You got that right, Mr. President, you might even say it is damn inconvenient.
by George Landrith
President Barack Obama, during an interview on the Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart responded to a question about his inaccurate and even misleading communications after the Benghazi attack, by saying: “If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.” Not optimal? Really? Let’s review a few other things that are “not optimal.”
It was not optimal that after our embassy and consulate in Libya and those of our allies were attacked multiple times in the six months before the fateful and deadly attack on September 11, 2012 that the Obama administration did not realize that was a warning.
It was not optimal that despite requests for additional security before the attack, the Obama Administration said no. It was not optimal that despite it being the eleventh anniversary of the original 9/11 attacks, no extra security was provided. It was not optimal that despite warnings from the Libyan government that they feared an attack and numerous warnings on terrorist websites, the Obama Administration did nothing.
It has not been optimal that in aftermath of virtually every terrorist attack — “underwear bomber,” the Fort Hood shooter, an several others. — the Obama Administration has minimized the true nature of the attack, and has refused to identify it as organized terrorism. It is not optimal that the Obama Administration reflexively minimizes acts of terror as merely a “lone wolf” attack, an isolated incident, workplace violence, etc.
It is not optimal that on the first morning after the attack on Benghazi, Barack Obama again skipped his national security briefing. It is not optimal that Obama has skipped more than half of all his national security briefings since he took office. It is not optimal that instead of attending his national security briefing, Obama did a quick CBS interview to accuse Mitt Romney of shooting first and aiming later. It was not optimal that Obama jetted off to Las Vegas for a political rally and fundraiser. It was not optimal that while on the plane and while traveling to a political event, Obama accused Romney of playing politics. It is not optimal that the lazy and stupefied mainstream media didn’t see the irony in any of that.
It was not optimal that on September 13th, two days after the attack, Hillary Clinton identified an offensive internet video as the root cause of the attack.
It was not optimal that the next day, September 14th, Obama and Clinton spoke at a brief memorial service at Joint Base Andrews where within a few feet of four flag draped caskets, they again condemned the video and angry protestors as if either had anything to do with the well organized the terrorist attack.
It was not optimal that on Sunday, September 16, five days after the attacks, Obama’s Ambassador to the UN and a Obama Cabinet member, Susan Rice, appeared on five Sunday television news programs repeatedly saying with certitude that the attacks were “spontaneous” protests motivated by anger to an internet video. It was not optimal that she repeatedly said that the attack “was not a pre-planned, premeditated attack” by al Qaeda affiliated terrorists. It is not optimal that she was spewing these lies even though the administration knew none of it was true.
It was not optimal that on September 17, the Obama State Department officially and specifically said it would not apply the “terrorist” label at that time.
It was not optimal that on September 18, Obama appeared on the David Letterman Show and continued to blame the video and promote the angry mob yarn, “Here’s what happened. You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character, that is an extremely offensive video directed at Mohammed and Islam, making fun of the prophet Mohammed. And so this caused great offense in much of the Muslim world. But what also happened was extremists and terrorists used this as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the one, the consulate in Libya.”
It was not optimal that on September 20th, Obama appeared on a forum on Univision and when asked about the terrorist attack characterization, he responded, “We are still doing an investigation. There are going to be different circumstances in different countries. So I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information.” It wasn’t optimal that no one in the shiftless press asked Obama why if he didn’t want to speak until he had “all the information” was he and his minions were telling everyone it was protest angered by a YouTube video.
It wasn’t optimal that on September 24, Obama appeared on The View television show to be “eye-candy” — to use his words — rather than meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other world leaders while the Middle East was in flames.
It wasn’t optimal that on September 25, when Obama spoke to the UN, he continued to blame an non-existent protest and an obscure internet video. It wasn’t optimal that Obama was more vigorous in his condemnation of the video than he was in the assassination of four American diplomats.
It isn’t optimal that Obama has silently pulled from his standard stump speech the line that “al Qaeda is on the run.” And it isn’t optimal that Obama’s desire to continue to use that disingenuous campaign line through election day was the real reason that he was less than optimally candid about the attack.
It isn’t optimal in a free democratic society that the mainstream media rallies around a political figure rather than the truth. It isn’t optimal that the media is scurrying to find every reference Obama has made to the word terror, but completely ignores the larger context and the fact that Obama consistently blamed an offensive video and protestors — telling us none of it justified attacking and killing diplomats — as if that was even the issue.
It is not optimal to have a president who plays politics with national security, shades the truth, and misleads the public — all to promote his reelection campaign.
It is not optimal to have a feckless, dishonest, and corrupt mainstream media that views its job as justifying everything a failed president has said and done while viciously attacking his opponent on such empty and vacuous themes as Big Bird, dogs on vacation, binders, etc.
It is not optimal to have historically high unemployment for a record number of consecutive months. It is not optimal to have a record number of Americans on food stamps. It is not optimal to have household incomes dramatically lower during the last four years. It is not optimal to have a fourth straight year of a trillion dollar deficit. It is not optimal that we have a president who can’t pass a budget even when his party controls both Houses of Congress. It is not optimal that the national debt has exploded to more than $16 trillion. It is not optimal that the president whispers to the Russians that he will have “more flexibility” after the election. It is not optimal that Iran is closer to the bomb.
Mr. President, you are right — when you are running around the country “spiking the football” and bragging to anyone who will listen that “al Qaeda is on the run,” it is not optimal when an American consulate is attacked and burned to the ground and Ambassador Chris Stevens, and embassy personnel Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods are brutally killed by a group of al Qaeda affiliated terrorists. Yes, Mr. President, that is not optimal — not optimal at all!
To be perfectly blunt, Mr. President, your entire presidency has not been optimal.
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George Landrith is the president of Frontiers of Freedom, a public policy think tank devoted to promoting a strong national defense, free markets, individual liberty, and constitutionally limited government. Mr. Landrith is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was Business Editor of the Virginia Journal of Law and Politics. In 1994 and 1996, Mr. Landrith was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District. You can follow George on Twitter @GLandrith.