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Ed Driscoll

Obama Has Learned Nothing and Forgotten Nothing

May 20th, 2014 - 12:52 pm

“When a President Learns Everything on TV,” by nature, this is not a good thing. He’s either a very bad liar or a very bad administrator — or both — as Jonathan S. Tobin writes at Commentary:

The administration’s problem here is not just that the VA scandal is far more serious than even Carney is currently willing to admit and that any action it is currently taking to address the plague of mismanagement and corruption that may have cost the lives of at least 40 veterans while they awaited treatment is too little and too late. As I noted last week, having an absentee president is bad for both the health of veterans and the nation. The president may have gotten away with treating the IRS scandal as no big deal and questions about Benghazi as merely a Republican witch hunt. But the spectacle of widespread corruption at the heart of a government health-care system that led to the deaths of veterans is not one you can pass off as a product of the fevered imaginations of his opponents. That’s especially true when you consider that Rep. Jeff Miller, the chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, wrote specifically to the president a year ago to bring to his attention what was already believed to be a widespread problem involving inefficiency and deceptive practices.

The fact that the White House resorted to what has become its standard second-term excuse for government scandal with a line about the president hearing about it on TV or by reading the newspapers raises serious questions about both his leadership and the intelligence of his staff. After all, surely it must have occurred to someone at the White House that using the same excuse about hearing of it in the media wasn’t likely to work after it had been employed with little success to distance him from the IRS and other scandals. Such intellectual laziness speaks to a West Wing that is both collapsing from intellectual fatigue as well as having acquired an almost complete contempt for both the press and public opinion.

The consequences here aren’t limited to the growing credibility gap that this administration continues to build. It’s bad enough that no one—not even his most ardent supporters—really believe that the president is on top of these issues. But what really stings is that Carney and the rest of the inhabitants of the Obama echo chamber have really come to believe that no one cares whether they are telling the truth or not.

This is a truly damning little video that the Washington Free Beacon assembled yesterday:

“If Barack Obama wants to play Chauncey Gardiner and basically act as if he has no frickin’ idea of what’s going around in his White House, that’s fine by me,” Nick Gillespie writes in response at Reason:

But will his erstwhile defenders at least admit that either he is a know-it-all who is full of B.S. when he pleads ignorance or that he just has no clue about what’s taking place in this City on a Hill already? It’s not flattering to him whichever way you want to go. But at least it’ll be consistent.

“All this apparent unawareness before the fact led Charles Krauthammer to argue on Special Report today that Obama acts like he ‘stumbled upon the presidency’ only to be shocked by how much wrong there really is,” Josh Feldman writes at Mediaite.

In 2008, NRO’s Jim Geraghty spotted a passage in a book by David Mendell titled Obama: From Promise to Power, which helps to explain one aspect of Obama’s worldview:

“[Obama] always talked about the New Rochelle train, the trains that took commuters to and from New York City, and he didn’t want to be on one of those trains every day,” said Jerry Kellman, the community organizer who enticed Obama to Chicago from his Manhattan office job. “The image of a life, not a dynamic life, of going through the motions… that was scary to him.”

As that quote and numerous others spotlight, Obama famously hates the private sector — so instead he went into government, where he’s giving the same appearance of a leading passive life, going through the motions, putting in time, and awaiting the big paydays to come, starting in January of 2017.

In contrast, this is a much less significant gaffe, but it’s telling in its own way. During his fund-raising speech yesterday, Mr. Obama blurted, “I come from the land of Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln thought infrastructure was a pretty good idea. That’s part of why we got a Intercontinental Railroad system.”

As Moe Lane quips in response, “Yeah, we also had adequate schooling, once upon a time:”

Which is why I know that it was a Transcontinental Railroad.  And since we’re bringing up American history, I feel compelled to note that the only reason why the Pacific Railroad Acts** passed in the first place was because half of the Democratic party at the time was engaged in an armed insurrection against the legitimate government of the United States of America.

Three years ago, Mr. Obama was making that same gaffe, as his critics illustrated:

As Moe adds, “You would have thought that somebody would have sat him down and gently explained the difference between ‘trans’ and ‘inter,’ but apparently nobody in the Democratic party cares enough.” That can happen when you’re not especially worried about being called out on your gaffes by your fellow party operatives posing as journalists.

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Obama governs as president the way he either was told or assumed he would be able to govern as president, which was simply the way the Democrats had cocooned him is entire political life up to 2008. They gave him credit for things he never did in order to burnish his image, and shielded him from any tough decisions or voters, in order to keep him as a blank slate to swing voters.

Obama assumed, or was led to believe, that's how the presidency would work (combined with the intimidation factor of the race card being employed to either silence critics or write them out of the political conversation). The fact that the landscape changed after the 2010 midterm failed to cause Obama to adjust to the new realities as Bill Clinton did after 1994 -- in Obama's mind, he was elected to govern to executive fiat and others were to take the hits for hard decisions, and dammit, that the way he's going to keep governing. So when something like the VA scandal comes up, which threatens to have a wider group of people asking questions than just core conservatives, Obama isn't going to change his ways, and if it becomes a long-term problem for the Democrats, it will be up to Valerie and the two Davids to scramble to find a solution before November.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bumper stickers I'd like to see:

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
SEND SHINSEKI HOME

SHINSEKI LIED
WAITING VETS DIED

OBAMA/SHINSEKI
KILLING THE VETS AL QAEDA DIDN'T

That last one's a little harsh, but then I remember what the anti-war crowd said about ME when I was serving over in Iraq...
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Benghazi could possibly be written off as an odd duck in a dangerous corner of the world.
IRS could be written off as involving a complex tax code.
Now, mind you, I don't believe either of them are that, but I'm not a Low Information Voter.
The VA scandal is different. It involves our veterans, after a decade of war. Problems with the VA have been well known for a long time. Dear Liar was even briefed on it before his first inauguration. Long wait times at a government agency? Who among us hasn't had dealings with the DMV. This scandal is something everyone can relate to. Which potentially makes it more damaging.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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