The myth of the good tsar

DAYTONA BEACH -- The avalanche of scandals threatening to engulf the Obama Administration cannot be wished away, no matter how many smiling diversionary speeches the president reads to us from his teleprompter.

An element of desperation is beginning to creep into the various Administration efforts to direct attention away from the scandals and toward issues which the president can use to rebuild his faltering national reputation.

Certainly the Obama Administration’s pathetic attempts to address the crises directly would be comical if the issues were not so serious.

Certainly the Obama Administration’s pathetic attempts to address the crises directly would be comical if the issues were not so serious.

Consider the following topics:

Fast and Furious

The government never ran guns to the Mexican drug cartels except when we did but we were always planning to track them except that we couldn’t and we somehow failed to tell the Mexicans about it and anyway the Attorney General is not going to reveal all of the details of the operation to the Congress, even if he is held in contempt.

Benghazi and the video

It was the video, not terrorists -- except for all those heavily armed terrorists. Despite the four attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi which preceded the assault the security measures taken to protect the diplomatic buildings in Benghazi were appropriate, just not good enough to keep the people inside safe.

Naturally we had to order the best trained and equipped military in the history of the world to stand down lest some of them get hurt while rescuing the diplomats.

Meantime, we’ll concoct a fake story about a video offensive to Muslims to keep the American people quiet and wait ‘til after the election to decide what really happened. Anyway, it all happened a long time ago and the whole thing never caught traction with the people, so let’s move on.

Eavesdropping on the Press

Why that would be a terrible thing to do and very bad policy. Certainly the Attorney General never heard anything about this except when he discussed the matter with senior DOJ officials and then signed the request for a warrant to secretly access the records of a respected journalist, suggesting that he is a co-conspirator in an attack on our national security.

Of course, the AG never intended to prosecute the journalist, he only lied about the journalist to get the judge to approve the warrant because the first two judges asked to issue the warrant had refused.

Oh, by the way, we also tapped the phone lines of some 100 Associated Press journalists to find out who was leaking security information to the journalists except that we had already proven who the leaker was and were very very angry at the AP because they broke the story the day before we were planning to reveal it ourselves.

No big deal. Really.

IRS vs. Conservatives

A couple of rogue IRS officials in Cincinnati secretly orchestrated a nationwide campaign against conservative organizations, especially those with the words “Tea Party” or Patriot” in their name to be sure that they did not qualify for tax exempt status based on the percentage of their social, nonpolitical activities.

But it’s only right that left-wing outfits were exempt from this scrutiny and the president’s half-brother received a tax exemption for his “charity” in a matter of weeks.

Oh wait, the orders to do this came to “the rogues” in Cincinnati from Washington but no one knows from whom. The IRS official in charge of the program professed her innocence and then took the fifth, swearing that she had done nothing wrong. Yeah right! 

The fellow who had been head of the IRS while most of this went on and who visited the White House a record 157 times had never heard of any of it and neither had his successor (The IRS leadership was also unaware of the $50 million the IRS spent on lavish conferences over the past two years – the spokesman could not even be sure of the amounts spent).

Eventually we’ll throw someone under the bus for this but we have to identify someone high enough up to be believable but certainly not the President or anyone important to him.

We’ll do the best we can to stonewall the Congressional hearings and admit as little as we can. Well, mistakes were made but it can’t be so bad, after all, Republicans probably do the same thing, right?

NSA intercepts all communications

So it turns out that the National Security Agency has a secret program enabling it to get a secret warrant from a secret judge to use its secret capacity to conduct secret intercepts of all telephone, internet or cell phone communications between Americans and foreigners and reportedly also has access to credit card, banking and other financial information. Of course, we only list who calls whom and for how long.

We would never listen in on a conversation involving an American. Trust us! But truly, if you think this is something, wait until we finish the colossal facility the NSA is building in Utah.

When ready, we will be able to intercept, record, catalogue, analyze, categorize and judge the security importance of all the electronic communications in the world.

But don’t worry, Congress has authorized this program and we still have to go to that secret judge to get his secret authorization to do these things.

All of you Republican officials making calls to your mistresses have nothing to be concerned about. We would never ever use this ability against Americans.

Really we wouldn’t!

There have been other lesser scandals and there are probably more to come. But all of the excuses offered by the Administration have the unmistakable tone of the culprit before the judge, swearing, “I was never there. If I was there I didn’t do it. And if I did do it I was drunk at the time.”

They also all have one more thing in common: They insist that President Obama was unaware of, uninvolved in and had no role in the decision-making in any of these debacles.

Indeed, his spinmeisters proclaim, Obama is such a fine fellow that he could never have countenanced anything of the sort. Not only are the excuses and the spin pure unadulterated crap, they return again and again to the fallacy of the good Tsar.

Indeed, his spinmeisters proclaim, Obama is such a fine fellow that he could never have countenanced anything of the sort. Not only are the excuses and the spin pure unadulterated crap, they return again and again to the fallacy of the good Tsar.

The myth is that the all-powerful emperor is somehow unaware of the evil done in his name and that could he but be made aware, he would set things right.

It was never true. Do not be taken in by this.

For better or for much worse, Barack Obama is president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world. He not only sets the tone for his administration, he makes the policy, establishes the parameters for action and works through his cabinet and his close advisors to ensure that the Executive Branch acts as he wants it to.

To suggest that Obama was unaware of the crises and programs which led to the debacles above is not just to say that the man is unbelievable derelict in his sworn duty, it is patently absurd. The absurdity lies in the nature of the federal bureaucracy.

One of the first things you learn as a bureaucrat is to cover your (expletive). No federal official would ever initiate programs, talking points or authorize measures like those above without clear written authorization from above to do so. Like the tendency to protect the president, the imperative to protect yourself goes all the way to the top.

One of the first things you learn as a bureaucrat is to cover your (expletive). No federal official would ever initiate programs, talking points or authorize measures like those above without clear written authorization from above to do so. Like the tendency to protect the president, the imperative to protect yourself goes all the way to the top.

Each of these issues is replete with political ramification and risk. Decisions of this magnitude would only be taken at the top. Whether he crossed every “t” or dotted every “I,” Barack Obama approved and orchestrated these things, but from a distance, possibly indirectly and in a way to give him what he hopes will be plausible deniability.

Obama and his administration are presently following the old Clinton policy of “modified limited hangout” in hopes that the most damaging aspects of each problem will remain hidden. He may succeed, as he seems to have done with Fast and Furious.

But however this turns out, however crowded it may get underneath Obama’s bus, one can only hope that the American people have come to see what the country would be like if Obama were able to regain control of both houses of Congress in 2014, giving him an unassailable base for the massive extension and overreach of government power that he really wants.

Stanley Escudero
June 8, 2013
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Short Bio

The Guidepost By Stanley Escudero
Stanley Escudero is a retired career diplomat, businessman & native Floridian, who lives in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, with his wife, Jaye. He served as chairman of the Volusia County Republican Executive Committee in 2011-2012. Escudero was appointed to the Daytona State College Board of Trustees in 2015, By Gov. Rick Scott. Escudero, writer of the 'The Guidepost' politcal column since 2010, is a member of the inaugural Class of 2017 Headline Surfer Hall of Fame. All news content copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, which may not be duplicated or re-published in whole or in part without advance approval of the publisher. Headline Surfer® is published by award-winning journalist Henry Frederick.