Musings on the Thrilla in Hofstrilla: FLOTUS Floutations, Culture of Leaking, and More
Oh yes, the President actually showed up for this debate. His on and off again performance is reminiscent of his approach to his own job. Between over a hundred rounds of golf, watching Homeland on Saturdays while pretending to work, nonstop fundraisers, getting his make-up on so he can deliver his eye candy kneeslappers on The View, look serious on Letterman, and rap on that former SNL guy’s late night show, who would have time to be anything more than be a part-time POTUS? No wonder FLOTUS flouted debate rules when her husband came through with an apparently zealous performance, she likes her man when he is actually manning up.
But the President’s high points of indignation which may have scored him well in the debate come at a price. He sternly and with darkened brow scolded anyone who would accuse him of playing politics with Benghazi. The next debate will play that act out to an embarrassing end. Here are the logical choices for the President when pressed next week by the Governor on the fatal debacle. On the topic of explanation of the nature of the attack: (1) Declare that on September 12 he knew it was a terrorist attack and that UN Ambassador Rice was without authority to say what she did. (2) Declare that he did not know with any certainty about the attack and that Ambassador Rice was simply following what intelligence was reporting. (3) Assert that he personally felt it was a terror attack, did not attribute any technical meaning to that phrase and still does not believe it was an organized terrorist attack. (4) Say he made a mistake in trying to portray the killings as the result of a mob uprising based on a video trailer that came out in early July on youtube. None of these are good options and of course Obama will change the topic at some point during his long-winded explanation to say that Romney should not have scolded him on September 11. (If you are one of those Ohio students noted by Hot Air here, http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/18/video-hey-lets-ask-young-obama-supporters-what-they-think-about-benghazi/, then you can forget reading the rest of this post.)
(4) is the one he should do, but this president seems to lack the courage. Moreover, (4) would even more significantly damage his presidency because such an admission would highlight the fact that he would rather try to detract from the failure of his Mid-East policies than disclose the truth, even to the extent where he and senior Administration officials, such as the Secretary of State, were subordinating our right to free speech to irrational PC sensibilities.
(1) is difficult because then he looks like he was keeping information from the public when he repeatedly said the situation was not clear in various venues and it looks like his own officials are just doing whatever the hell they feel like doing by saying it was about the video or it was an organized terrorist act. But this is not a real possibility because clearly he could have instructed his subordinates to correct the record.
(2) is inconsistent with his indignation of Tuesday night when he affirmed that he did call it a terrorist act and is contrary to reports that our intelligence knew it was a terrorist attack the day after. http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/27/intel-quickly-saw-signs-of-al-qaeda-links-in-consulate-attack/. Moreover, no one in the State Department (including CIA) was affirming that a mob formed outside the consulate prior to the attack.
(3) is practically unavailable now given all the evidence that has come out and moreover smacks of opportunism now that the real story is out. (I guess when you walk down the road of sanctioning leaks to boost your profile, you open up the possibility that you create a leaking culture in the community and the result: you get leaked on.) I suppose he could admit to it being a terrorist attack, but then he has to admit to failure in stopping Al Qaeda. (I don’t see that the President has ever formally announced the act as due to organized terrorists.)
Another way is suggested based on Ladka’s conversation with the President after the Hofstra debate.
that he wanted to be deliberate, that he did not want to make a mistake based on misinformation. He wanted accurate and true information because any action he took in any part of the world, including the Middle East, would have dire consequences. http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/on-the-record/2012/10/18/what-president-obama-secretly-told-town-hall-participant-about-libya-attack-after-debate#ixzz29gSjQpAe
This is another squirrely attempt to avoid the fact that his own Administration affirmatively fingered the youtube video. American Crossroads does a very good job of putting together the problem for the President here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znVqyfxfbRQ.
I guess we cannot discount an option (5) — deus ex machina, i.e., the moderator declares the topic out of bounds and saves the President a la Candy Crowley style. (See Charles Krauthammer’s take on this here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-great-gaffe/2012/10/18/38ce0d18-1954-11e2-bd10-5ff056538b7c_story.html.)
As this post is getting too long, I will not go into detail on the next point, but it is a separate one: Why did our Ambassador lack appropriate security and why were requests denied to enhance security? We are beyond the silly lefty meme that Congress cut funding — State Department officials said they had enough funds, and indeed security in other areas has now been enhanced. There is no real good answer here for the President, but he should be forced to give an answer in the debate, and if declines “please proceed Governor” — Rommey can say exactly what he wants with a viewership of over 60 million Americans, no media spin, no filter, and this is what he should say: “The President has failed in many respects economically. Now it has come to light that his Administration has failed in foreign policy and in basic security for our diplomats abroad. This has more than just financial consequences. It brings life and death consequences. As President, I will not underestimate our foes. I will protect all Americans around the globe. And I sure as hell won’t fly off to a campaign fundraiser should I ever hear of tragic news of the murder of Americans.”