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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Boston Globe Op-Ed Shows A White House In Panic Mode

By Susan Duclos

An editorial over at Boston Globe, written by John Sununu, describes the latest mistakes attributed to a White House and Obama's reelection team and operatives, in panic mode:
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for President Obama, one of those stretches where everything seems to go south at once. The economy is soft, his poll numbers are down, and Europe has the markets on edge; Romney is even beating him in the money race. What was once hailed as personal confidence — or condemned as arrogance — is long gone. Panic has set in, and it’s making Team Obama do strange and disturbing things.

In Wisconsin, the result was merely a bit of comic relief. Fearful of making a personal appearance in a losing cause, Obama couldn’t even bring himself to phone it in. Instead, he packed the power of the presidency into a 95-character tweet endorsing Tom Barrett’s challenge to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Barrett, a plainspoken former congressman, is far too nice to speak the truth: Thanks for nothing.

Next came a more pronounced gaffe: Obama’s statement at a press conference that “the private sector is doing fine.” Panic can make anyone say crazy things, but blurting out irrational statements isn’t exactly ideal for a president of the United States.

Mistakes, costly to Obama's reelection campaign but not damaging to the country until Obama operatives decide to distract from everything else with a mission to "burnish" Obama's national security credentials by disclosing "highly classified information."

Washington without leaks would be like watching the Weather Channel for more than 10 minutes: monotonous and repetitive, with very little new information. But exposing national security secrets has always been a sensitive issue for both parties. When filmmakers were given special access to details of the Bin Laden raid, the protests were mostly Republican. When a Pakistani doctor was imprisoned because his identity was exposed in a New York Times article sourced to administration officials, the concern became bipartisan. The most recent leaks involve highly classified plans to undermine Iran’s nuclear program — and appear to have come directly from the White House. That has most everyone in Congress calling for an investigation.

Unfortunately, America’s chief law enforcement officer has big problems of his own. Attorney General Eric Holder is already facing contempt of Congress charges for failing to turn over documents related to a dubious federal anti-gun-running operation. Now, rather than appointing an independent counsel to investigate the national-security leaks, he’s handed responsibility to two political appointees. The same Democrats who demanded an independent counsel in the Valerie Plame case during the Bush administration have gone strangely silent.

Grilled last week before a Senate Committee, Holder awkwardly proclaimed, “I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that the president has absolute confidence in me.” The only thing that could have made that statement more damning would be if the president had tweeted it.

All that happened over the last few weeks, but today is Monday, a whole new week and already headline news is shaping up to be another bad week for Obama as we see that vulnerable West Virginia Democrats are distancing themselves from Obama and the Democratic party itself, for fear that links to the party could damage their reelection chances.

Democratic hopes of wresting control of the House of Representatives from Republicans after having control stripped from Democrats in the 2010 midterms by margins not seen for 70 years, is fading away.

Senate Democrats, knowing their is a real possibility of losing control of the Senate in November 2012, are balking at Obama's push for increasing taxes and are wanting to address reducing the deficit.

The most tempting option for some Democrats would be to extend the Bush tax rates temporarily to give Congress more time to work on a broader deal, which is what congressional Republican leaders have proposed.

Extending all income tax rates for only one year would undercut the Democratic leadership’s plan to use their imminent expiration as leverage to move Republicans to accept some tax increases.

Some Senate Democrats in safe seats have even gone so far as to privately propose allowing all the Bush tax rates to lapse to maximize their bargaining power with Democrats.

Democrats in Republican-leaning states blanch at this idea. They do not want to have to explain an across-the-board tax hike to constituents when economic growth is sluggish and unemployment is high.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D), who faces a 2014 reelection race in Arkansas, the state that saw the biggest shift to the GOP in the 2008 presidential election, says he has not decided whether it might be necessary to extend all the Bush-era income tax rates.

Retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is holding fast to his position that tax rates should not be raised on any income brackets, and retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) says that is his position as well, though he appears more flexible on the issue.

“We shouldn’t raise [rates] on ordinary income,” said Webb. “If you listen to what Warren Buffett really says, people at the very, very top make most of their income off of capital gains and dividends and not ordinary earned income. If you really want to rebalance it, you should tax money that comes from profits on accumulated wealth.”

Those are just a sample of what Obama's new week is looking like.

Then we have hints of possible upcoming bad news, like the anticipated Obamacare ruling from the Supreme Court, where some have noticed that indicators from a couple liberal leaning Justices seem to point towards the High Court striking down the individual mandate and the intense debate is whether or not to strike down the entire bill.

In her ACS remarks, Ginsburg suggested that she might be on the dissenting side of the case. “I have spoken on more than one occasion about the utility of dissenting opinions, noting in particular that they can reach audiences outside the court and can propel legislative or executive change,” said Ginsburg, in the context of a 2007 pay discrimination case.

Then we have the continuing blowback from Obama's decision to grant amnesty to 800,000 illegal immigrants in an end-run around Congress, where they would be granted work permits indefinitely, when headlines from the New York Times are blaring "Many American Workers are Underemployed And Underpaid" (NYT changed that headline to "Lost in Recession, Toll on Underemployed and Underpaid.")

This is being referred to as "Totalitarianism" by Investors Business Daily.

URL shows the original headline:

Team Obama's panic mode has caused missteps, mistakes, gaffes and bad decisions and with continuing bad news each and every week as we have seen since he started his official campaign relaunch, it is bound to get worse.