. It is only the people who must be punished.

If I had gone into the Oval Office and told the president that because of “budget issues” the Secret Service was closing White House public tours, he would have had the director of the United States Secret Service on the phone and it would not have been pretty. The fact is that would never have been necessary because the Secret Service would never make that call because it is not theirs to make.
 
Instead of the president backing down on his “man who cried wolf” strategy with regard to the pain felt by sequestration, he has now doubled down on it by threatening to cancel the iconic White House Easter Egg Roll. The White House has sent invites out to members of Congress and four family members to attend the Easter Egg Roll with the following disclaimer:
 
“Finally, by using these tickets, guests are acknowledging that this event is subject to cancellation due to funding uncertainty surrounding the Executive Office of the President and other federal agencies. If canceled, the event will not be rescheduled. We will notify you if there are any modifications to this event.” 
 
The truth is that the majority of the costs associated with the logistics and administration of the White House Easter Egg roll is covered by donations from corporations. There are little direct costs for the White House. Hundreds of volunteers are called upon to cater to the 30+ thousand kids and adults who are mainly invited because they connected to the Obama’s by service, friendship, etc.
 
The politics of punishment is the height of arrogance, incompetence, and contempt for the people they serve. Punishing school children who sold cookies and cakes to get funds to travel to their nation's Capitol to see government in action have learned a lesson in government dysfunction.
 
They came to Washington, D.C., to tour the White House as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and instead got to look at the “People's House” through the black iron bars of a 11-foot-high fence.
 
Students will not remember what they saw in Washington, D.C., as much as they will remember forever what they did not get to see and why.
 
Mr. President, tear down your “wall” that prevents the public from touring their house.
 
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
 
 
 
 

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