Sunday, May 19, 2013

Barack's Brolly And Other Scandals

Barack’s Brolly And Other Scandals

In case you were otherwise distracted this past week, another major scandal wracked the scandal wracked Obama Administration.

No, not Benghazi, nor the IRS.  Not even the AP wiretapping.  This one was so profound, so consequential, and so troubling that I urge people not to read the rest of this post before bedtime.  More particularly, pregnant women and nursing mothers may be advised to step back from the computer screen.

I refer, of course, to the spreading stain of OBI, the Obama Brolly Incident.

What is OBI?  Well, this shameful episode occurred during a joint press conference held in the Rose Garden with Mr. Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  During their remarks, some rain began to fall (no doubt, a heavenly reproach to the President) and Mr. Obama asked the Marines standing guard if they could hold a brolly over Mr. Erdogan’s head.

OBI did not go unnoticed.  Conservatives everywhere were scandalized at this breach of Marine protocol.  Marines don’t hold umbrellas outside.  At least, male Marines don’t.  Female marines are permitted a small discrete black umbrella, but the pair standing guard were clearly male. 

Fortunately for the honor of the service, Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller was right on it “Obama breaches Marine umbrella protocol.”  The New York Post ran a picture of OBI on the front cover.  Lou Dobbs was properly outraged, tweeting “Obama expects our troops to hold damn umbrellas rather than go inside: It’s disrespectful, inconsiderate, classless.”

Even worse for Mr. Obama, a Marines spokesman, approached after the tawdry affair concluded,  referred to Title 10 of the US Code; Marines shall “perform other duties as the President may direct.”  Clearly, this was not just another Obama overreach, but an abuse of power.  I would add my own aside that Mr. Erdogan is a Muslim, so, naturally, Mr. Obama would be especially concerned that he not get wet.  Very typical Obama, I think we would all agree.

I think I’ve given Barack’s Brolly as much attention as is medically prudent for the adult reader, so it’s time to pivot to more conventional political news.   Back to Benghazi, where new committees spring up faster than Charlemagne baptized the Saxons (by platoons) and the frenzy continues to build towards an apotheosis.  It’s big.  How big? Steve King, the distinguished Congressman from Iowa, described it as “ten times bigger than Watergate and Iran Contra combined.”  And Senator Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) went on right wing talk radio to opine “Of all the great cover-ups in history — the Pentagon papers, the Iran-Contra, Watergate and all the rest of them — this … is going to go down as the most serious, the most egregious cover-up in American history……People may be starting to use the I-word before too long,”

So, we are going to impeach this President because American lives were lost abroad?  Well, there’s a first time for everything, and since Mr. Obama seems to be a person with a lot of firsts, why not this?

In a nutshell, here is what we (the rational among us) think we know about Benghazi: a) the State Department didn't give Ambassador Stevens enough money for security, b) Mr. Obama didn't send in troops during attack, apparently because there was concern over the possible success of the operation and addition loss of life, c) the State Department and the CIA got into what we can gently describe as a pissing match over what statements to put out and, d) Susan Rice in specific and the Administration in general made a series of confused and muddied presentations afterwards.  In short, errors in judgment, bureaucratic infighting, and a little spin. 

If those are impeachable offenses, we better not waste our time on things like swearings-in.  Let’s just go straight to the Inaugural Ball so people can trot out their finery, and by February 1, the new Administration, Democratic or Republican, will have surely committed all three sins.

Of course, what we really need, on Benghazi (and on the IRS probes) are serious people conducting serious investigations to determine what errors were made and how to correct them the next time.  There is nothing wrong with naming names, including Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, if the evidence leads in that direction (and we are willing to apply the same standards to all future Administrations.) 

But, we aren’t going to get that, because circuses and scandal mongering and show trials are just too much fun.  One moves seamlessly from four dead Americans to Barack’s Brolly; it’s all part of a great continuum. Once again, we are indebted to Sarah Palin, who posted on Facebook, “Mr. President, when it rains it pours, but most Americans hold their own umbrellas.”

This is the lady who was going to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.  And a party that holds itself out as the serious one. 

Still, not all of last week’s news was bad.  The House voted for the 37th time to repeal Obamacare. And, the FT reported that Titan Arum, perhaps the world’s stinkiest plant, was in bloom at the Chelsea Flower Show.  This little gem, indigenous to Sumatra, just hangs out quietly for years.  It then suddenly begins to grow several inches per day to a height of up to nine feet, flowering for 72 hours and producing umbrella-sized petals (not making that up) that open to a diameter of three to four feet.  To pollinate itself, it has developed the delectable bouquet of rotting flesh (hence, the “corpse flower” nickname) to attract the carrion-eating beetles and flies that pollinate it. Then, having achieved its destiny, it apparently falls over and dies.

Now, that’s an impressive metaphor, don’t you think?


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