Thursday, May 16, 2013

Watergate Revisited -- Obama Administration

The Santa Monica Daily Press has been gracious enough to allow a Torrance, CA – South Bay resident to contribute to the daily commentary-goings on in Santa Monica. I had not often read the paper, until I began following the political and academic turmoil at Santa Monica City College. Then the connection continued when the California Citizens Redistricting Commission decided to connect West Los Angeles to the South Bay in one Congressional District, with well-known, rabid Republican-baiting “progressive” liberal Henry Waxman vying for reelection in the new district.

I was both surprised and disappointed, to say the least, that this Congressman had remained in office for nearly four decades, a Congressman who did not even know the basic laws regulating steroid use, yet who chaired oversight committee hearings on steroid abuse in baseball. The same Congressman had declared in open committee “We’re not broke!” in the face of trillions of dollars of public debt. This same Congressman has overseen the Brentwood VA during his tenure, yet to this day tens of thousands of homeless veterans struggle to get buy from day to day. This egregious negligence is inexcusable.

I was further dismayed when I learned that Congressman Henry Waxman entered office in 1974, along with the rest of the “reform” class which followed in the wake of the Watergate Scandal of 1973-1974. Waxman was elected in reaction (and revulsion) to the growing widespread distrust and disrespect for Government, at the time under the administration of Richard Milhous Nixon, a ruthless politician who has used the IRS to intimidate and discriminate against political opponents, a leader who had covered up the Watergate break-in, only in the end to inadvertently uncover his blistering virulence toward the press and the public integrity of the United States Federal government.

Besides President Richard Nixon, if anyone today wants to see what unfettered power and uninhibited promotion can do to a man, look no further than President Barack Obama who still retains an ally in Congressman Henry Waxman. Today, their party is implicated in numerous scandals. The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees has been investigating the gun-running scandal “Operation Fast and Furious” for years. Attorney General Eric Holder remains in contempt of Congress for his non-answers regarding the “felony-stupid” operation.

Then there’s Benghazi(-gate). The terrorist attacks on the US Embassy in Libya erupted on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Obama administration initially reported that a protest turned violent following an offensive YouTube video. UN Ambassador Susan Rice reported the same narrative from her talking points on Sunday talk shows two weeks after the incident, and weeks before the 2012 election. Months later, Congressional investigations confirm, along with colleagues of friends and relatives and concerned diplomats, that those talking points were “scrubbed and edited” to misrepresent the real source of the attacks: a planned terrorist infiltration. Furthermore, the State Department dismissed the consulate’s frequent pleas for more security, leaving the embassy a sitting target for violent encroachment.

Following his narrow, bitter reelection, Obama’s incapacity to lead seemed headed for worse, leading (and lede-ing) developments. From the fiscal cliff, to the federal sequester, to the debt ceiling dances which have expanded the American public’s appreciation of our country’s mounting debt, President Obama has been on the losing side of the narrative. In a first, Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward, famous for breaking the Watergate story, exposed the Obama administration’s attempt to silence his reporting on the narrative around the sequester: it was Obama’s decision all along. Nevertheless, fellow media colleagues distanced themselves and marginalized Woodward.

Following the three breaking scandals this week, the press which fawned and favored President Obama can no longer hold back. Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball” has lost the tingle up his leg. Matthew’s colleague Andrea Mitchell has condemned the Department of Justice’s seizure of AP reporters’ phone records. Another NBC journalist finally exposed the Obama Administration’s culture of intimidation toward the press (President Nixon’s “Enemies List”, anyone?)

In a previous column (“Mr. Seinfeld Goes to Washington”), I commented that our “Do Nothing” Government could learn something from the sitcom “about nothing”. Just this past week, one editorial criticized that President Obama’s ongoing lack of oversight is turning him into “The Bubble Boy President,” an executive disconnected from the daily demands of governing: hardly “The Master of His Domain”. Yet unlike the four main characters in the final episode of ”Seinfeld”, President Obama is on trial not just for doing nothing while our rights, our finances, and our standing in the world have been robbed. His criminal indifference to the Constitution and his constituents – all of us -- is starting to look like more like purposeful malfeasance, like Jerry stealing bread from an old lady.

To all of this one can only say: “There is something wrong with that.”

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