Monday, October 15, 2012

The Bart Simpson Administration

The developing story on Libya has not played well for the Administration.  When the news of the assassination of the US Ambassador first broke the Administration spokespeople, almost to a person tried to claim that the cause of the unrest that caused a mob to storm the embassy at Benghazi was a video of a preview of a nonexistent movie that probably no one in Libya had seen.    That story held for maybe fifteen minutes then they moved (according to most observers) to a more complex story.  The story offered by the Administration's lickspittles evolved into one which said that the attack might have even been an organized effort concurrent with something that happened in September 2001.  Well, duh. Might have even been related to 9/11 - since it happened on (wait for it) 9/11.

So on the weekend talk shows three administration mouthpieces (Axelrod, Gibbs and Clark) argued that a) the White House did not know about the request for additional security and b) this was the province of the Department of State.  That parallels the BS that the Vice President tried to foist on all of us in the VP debate.   For an administration that has shown a remarkable propensity to centralize power, this kind of decentralization argument is almost surrealistic.

So what might happen in the next couple of weeks?  First, the Obama administration might well figure out how to do something in Libya.  That could indeed be an October surprise.   The real story about how the Administration finally got Osama, is not exactly a good example of careful decision making.   But it also seems to be also developing that the Chicago Boys (including Stepanie Cutter) might consider throwing the Secretary of State under the bus.  I suspect that will be a bridge too far but if the Administration continues to stumble they may make that choice.   The cost of dumping Hillary without her consent, could be substantial.    It is unlikely that the most effective spokesperson for Obama (Bill) would zap the candidate who gave his wife a dump.

At the beginning of the Administration, Obama was the anointed one - he even won the Nobel Prize.  But in recent weeks this legendary machine has begun to show its problems while the CEO frequents the links.   So tomorrow what does the President need to do?  Perhaps, he first has to demonstrate that he can think on his feet (instead of trying to engage his belt buckle teleprompter like he did in the first debate).  But when things are going wrong they go wrong and the team which was seen as invincible in 2008 looks increasingly vincible.

Bart Simpson, in an early episode, said, I did not do it and it is not my fault.  That may well be the meme that we see tomorrow night.

Footnote - According to CNN Secretary Clinton said the following about the attacks in Benghazi - What amuses me about this "taking of responsibility" is that it really is nothing close to that.   When executives fail as badly as this, they resign. - "I take responsibility," Clinton said during a visit to Peru. "I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision."

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