The Obama administration has tarnished nearly every major federal agency.
by Victor Davis Hanson • National Review
Many have described the Obama departure from the 70-year-old bipartisan postwar foreign policy of the United States as reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s failed 1977–81 tenure. There is certainly the same messianic sense of self, the same naïveté, and the same boasts of changing the nature of America, as each of these presidents was defining himself as against supposedly unpopular predecessors. But the proper Obama comparison is not Carter, but rather Warren G. Harding. By that I mean not that Obama’s scandals have matched Harding’s, but rather that by any fair standard they have now far exceeded them and done far more lasting damage — and without Obama’s offering achievements commensurate with those that occasionally characterized Harding’s brief, failed presidency.
The lasting legacy of Obama will be that he has largely discredited the idea of big government, of which he was so passionate an advocate. Almost every major agency of the federal government, many of them with a hallowed tradition of bipartisan competence, have now been rendered either dysfunctional or politicized — or both — largely because of politically driven appointments of unqualified people, or ideological agendas that were incompatible with the agency’s mission.
The list of scandals is quite staggering. In aggregate, it makes Harding’s Teapot Dome mess seem minor in comparison. Continue reading
Speaking in Baltimore last week, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander defended the methods his agency uses to spy on the private phone calls and emails of millions of American citizens, but he did appear to give a little ground to critics of the agency when he said he’s “not wedded” to every surveillance program it carries out. “If we can come up with a better way of doing them, we should,” he insisted.
That formulation left unclear the meaning of the word “better,” however. Does it mean the agency would no longer have to violate the privacy of Americans in order to guard the country against terrorist threats? Or does it mean the agency could simply collect the massive amounts of information it now snatches out of the ether more efficiently? Continue reading
This week, President Barack Obama changed his tune on the numerous scandals besetting his administration. Speaking in Illinois, Obama said, “With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.”
But when each of the current scandals broke, Obama acted concerned, said that his administration get find out what happened, and that he would make sure they were not repeated. Now suddenly these same scandals are phony? What happened? Continue reading
In recent days, there has been discussion about how Democrats and liberals, once severe critics of anti-terror surveillance programs when Republican President George W. Bush was conducting them, have been more careful, and less critical, when responding to the massive data collection sweeps that have come to light under President Obama.
“It is jarring to see the left so compliant now that the surveillance has been sanctioned by a Democratic president,” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote Sunday.
Milbank raised a valid point. But perhaps even more “jarring” are the carefully chosen, softer words used by the news media when reporting on the Obama program, compared to the inflammatory and alarmist language used when his predecessor was in charge. Continue reading