An administration when faced with scandal has a choice. 1. Root it out and take responsibility or 2. Circle the wagons, cover it up, and thwart any and all attempts to bring those responsible to account.
President Obama ran on a pledge to have the most open, accountable, and transparent administration in our nation's history. This is what the CATO Institute reported just months into Obama’s presidency on April 13, 2009:
“President Obama promised on the campaign trail that he would have the most transparent administration in history. As part of this commitment, he said that the public would have five days to look online and find out what was in the bills that came to his desk before he signed them. It was his first broken promise, and it’s the promise that keeps on breaking. He has now signed 11 bills into law and gone, at best, 1 for 11 on his five-day posting promise. The Obama administration should deliver on the Web-enabled transparency he promised and post bills for five days before signing.”
Breaking material promises at the very beginning of an administration sets the tone of contempt that leads to scandal. Add to this the arrogance of the president who in his first year of governing reminded all including Senator McCain that “elections have consequences.” This was done in order to set the stage for what would be his governing style.
By President Obama setting a tone at the very beginning of his tenure that “there is a new sheriff in town” and that he will do things his way and on his terms and on his time table wiped out any hope of the bipartisanship he promised and emboldened the White House staff and Executive Branch to bully all who stand in their way. Arrogance and entitlement are the main ingredients to scandal and Obama was providing all the necessary ingredients.
Even before the Supreme Court unanimously rebuked the president on his unconstitutional acts of appointments to the NLRB or the president over-reach in the Hobby Lobby case, The Washington Post, so fed up with a scandal-ridden Obama administration, finally reported the obvious this May:
“Forget ideology for a moment. Whether you are liberal or conservative, the Obama presidency’s parade of miscues is jaw-dropping. In this administration we’ve had the Fast and Furious debacle, the murder of four Americans in Benghazi due to insufficient security, the Internal Revenue Service scandal, the bungled Obamacare rollout (not to mention the law’s other unintended consequences), and the Veterans Affairs disaster (made worse by the specific warnings given to the current administration in 2008 that the waiting time data was unreliable).
There have been few if any consequences for those directly involved in scandals, any one of which would rival the Bush administration’s handling of Katrina and collectively which reflect the most widespread failure of executive leadership since the Harding administration.
What are the lessons to be learned here?
Yes, this president and his closest aides are the most negligent managers of the federal government in our lifetimes. But the policies they favor set themselves — and us — up for failure. It’s not just a new set of leaders that is necessary. Even the best executives would be unable to anticipate and prevent all the failures and monitor all the scoundrels in the federal government. That is why the best chief executive would begin figuring out a systemic way to devolve power and responsibility back to states and localities. Then, perhaps, what the federal government must do (e.g. national security) it can do well.”
When a president tells the American people he learned about scandal from the press and then tells the public he will root it out and then does an about-face and calls it a phony scandal and holds no one accountable — it renders the president as feckless. His complicity at worst and incompetence at best emboldens those around him and near him to engage in wrongful actions against the public interest.
Had the president been earnest in his pledge to be the most open and transparent administration and had he worked within the parameters of executive power instead of around it — he would not be in the mess he is today.
By being the complete opposite of what he said he would be invited the scandals that paralyzes his presidency and damages his ability to govern and hurts his legacy.
Obama has not learned that scandal begets scandal. And, it is too late for him to turn things around as he has doubled down on his defiance and transference.
Obama is the lamest of ducks.
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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