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Obama, the Know-Nothing President

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Nerd Politico
By Nerd Politico | Nov 6 2013 1:28 AM
It seems to me that Obama's way of handling issues has been lacking the power of authority. He always seems to fall behind the "I didn't know anything, therefore I'm not responsible" tactic.

IRS targeting Republicans
NSA spying on Americans
NSA spying on allied heads of state abroad
The ACA website failure

Should he be taking any responsibility for these things? Is he perfectly justified in using this strategy? Do you believe him?
By bladerunner | Nov 6 2013 1:44 AM
Nerd Politico: Shouldn't it be a comparison? I mean, after all, the last guy was clearly a "know-nothing" president, but what about previous ones? Has he acted differently than other presidents with similar failures?
Nerd Politico
By Nerd Politico | Nov 6 2013 2:10 AM
bladerunner: The way I see it, if past presidents did that, it's just as bad. Sure, the prevalence of the tactic makes it more... normalized, but that doesn't mean he has any credibility in doing this.
By bladerunner | Nov 6 2013 2:24 AM
Nerd Politico: I guess what I'm saying is that your post seemed to imply that he was worse than previous presidents, while I think it's more "par for the course" and, while we may not like that it's so, we should be focusing on making it *not* par for the course.
By TheAntidoter | Nov 6 2013 4:00 AM
bladerunner: I would agree with this assessment.
So this is how it works!
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By RoyLatham | Nov 7 2013 7:54 AM
Nerd Politico: I can't recall Bush using the excuse that all he knew was what he read in the paper. It' fair enough to question Bush policies, but he didn't say he was not involved. The Bernstein book revealed that Bush was intimately involved with the details and with the decision making in governing. I think the difference is that Obama genuinely believes he should not be involved in managing government. He believes his job is limited to ideological guidance and providing the spin needed to win elections. For example, Obamacare is his signature piece of legislation, but he is shocked and amazed that the website was not ready, that enormous numbers of current policies are being cancelled. That would be impossible for any president with even a trace of interest in managing government.

Reagan said he didn't know about Iran-Contra, and I'd give any president one or two of those, But Obama claims to never know anything.

There is another aspect of Obama that is relevant. He had as mentors people who subscribed to the "Rules for Radicals" principles. Obama gave courses on the Rules for Radicals methodology. The key rule is that everything is subordinate to winning elections. Personal attacks and lies are ethical if they lead to the greater good of gaining power. That means we cannot be sure when he is just not involved and when he is deliberately lying to further the good of gaining power. The "if you like your plan ... like your doctor ..." was known from the very earliest studies to be false, but it was also clear that saying it was necessary to get every Democrat on board with ramming through the legislation. so did Obama know it was false or was he just so completely divorced from governing he didn't know? I'm not sure. History will reveal the answer.
By RoyLatham | Nov 7 2013 8:08 AM
Nerd Politico: Add to the list of things Obama didn't know:

The "fast and furious" gun running scandal
The phone record spying on reporters (Rosen, et al)by the DOJ
The Patreaus investigation

Management 101 includes policies that ensures that information works its way up the chain of command.
By wrichcirw | Nov 7 2013 5:09 PM
Nerd Politico: Benghazi - do you seriously expect a POTUS to be able to predict and prevent any and all casualties in a war?

NSA spying on Americans - this was part of the Patriot Act.

NSA spying on allied heads of state abroad - I'm almost sure that other countries are heavily spying on our own government apparatus...ours just happened to have been caught courtesy of Edward Snowden.

Obamacare - far too early to tell what the verdict should be on this program. I'd say 5 years would be a decent amount of time to levy an accurate assessment.
Nerd Politico
By Nerd Politico | Nov 8 2013 11:08 AM
wrichcirw: Benghazi- they were receiving requests for more military personnel for months prior to the incident because it was a dangerous place, and Obama apparently knew nothing about any of those.

NSA- He still claims he didn't know about it.

NSA spying on allied heads of state abroad- He claims he never knew that it was happening.

Obamacare- He claims that he was not informed that the website would have significant problems for launch day, even when his administration did know.
By RoyLatham | Nov 8 2013 5:35 PM
By RoyLatham | Nov 8 2013 5:49 PM
wrichcirw: The problem is with lying about the circumstances of the attack. On the night of the attack, the deputy ambassador told Secy Clinton on the phone that there was no demonstration at the consulate and that it was a planned terrorist attack using mortars and RPGs. The next day the CIA confirmed that there was no demonstration. The Administration gave the story that it was a demonstration over a YouTube video that got out of hand. Obama told the video story at the UN ten days later.

I agree NSA collection of phone connection data is allowed under the Patriot Act. Obama maintained he had no idea it was happening.

Of course there is mutual spying by every major power. The problem is that Obama claimed he had no idea it was going on. That's not plausible. he gets daily intel briefings that undoubtedly contained info about Merkel. The truth that everybody does it would have been less damaging.
By RoyLatham | Nov 8 2013 5:55 PM
wrichcirw: Obama claimed that he thought his claim "if you like your health care plan you can keep it" was true. Yesterday, a video from 2010 emerged in which Obama acknowledged that many people would lose their health insurance. It was in several government reports; what was at issue was whether Obama was aware of the reports. The virtue of all socialist programs is that they destroy all the alternatives, so after five years there is nothing to compare it to.
By wrichcirw | Nov 11 2013 3:27 AM
Nerd Politico: re: Benghazi - Again, would Obama be responsible for knowing about any and all denied requests for additional security in a war zone?

I understand that an ambassador in an embassy is a high value target and that it's terrible that we lost him - however, 1) an embassy is a sitting duck of a target; it is immobile and at a certain point with a very low threshold becomes indefensible, 2) the loss of an ambassador has to be weighed against the gains achieved in Libya.

re NSA: Given your claim about ignorance being true, I'd agree that's a bit of a slight against Obama, especially given his reputation for being analytical.

On the int'l spying specifically, again, this has to be weighed against the fact that it's assumed that all nations are doing this to each other, and all nations will lie about it. The very act of spying necessitates deceit - it should thus come as no surprise that the head of our nation's intelligence apparatus (the POTUS) is a trained liar, and it should be assumed that any and all others in other countries are the same, as well as any and all other GOP candidates for the office.

Again, my statements about deceit are specific to foreign affairs, where it's very much a poker game with nations bluffing and calling bluffs. We got our bluffs called, and so we suffer for it.

re obamacare: Again, given your claim is true, that would seem to be a slight against Obama, although the specificity of your claim makes me apprehensive about taking it to be true.
By wrichcirw | Nov 11 2013 3:38 AM
RoyLatham: re Benghazi - IMHO the points you raise are relatively minor. Yes, it's a screw-up, no question, but in the greater scheme of things, I'd have to ask if it is indicative of a larger problem in Obama's foreign policy, and given the singular nature of Benghazi, I'd have to say no.

re NSA - Agree that given Obama was not aware of how FISA was operating, that would be a ding on his record.

On telling the truth in foreign affairs, I strongly disagree that saying that "everyone does it" would have been less damaging, as nations around the world would then demand that Obama prove his statement. That could either 1) turn into a gigantic clusterfvck of an intelligence catastrophe that would do more to hasten WWIII than just about anything else I can imagine at this point (and only assuming that the US can actually prove the "truth"), or 2) given we can't prove such an assertion, would make the Obama administration look silly and out-of-touch with world affairs.

re obamacare - I haven't been following this closely at all, so I should probably not get into an argument over it. I'll simply maintain that for me, it's too early to tell.
By Pinkie | Jan 13 2014 7:07 AM
wrichcirw: But I like Obama... 's tie. Oh wait. Nvm.
Please excuse me as I'm not super creative when it comes to forum signatures.