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Ed Driscoll

Obama’s Excuse Machine

May 22nd, 2014 - 2:43 pm


The VA scandal “poses an acute threat to the Obama administration because of how much its problems resemble the criticisms of Obamacare itself,” Jonah Goldberg writes at the Corner, in a post titled “The VA and the Limits of Liberalism.” Beyond Obamacare, as Jonah notes, even if Obama hadn’t waded into the box canyon of socialized medicine, “The lessons of the VA would still be a problem for Obama and for liberals generally:”

Why? Because the Democratic party simply is the party of government. It is the party that insists on the nobility, efficacy and intellectual superiority of government. The VA is at the intersection of all the things liberals insist are wise and good and just about government. It is government-run healthcare. It is the tangible fulfillment of a sacred obligation the government has with those who’ve sacrificed most for our nation. It is also the one institution and/or constituency that enjoys huge bipartisan support. The VA, rhetorically and politically, is more sacrosanct and less controversial than Medicare, Social Security, road building, the NIH, or public schools. We are constantly told that we could get so many wonderful, super-fantastic things done if only both sides would lay down their ideological blah blah blah blah and work together for yada yada yada. Well, welcome to the VA. How’s that working out for you?

In addition to exposing the limits of leftism, the VA scandal has also exposed the limits of the Obama spin machine. “This White House handles every failure as a lab project for a juco crisis communications class,” Jon Gabriel writes at Ricochet. “Never thinking to actually fix the underlying problem, they passively hope the press doesn’t report on it. On the rare occasions the mainstream media does dig into the scandal of the week, the administration drops the issue into Obama’s excuse machine:”

What follows is a day-by-day list of how the Obama White House plans its week, starting with “Relevant Cabinet secretary vaguely admits that ‘mistakes were made,’ though no blame is shouldered or assigned,” on Monday, until Jay Carney insists the crisis is “old news” and Barry “blames America’s problems on a recalcitrant GOP obsessed with ‘phony scandals,’” at a fundraiser.

Rinse and repeat until January 2017.

At Reason, Ed Krayewski explores “The Anatomy of an Obama Scandal,” with a similar, if slightly longer written version of the same timetable.

In-between defending his network’s Flight #370 obsession, CNN hack Drew Griffin pretends to be stunned by how the president is approaching the VA scandal:

I was a little caught off guard by what apparently is a disconnect between what’s happening out here in the country and what the president is talking about.  I hate to be curt, but this problem is real; it exists; it really doesn’t have to be studied.  To say that you are gonna now wait for yet again more studies to come back and more fact-finding to come back? I would think that the vets I’ve been talking to wanted much more direct action.  I was a little confused by the president’s remarks today.  At the same time he was saying that he’s known about this problem for years and years and years and it goes back decades, far past into other people’s presidencies, and yet we’re five years into his presidency and the problem seems to be certainly not better, and perhaps even worse.

Even former O-Bot Ron Fournier has dubbed Obama “the Superhero of Excuses,” particularly since a recurring leitmotif of the president is to declare that he first found out about a scandal from the media(!) and declare, Howard Beale-style that he’s mad as hell!!!!! about it — mad enough to say that he’s mad as hell, and then ignore it and hit the links and the fundraising circuit once again:

After James O’Keefe and the late (and sorely missed) Andrew Breitbart teamed up to blow up ACORN like the Death Star, Andrew laid out how he timed O’Keefe’s video to circumvent the MSM’s newscycle and turn the MSM’s kill the messenger instincts against itself, based on knowing the leftwing media far better than its knows itself, accumulated over years of being Matt Drudge’s lieutenant at the Drudge Report.

It’s now blatantly obvious how the Obama Excuse Machine approaches every scandal. Since the Obama White House has become the equivalent of an ancient 8-Track tape stuck in a loop until it wears itself out, why can’t the GOP, and a la Andrew, Acorn, and the MSM turn the Obama spin machine cycle against itself?

Update: Joseph Curl of the Washington Times on “Obama, the Unaccountable President.” The Will Rogers quote atop the piece is absolutely perfect.

Oh, and don’t miss your “Tweet of the Day, @Politifact Just Has Too Much of A Democratic Bias edition.”

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President Obama’s Scandal Checklist

1 Confess you just learned about scandal from media (despite scandal originating in your Administration).

2 Express outrage and desire to work without rest to get to bottom of scandal. Announce that the Administration will thoroughly investigate the Administration.

3 Re-express outrage and desire to work without rest when media asks about new revelations. Claim that you can’t really comment on ongoing investigations.

4 Delay action as long as possible, use minions in Congress to throw up obvious roadblocks, refuse to provide any requested documentation, and when forced, redact so much detail from the documentation that it’s rendered useless.

5 When asked why nothing has happened over the last year, claim in a mocking tone that, “dude, that was over a year ago.”
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great column. I was all prepared to argue, but you (and Gabriel, and Griffin) all hit it right on. Just to clarify, the point of the excuse machine here is to NOT EVEN TRY TO FIX THE PROBLEM. The details of the excuses don't matter in the least, not even if they are true, which they mostly aren't, why bother with true when false will do?

So how does Obambus get away with it, is it affirmative action for the clean and articulate president? Yeah mostly, but the location of that failure is in the MSM. Out in the real world I see very few people who are both informed about and sympathetic to Obambus' behaviors, he lost the real left a long time ago and is only supported by the machine Democrats who are no more real leftists than the RINOs are real conservatives.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
He gets away with it because lefties have absorbed the constantly repeated mantra that of course Republicans/tea baggers/right-wing nut cases are the only problem worthy of acknowledging and therefore finding fault with their guy would empower the enemy.

Given that, there can be no admission that they have gone completely off the rails.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
What Ed Driscoll misses, and what even Rush Limbaugh misses with his incomplete Limbaugh Theorem, is this:

The reason Obama can constantly squirm out of one problem after another of his own doing is much the same reason why he rarely gets serious opposition or pushback, why his approval ratings are constantly 5-10 points higher than a generic president in these same circumstances would be, and part of the reason why he could even win two Presidential elections:

It would be racist to be against the black guy or deny him what he wants.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I keep repeating to my acquaintances that supporting someone for President even partly because black! is itself racist. People who used to flinch away when they heard that now nod in agreement.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...why can’t the GOP, and a la Andrew, Acorn, and the MSM turn the Obama spin machine cycle against itself?"

Because that would be racist. Duh.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Crying Racism! like laying on any other guilt trip, is a rope that wears thin.

I am free of racism, that's why I voted for the better man instead of for some loser just because he's black.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Deja vu all over again. Liberals find Obama to be removed from the VA problem.

June 15, 2010

Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Howard Fineman react to President Obama's Oval Office Address on the oil spill. Here are the highlights of what the trio said:

Olbermann: "It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days."
Matthews compared Obama to Carter.
Olbermann: "Nothing specific at all was said."
Matthews: "No direction."
Howard Fineman: "He wasn't specific enough."
Olbermann: "I don't think he aimed low, I don't think he aimed at all. It's startling."
Howard Fineman: Obama should be acting like a "commander-in-chief."
Matthews: Ludicrous that he keeps saying [Secretary of Energy] Chu has a Nobel prize. "I'll barf if he does it one more time."
Matthews: "A lot of meritocracy, a lot of blue ribbon talk."
Matthews: "I don't sense executive command."
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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