by Victor Davis Hanson
In Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, he ran to the left of Hillary Clinton as a moral reformer. Obama promised to transcend the old politics and bring a new era of hope-and-change transparency to Washington. Five years later, those vows are in shambles.
True, the murder of four Americans in Benghazi has become a mess of partisan bickering. But the disturbing facts now transcend politics. The Obama administration -- the president himself, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice,
The problem is not just that such scapegoating was untrue, but that our officials knew it was untrue when they said it -- given both prior CIA talking-point briefings and phone calls from those on the ground during the attacks.
One theme ties all the bizarre aspects of Benghazi scandal together -- the doctored talking points, the inexplicable failure to beef up diplomatic security before the attacks and to send in help during the fighting, the jailing of a petty con artist on the false charge that his amateur video had led to attacks on our consulate, and the shabby treatment of nonpartisan
There was an overarching pre-election desire last year to downplay any notion that al-Qaeda remained a serious danger after the much ballyhooed killing of Osama bin Laden. Likewise, Libya was not supposed to be a radical Islamic mess after the successful "lead from behind" removal of Muammar Gadhafi. Facts then had to change to fit a campaign narrative.
As the congressional hearings on Benghazi were taking place last week, we also learned that the
Instead, groups with suspiciously American names like "Patriot" or "Tea Party" prompted
At about the same time as the Benghazi and
Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications in the Obama administration, is linked to the doctoring of the Benghazi talking points. He also happens to be the brother of
Unfortunately, such relationships are not rare with this administration. The head of
And there is more. The
Apparently, in the logic of the Obama White House and the Washington media, there is nothing improper about wives dispassionately reporting to the nation on what their husbands are doing, or brothers adjudicating the news coverage of their own siblings.
Last month, the congressional architect of Obamacare, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced his plans to retire -- in part because he feared his legislative child would become "a train wreck." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who shepherded the bill toward passage, has echoed that worry.
Democrats are panicking because before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is even fully implemented in the midterm election year 2014, it appears neither affordable nor protective of patients. That reality was long ago foreseeable -- given that Obamacare passed on a strictly partisan vote, with a number of questionable legislative payoffs to skeptical fence-sitting Democrats, and even after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who helped ram the bill through the House, admitted that, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."
What is the common denominator in all these second-term administration embarrassments? "Hope and change" is fast becoming the 1973 Nixon White House.
It's 1973 All Over Again | Politics