“Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.”…
What made Bush’s accolade clunk so loudly? Why do we remember it years later? Because that single, maladroit phrase captured so much that had gone wrong with Bush’s presidency. He praised incompetent managers instead of firing them, and he seemed cheerfully clueless about what was happening on the ground.
The Obama administration, which had few serious setbacks during its first term, is now engulfed by them: the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the unraveling story about Benghazi, Libya, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the casual (and ignored) red line in Syria, Iraq’s disintegration after America left abruptly, al-Qaida’s resurgence, the secret waiting list and falsified data at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Taliban prisoners swap. The president’s defenders have explanations for each of them, but the problems are cumulating.
Several themes are emerging. The question is whether they will congeal into a clear, negative image of Obama and his presidency.
One obvious theme is that Obama, like Bush, is a poor manager. He doesn’t pay attention to crucial details, surrounds himself with sycophants and doesn’t hold anyone accountable….
That brings us to the second theme: the White House maintains an arms-length relationship with the truth. The press, so docile during Obama’s first term, now smells deceit and has begun doing its job: questioning the administration.