Sunday, May 19, 2013

Everybody's Fault But Mine

Recently, in the wake of various scandals, President Obama has denied culpability. With the help of White House Dossier's Keith Koffler, here is a brief history lesson:

Oil Prices
“The key thing that is driving higher gas prices is actually the world’s oil markets and uncertainty about what’s going on in Iran and the Middle East, and that’s adding a $20 or $30 premium to oil prices.”
- March 23, 2012
Solyndra
“Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn’t gone bankrupt. Part of the reason they did was because the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry and flooding the market in ways that Solyndra couldn’t compete. But understand, this was not our program per se. Congress–Democrats and Republicans–put together a loan guarantee program.”
- March 22, 2012
Afghanistan 
“When I came into office there has been drift in the Afghanistan strategy, in part because we had spent a lot of time focusing on Iraq instead.  Over the last three years we have refocused attention on getting Afghanistan right.  Would my preference had been that we started some of that earlier?  Absolutely.  But that’s not the cards that were dealt.  We’re now in a position where, given our starting point, we’re making progress.”
- March 14, 2012
Iran 
“When I took office, the efforts to apply pressure on Iran were in tatters.  Iran had gone from zero centrifuges spinning to thousands, without facing broad pushback from the world.  In the region, Iran was ascendant.”
- March 4, 2012
The Economy
“We’ve made sure to do everything we can to dig ourselves out of this incredible hole that I inherited.”
- February 23, 2012
The Deficit: 
“We thought that it was entirely appropriate for our governments and our agencies to try to root out waste, large and small, in a systematic way. Obviously, this is even more important given the deficits that we’ve inherited and that have grown as a consequence of this recession.”
- November 9, 2011
“When I first walked through the door, the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. If we had taken office during ordinary times, we would have started bringing down these deficits immediately.”
- February 1, 2010
The Debt:
“Look, we do have a serious problem in terms of debt and deficit, and much of it I inherited when I showed up.”
- August 8, 2011
“I inherited a big debt.”
- March 29, 2011
Unemployment:
“We inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression, a banking system on the verge of meltdown.  We had lost 4 million jobs by the time I was sworn in and would then lose another 4 million in the few months right after I was sworn in before our economic policies had a chance to take root.”
- May 10, 2011
The BP Gulf Oil Spill 
“In this instance, the oil industry’s cozy and sometimes corrupt relationship with government regulators meant little or no regulation at all. When Secretary Salazar took office, he found a Minerals and Management Service that had been plagued by corruption for years –- this was the agency charged with not only providing permits, but also enforcing laws governing oil drilling.”
- May 27, 2010
Decline of the nuclear stockpile
“Among the many challenges our administration inherited was the slow but steady decline in support for our nuclear stockpile and infrastructure, and for our highly trained nuclear work force.” (This one was offered up on Obama’s behalf by Vice President Biden).
- January 29, 2010
The Election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)
“The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they’re frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”
- January 20, 2010
Anti-Americanism 
“I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust.  Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country.  Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others.  And this has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for collective inaction.”
- September 23, 2009
The Financial Crisis
“We inherited a financial crisis unlike any that we’ve seen in our time.  This crisis crippled private capital markets and forced us to take steps in our financial system — and with our auto companies — that we would not have otherwise even considered.”
- June 1, 2009

To that history list, let's add his remarks on Fast and Furious:

“I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration. When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned a inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued, confirming that in fact Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and the people who did initiate this were held accountable.”

and on the S&P's decision to downgrade America's debt:

Good afternoon, everybody.  On Friday, we learned that the United States received a downgrade by one of the credit rating agencies — not so much because they doubt our ability to pay our debt if we make good decisions, but because after witnessing a month of wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, they doubted our political system’s ability to act.  The markets, on the other hand, continue to believe our credit status is AAA.  In fact, Warren Buffett, who knows a thing or two about good investments, said, “If there were a quadruple-A rating, I’d give the United States that.”  I, and most of the world’s investors, agree. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a problem.  The fact is, we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction.  That was true last week.  That was true last year.  That was true the day I took office.  And we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that the gridlock in Washington over the last several months has not been constructive, to say the least.  We knew from the outset that a prolonged debate over the debt ceiling — a debate where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip — could do enormous damage to our economy and the world’s.  That threat, coming after a string of economic disruptions in Europe, Japan and the Middle East, has now roiled the markets and dampened consumer confidence and slowed the pace of recovery.

In recent times, we'll see, President Obama has spoken similarly:

On the IRS:

"Well, with respect to the IRS, I spoke to this yesterday.  My main concern is fixing a problem, and we began that process yesterday by asking and accepting the resignation of the Acting Director there.  We will be putting in new leadership that will be able to make sure that -- following up on the IG audit -- that we gather up all the facts, that we hold accountable those who have taken these outrageous actions.  As I said last night, it is just simply unacceptable for there to even be a hint of partisanship or ideology when it comes to the application of our tax laws. But let me make sure that I answer your specific question.  I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press. Typically, the IG reports are not supposed to be widely distributed or shared.  They tend to be a process that everybody is trying to protect the integrity of.  But what I'm absolutely certain of is that the actions that were described in that IG report are unacceptable."

Jay Carney, asked if the White House had any knowledge of the Justice Department's seizure of AP phone records:

"Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP.”

Got that? Based on President Obama's tenure, he knows nothing, is responsible for nothing, and, apparently, does nothing. That means he's either: a) the most incompetent chief executive to inhabit the office since Warren G. Harding; b) presiding over a government bureaucracy that has gone completely rogue; c) he actually had a hand in some of what's happened during his presidency, even the last week; or d) Some combination of the above.

So, which is it?

Update: via Powerline, here's a New Yorker fictional version of President Obama's weekly address:

President Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to reassure the American people that he has “played no role whatsoever” in the U.S. government over the past four years. 
“Right now, many of you are angry at the government, and no one is angrier than I am,” he said. “Quite frankly, I am glad that I have had no involvement in such an organization.”
The President’s outrage only increased, he said, when he “recently became aware of a part of that government called the Department of Justice.”
“The more I learn about the activities of these individuals, the more certain I am that I would not want to be associated with them,” he said. “They sound like bad news.”
Mr. Obama closed his address by indicating that beginning next week he would enforce what he called a “zero tolerance policy on governing.”
“If I find that any members of my Administration have had any intimate knowledge of, or involvement in, the workings of the United States government, they will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.




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