Maureen Dowd does a great take on Hillary and Bill Clinton and their remarkable, continuing, and certifiable ability to overcome scandal and insult. Obama? Not so much. Actually, not at all. I hope he reads her collumn and does a u-turn, but I don't think he will.
Of course, given the fact that he's been under constant siege -- possibly not as intense as the siege on the Clintons but more protracted -- he could have handled it better. Most of us couldn't, but he could...
Just four months after his second inauguration, the president is buffeted by gushing investigations, smug and deranged Republicans, and cat-who-ate-the-canary conspiracists. The man who promised in 2008 to make government cool again is instead batting away charges that he has made government “Nixonian” again.
Asked about that on Thursday, Obama might have tried a little J.F.K. wit to dismiss the ridiculous assertion. Instead, he played the pill, as he too often does, huffily telling reporters, “Well, I’ll let you guys engage in those comparisons, and you can go ahead and read the history, I think, and draw your own conclusions.”...Dowd, NYT
Wish I could say Dowd is wrong, but "pill" seems like the perfect description. Even more so because he's on firm ground and really could be fighting back successfully. But no. He's right not to stoop to the level of the right; but he's not right to walk away from telling them off. One serious, well-placed thwack of his flat sword blade would bring equally serious cheers from Americans who are now seriously bored with johnny-one-note rightists -- including some Republicans who would agree with Dowd. What's more ...
... The president should try candid; wistful and petulant aren’t getting him anywhere. The Republicans who are putting partisan gain above solving the country’s problems deserve a smackdown. ...Dowd, NYT
Quoted in the Washington Post today, Lawrence Tribe, law professor and steady admirer and supporter of Obama, seems to get it right.
“He is deeply concerned both that his office . . . never violate its primary duty to abide by the Constitution’s checks and balances and that he nonetheless exercise those powers to the limit as needed to protect the nation and its people,” said Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law professor who has been a mentor of Obama’s for two decades and served briefly in Obama’s Justice Department.
Still, Tribe expressed concern that Obama, himself a former law instructor, “is being a bit too much the constitutional lawyer in some of these matters and not enough the ordinary citizen, sharing the anger that ordinary citizens understandably feel but flexing the muscles that no citizen other than Barack Obama possesses.” ...WaPo
Jonathan Chait thinks Congressional Republicans handled their "investigations" badly and are losing the fight. They never succeeded in making Obama look like a sleaze.
...What we’ve seen so far is that the stories looked most damaging when they were first reported, and subsequent revelations have made them look less, not more, scandalous. The idea that there is a series of “Obama scandals” took its root last week when ABC reporter Jonathan Karl misleadingly claimed to have seen incriminating White House e-mails, which turned out to have been doctored by House Republicans. An independent report of the IRS found no political direction at all led to the agency’s use of a one-sided search program to flag partisan tax-free groups.
Once journalists start to think of an issue as a “scandal,” then they assume it will necessarily lead to progressively stronger evidence of wrongdoing. That assumption isn’t necessarily true. And the sequence of events that made everybody start to think of a few disconnected stories as “Obama scandals” was mainly an odd and somewhat shaky confluence of events.
If Republicans do manage to unearth some significant misdeeds, then playing it cool and rational will help them build the case to force resignations, impeach the president, or wherever they want to take this. The more likely scenario is that they won’t find anything groundbreaking. And then they have to ask themselves how they want to continue to keep the scandal narrative going.
Endless hearings that produce little news won’t do. ...Chait, Daily Intel
The President's party -- the Democrats in Congress -- are pretty well satisfied with the prospect of seeing their Republican colleagues take a huge pie in the face.
House Democrats left Washington on Friday insisting they're not worried about political fallout after one of the most difficult weeks the Obama administration has endured.Democrats know their fate in the 2014 elections hinges to a large degree on Obama's popularity, and they say the president has responded appropriately to a trio of controversies involving the IRS, the Justice Department and the terrorist attack last year in Benghazi, Libya.
The Democrats are also cheering the aggressive approach Obama used in the latter half of the week, saying the feistiness has quelled criticisms that the president is steering from the back seat of his own administration. ...The Hill
In the end, the public just isn't isn't interested in -- isn't even paying much attentiont to -- Republican efforts to embroil the President in scandals. Jamelle Bouie writes in the Post:
... If there’s any intensity of interest in the two scandals, it’s coming from Republicans. Which, perhaps, is why President Obama’s approval rating hasn’t changed much since all three came into the news late last week. Gallup finds Obama with a 48 percent approval rating, a slight decline from his 50 percent approval rating before the scandals entered Washington’s view. Likewise, Rasmussen finds Obama with an identical approval rating, although with higher disapproval (51 percent).As time progresses and these scandals begin to die down, the odds that Republicans will capture some advantage diminish. Moreover, there’s a chance this scandal fever will backfire and harm the GOP’s standing. Already, Republican officials are warning against scandal overreach, and conservative elites are warning that these controversies — even if they’re substantive — aren’t a substitute for an actual plan to govern. ...PlumLine, WaPo