by Jules Witcover
One consequence of presidential nominee Mitt Romney's loss last November was an internal autopsy on the reputation of the
Romney's dismissive reference to "the 47 percent of Americans" he claimed were captured by liberal government bribes was widely cited as proof of Republican disaffection from the rest of the country. All manner of cautions were raised by the faithful that the party had better re-examine the image it presented to the voting public. Particular emphasis was placed on the need to appeal to alienated Hispanic voters.
But now, suddenly, it's the
The damaging political developments started with the imbroglio over the terrorist attacks on Benghazi. Now the
With heavy encouragement from Republicans in
Suddenly, President Obama is finding the second term he won last fall to be less of a fresh start than a defensive stand against allegations of ineptitude at least and of incompetence and illegalities at worst. So far he has countered them with expressions of dismay and outrage but no tangible actions.
His latest response to the resurrected Benghazi episode, fanned by disclosed talking points suggesting a dispute between the CIA and the
It is premature, certainly, to compare the clearly regrettable occasions of bureaucratic snooping into the political beliefs of petitioners for
President Obama is not implicated himself, but he and the
Before a promised avalanche of further congressional hearings into all these controversies expands what Obama now calls a sideshow into a three-ring circus, the president needs to demonstrate much tougher executive leadership. He must do all he can to clean his own house, clarifying how high up responsibility went for the shady undertakings of some administration officials at both the
Through his first term, Obama essentially avoided internal scandal and was criticized mostly for trying too hard to work with a Republican establishment bent on obstructing his agenda and denying him a second term. Now that he has it, he must clear away the latest underbrush of kudzu threatening to engulf his aspirations for a positive legacy before leaving the
All presidents are obliged to cope with bureaucrats who in their zeal or stupidity take actions that jeopardize the reputation and efficiency of the administrations in which they serve. Obama must nip the current scandals in the bud if he hopes to make the most of his second term, or risk having them cloud the political discourse through his remaining
A Stain on the Democratic Brand | Politics