“Blame Bush” has been Obama’s favorite strategy for trying to deflect blame for his mishandling of virtually every challenge he’s faced since ascending to his throne almost one year ago. But is this approach still resonating? I think not. Obama refuses to stop blaming his predecessor for his own shortcomings. The latest blame-fest came with the December 25th pantybomber incident.
Immediately following the Christmas terrorist attempt by Omar Abdulmutallab, the Obama administration sprung into action in an attempt to pass the buck to Bush.
“The idea was that we’d show that the Bush Administration had had far worse missteps than we ever could,” says a staffer in the counsel’s office. “We were told that classified material involving anything related to al Qaeda operating in Yemen or Nigeria was fair game and that we’d declassify it if necessary.”
“This White House doesn’t view the Northwest [Airlines] failure as one of national security, it’s a political issue,” says the White House source. “That’s why Axelrod and Emanuel are driving the issue.”
The official White House blog reflects the Obama strategy to place the blame on Obama’s predecessor. How ironic is it that an official WH blogpost with the title “The Same Old Washington Blame Game” would be so focused on blaming another POTUS for the shortcomings of their own administration?
So, Obama’s approach for responding to the terrorist incident has been to be Not Bush. Erick Erickson pointed this out yesterday in his excellent post titled “9/11 Didn’t Happen: The Obama Administration Tries to Prove George Bush Was Wrong” And, in a Washington Examiner piece, Byron York further illustrates the point:
Obama’s first response to the incident, or nonresponse, did not surprise anyone who followed his 2008 presidential campaign. As a candidate, Obama repeatedly accused the Bush administration of using terrorism to spread fear among the American public for political gain.
“Since 9/11, we’ve had a president who essentially fed us a politics of fear,” Obama said at a December 2007 Democratic debate in Iowa. “We have been governed by fear for the last six years,” he said two months earlier in Philadelphia. “We’re tired of fear,” he said still earlier at a debate in South Carolina.
Obama pledged a new, quieter approach. He would improve America’s image in the world, reach out to Muslims and dial back the fear.
So when a radical Islamist Army officer shouting “Allahu Akbar!” murdered 13 of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, Obama’s response was so low-key it took him days to recognize it as a terrorist incident. And when a radical Islamist Nigerian nearly succeeded in detonating enough explosives to bring down a Northwest Airlines jumbo jet as it approached Detroit, Obama remained silent.
(and thanks to Mr. York for the title idea…)
Obama mouthpiece/DNCC Chair Chris Van Hollen was a bit less vague about his part in the blame game:
“In general, we are facing the consequences of the Bush administration’s failures to deal with al Qaeda,” Van Hollen told Hotline OnCall. “The Republicans have no business in pointing fingers at the Obama administration on terrorism and national security.”
“The Obama administration has been much more aggressive about going after al Qaeda than the Bush administration, which turned its focus from al Qaeda to Iraq,” he added. The Obama admin has “been on the offense in places where the Bush administration had taken its eye off the ball.”
But perhaps the crowning glory of the O came during today’s meetings and brief speech, where he stated that the terrorist incident was “a screwup” by “U.S. intelligence”…and then proceeded to declare that there will be “no finger-pointing”. Eh? Is that not what you just did, Mr. President?
At what point does Obama start accepting responsibility? After we boot him from office (probably not even then)? I have frequently adopted Gerald Warner’s nickname for Obama – “President Pantywaist” – to reflect his utter lack of courage in governing. The presidency is a big political game for President Pantywaist. He does not possess the courage to lead and accept the consequences of failure. Instead, he prefers to take the advice of Rahm Emanuel and “not let a crisis go to waste” – and he leverages these crises politically, rather than worrying about their impact on America. The Heritage Foundation accurately describes Obama’s cowardice in this area of national security and dealing with terrorists, after previously criticizing Bush for his approach:
During the campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama often criticized President Bush for “going it alone” and just this past May, President Obama promised: “I will work with Congress and members of both parties, as well as legal authorities across the political spectrum, on legislation to ensure that these commissions are fair, legitimate, and effective.”
The Obama administration’s decision not to seek congressional authorization for military detention exposes a lack of political courage to stare down the extremists in his own party and do the right thing for American security.
I think we can safely say that Harry S. Truman’s famous sign “The Buck Stops Here” has been replaced in the Oval Office by one stating “The Buck Stops In Crawford, Texas”.