The incompetence of the Obama administration has had its shining moments — the Obamacare rollout, the Benghazi coverup, and Hillary Clinton’s email server prominent among them. This month, a New York Times profile of Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has again reminded the American people of the failures of the current president.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said such scandal is the natural result of Barack Obama’s staffing choices. This “is what happens when you put van drivers and campaign flaks and failed novelists in charge of foreign policy and national security,” he declared.
Cotton was barely scratching the surface. Throughout his eight years, President Obama has elevated to high office a long list of incompetent people, or people who revealed themselves to be utterly unsuited for the public office assigned to them.
Here is PJ Media’s list of the 13 most egregious examples of failure in the Obama administration. This is by no means an exclusive list, and who knows what our president will cook up in his last few months.
13. Benjamin J. Rhodes
Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter without any foreign policy educational experience, military experience, or international experience, became Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications and speechwriting. The New York Times titled its profile “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru.”
As “master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign policy narratives,” Rhodes revealed his contempt for Congress, the press, and the public, along with his manipulation of the media on the Iran nuclear deal. As PJ Media’s own Claudia Rosett noted, the article was “a case study of his ‘narrative’ of lies concocted to grease a path for Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement — the unpopular, murky, amorphous and deeply dangerous Iran nuclear deal.” She pertinently asks why Obama hasn’t fired Rhodes yet — what a great question.
12. Tommy Vietor
Tommy Vietor went from press van driver to National Security Council spokesman and special assistant to the president. In a 2014 interview, Vietor let slip that he considered the spin around the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi (you know, when the administration told us a terror attack was a protest about a video) “the most mundane thing,” and admitted that he might have been the person who changed the word “attacks” to “demonstrations” in the official administration talking points.
Next Page: Eric Shinseki (Veterans Affairs) and Kathleen Sebelius (Health and Human Services)
11. Eric Shinseki — the VA Scandal
Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is very much the reverse of Rhodes and Vietor. A retired four-star general and a wounded combat veteran from Vietnam, he failed to improve wait times at the VA. As news reports broke that veterans died waiting for care, Shinseki became the natural target of blame. Nevertheless, Shinseki is neither the beginning nor the end of the problem.
As PJ Media’s Bryan Preston argued, this general “just took the fall for what the bureaucrats below him were doing.” Bureaucrats gamed the system for all it was worth, and they were not forced to resign, but Shinseki took the fall for everything. How disgraceful!
10. Kathleen Sebelius
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is perhaps best remembered for the absolutely disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website in 2013. President Obama’s signature healthcare achievement, ironically known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has put providers out of business, caused thousands of Americans to lose their coverage, and driven up the costs of health care.
David Wright, director of the Office of Research Integrity at HHS under Sebelius, described his job as “the worst job ever” when he resigned in 2014. “I knew coming into this job about the bureaucratic limitations of the federal government, but I had no idea how stifling it would be,” he declared in his resignation letter.
Next Page: Lois Lerner (IRS) and Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security).
9. Lois Lerner
When allegations surfaced that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had purposefully stalled the tax exemptions for conservative non-profit groups, director of the Exempt Organizations Unit Lois Lerner became a central focus in the investigation. But the IRS repeatedly refused to turn over Lerner’s emails to the public.
At first they claimed the server had been wiped, and the emails lost. Then they acknowledged there was a backup, but still refused to provide them. Lerner even had a second email account she used to conduct IRS business under the name “Toby Miles.”
Nevertheless, the Department of Justice announced last October that they would not be filing any criminal charges. Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik wrote that “our investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment, and institutional inertia,” but no IRS employee thought the handling of tax exemptions “was motivated by political bias, discriminatory intent, or corruption.” I’m sure Tea Party Patriots disagrees.
8. Janet Napolitano
Former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano resigned in July 2013 to become president of the University of California system. As PJ Media’s Bryan Preston wrote, her tenure at Homeland Security “has been marred by scandal and dishonesty.”
Napolitano infamously declared that the U.S.-Mexico border is “as secure as it has ever been,” citing bogus statistics. I’m sure Trump supporters would have something to say about that. In 2009, her department released a report depicting conservative political activists and war veterans as potential terrorist threats. Two of the secretary’s hand-picked executives resigned amid a sex scandal in 2012, and Napolitano even dismissed radical Islamic terrorism as “man-caused disasters.”
Next Page: The Treasury and the Justice Department?
7. Timothy Geithner
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner determined where the “stimulus” money would go. His decisions lost billions on auto bailouts for failed companies, wasted even more billions on “cash for clunkers,” and produced economic confusion by supporting failing companies at the expense of strong ones. This crony capitalism and financial mismanagement contributed to the Obama economic slump masquerading as a “recovery.”
6. Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder’s list of dishonors is long and impressive: being censured by the House of Representatives, withholding subpoenaed documents, lying about a failed gun-walking caper in Mexico (also known as “Fast and Furious”), and most importantly failing to enforce the law (his constitutional duty) on everything from immigration to Obamacare.
Oh, and Holder illegally billed the government for his private use of a federal Gulfstream jet, snooped on Associated Press reporters, gave exemptions to “unbiased” IRS officials, and made extensive use of the race card. He also used not one, not two, but three email aliases to avoid public scrutiny. Here is a list of his many indiscretions — what a rap sheet! He resigned last July, leaving the office to Loretta Lynch.
Next Page: Who wants to be Obama’s Labor secretary?
5. Hilda Solis
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis flew below the radar until her resignation in 2013. In February 2014, allegations surfaced that Solis had attempted to hide something big — she had given people close to the leader of the International Union of Operating Engineers free private jet travel. Failing to disclose these in-kind donations is illegal, and Solis never disclosed them.
This makes her role masquerading as “America’s Jobs Counselor” before Romney’s address at the 2012 Republican National Convention that much more ironic.
4. John Kerry
Well before he became secretary of State, John Kerry profited from the Obama administration. While he was helping to craft Obamacare, the Massachusetts senator bought stock in a pharmaceuticals company which would benefit from the law. He also bought shares in a medical device manufacturer — a company whose stock rose 71 percent when the bill passed. Finally, Kerry and his wife sold off their investments in United Health and Wellpoint, two of the healthcare providers which ended up losing big from Obamacare.
Kerry’s lies about his military record helped to weaken his presidential candidacy in 2004, but Obama tapped him as secretary of State nonetheless. Recently, evidence surfaced that Kerry sent Hillary Clinton classified information in an email in 2011.
Next Page: The Environmental Pollution Agency
The litany of scandals at President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would fill many volumes — and likely will launch quite a few books — but for the purposes of this list, PJ Media will focus on two notorious characters, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and current Administrator Gina McCarthy.
3. Lisa Jackson
Lisa Jackson led the EPA during the Deepwater Horizon spill, and became notorious for using an email address with the fictional alias “Richard Windsor.” Last March, a federal judge attacked the EPA for avoiding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Mark Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation, which focused on such false email accounts, which Jackson allegedly created to delay “the release dates for hot-button environmental regulations until after the Nov. 6, 2012, presidential election.”
When Jackson resigned in December 2012, no charges were filed. Instead, she joined Apple. No word as to whether or not Richard Windsor remains unemployed.
2. Gina McCarthy
When Jackson left, Gina McCarthy took over. The scandals under her watch just kept ballooning. Last May, it was discovered that an EPA employee downloaded 7,000 porn files, and watched them — for two to six hours during the work day. This employee was not fired.
Another employee was accused of sexually harassing 17 women. Supervisors “were made aware of many of these actions and yet did nothing.” That “nothing” consisted of promoting the alleged harasser to a higher position within the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security, where he went on to harass six more women.
Oh, and I guess it would be good to mention the Animas River spill in Colorado which the EPA caused last August. Yes, the Environmental Protection Agency led a team of contractors and workers to bust open a defunct mine in San Juan County, Colorado, thereby unleashing three million gallons of toxic sludge into the Animas and San Juan rivers, which flow from New Mexico and Utah. The American Action Forum estimated the spill may cost up to $27.7 billion.
But never mind. That’s not enough — the EPA also had to propose the most expensive regulations ever last fall. I guess they never learn.
Next Page: The very worst of all…
1. Hillary Clinton
At last, we reach the worst of all — at least when it comes to consequences for the public. The former secretary of State not only stored classified email on an insecure server (thus making it much more likely that foreigners would be able to hack sensitive intel), but she also lied and continues to lie about it. As more and more details came out in the past year or so, the scandal has appeared gravely criminal, but media outlets continue to misrepresent the situation.
Clinton’s scandals go far back before the Obama administration. She learned how to hide the truth from the public from Richard Nixon. She and her husband profited from his political position, over and over again. First, there was the Whitewater scandal (now being rewritten by the media). More recently, the Clintons made bank from a uranium deal with Russia, which made a Russian company one of the world’s largest uranium producers.
Then there’s the Clinton speeches to wealthy corporations, the transcripts of which Hillary refuses to release to the public. Bernie Sanders suggests that these would reveal Clinton’s crony capitalism, and many conservatives are inclined to agree. While it may be better to have a candidate who wants to enrich a few companies at the expense of the American taxpayer than an outright socialist who wants to derail the economic system, this kind of corruption rightly draws censure from liberals and conservatives alike.
Clinton may look better when compared with The Donald, but she is still an unmitigated travesty. The one silver lining is that she is the Democrats’ travesty, and not our own.
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