Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk declaring, “the buck stops here.” Barack Obama’s updated version would be a Jay Carney bobblehead that mutters, “I would refer you to the Treasury Department so as to determine the status of said buck.”
Six years late, the press is discovering that Obama has little to offer but blame. In today’s National Journal longtime AP reporter Ron Fournier dubbed our chief executive “the superhero of excuses”:
Rather than change Washington’s culture of polarization, zero-sum game politics, and spin, Obama surrendered to it almost immediately. On health insurance reform, government debt, and loosening immigration laws, Obama shares blame with obstinate House Republicans for fumbling potential compromise. On climate change and gun control, Obama knew (or should have known) his rhetoric was setting up voters for disappointment. Rather than roll back Bush-era terrorism programs that curb civil liberties, Obama deepened them.
This White House handles every failure as a lab project for a juco crisis communications class. Never thinking to actually fix the underlying problem, they passively hope the press doesn’t report on it. On the rare occasions the mainstream media does dig into the scandal of the week, the administration drops the issue into Obama’s excuse machine:
- Monday: Relevant Cabinet secretary vaguely admits that “mistakes were made,” though no blame is shouldered or assigned.
- Wednesday: President Obama claims that he only learned about Crisis X “from the papers,” that he’s “mad as hell,” and will “get to the bottom of it.”
- Thursday: When Jay Carney is asked for more details he mocks the reporter and refers the others to some executive sub-department.
- Friday: Carney insists that he “couldn’t possibly comment further until the investigation is over” on the second Wednesday of November. Incriminating documents released at 6 p.m.
- Saturday: GOLF!
- Following Monday: White House launches messaging campaign on an unrelated feel-good initiative. Michelle posts photo on Twitter, leading to three days of press debate on her daring belt/shoe combo.
- Following Thursday: Jay Carney mocks further questions about Crisis X since it is “old news.”
- Following Friday: At a fundraiser, Obama blames America’s problems on a recalcitrant GOP obsessed with “phony scandals.”
A Republican administration would never get away with such a transparent and clumsy PR strategy. It only works for Obama because the press wants to believe his excuses.