Chicago Tribune Editorial:
Richard Milhous Obama (May 14, 2013)
•Multiple White House claims about Washington’s handling of the murderous raid in Benghazi stand exposed as false.
•Internal Revenue Service officials admit a worse-by-the-day scandal that appalls fair-minded Americans.
•The U.S. Department of Justice scrambles to explain its clandestine collection of records on work and personal telephone lines that The Associated Press says are used by more than 100 of its journalists.
In reaction, the White House blames political opponents, disavows ownership or pleads ignorance.
Hard as it may be, then, set aside your own politics and ask yourself which of these Monday statements rings truer:
“The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow. … And suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there’s something new to the story. There’s no ‘there’ there.”
— President Barack Obama, dismissing congressional scrutiny of his and his subordinates’ statements about Benghazi as a “political circus”
“Americans should take notice that top Obama administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone.”
— House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa
For now, many among us would take Option 2. With each of these troubling disclosures, the Obama administration finds itself reacting to appearances of overreach, of arrogance, of determination to dodge its embarrassments rather than to take ownership of them.
We don’t expect unanimity of agreement on this. On each of these controversies, though, even some of the president’s most loyal supporters — from Capitol Hill to the liberal commentariat to Main Streets across the land — are questioning the government’s conduct on his watch. That turnabout either angers or amuses opponents inclined to ask the supporters, “Where have you been?”
At each of these turns, the Obama administration has looked manipulative, defensive and peevish. In one sense those aren’t startling reactions; they’re vulnerabilities for any White House that, like this one, wants an image of moral righteousness, honesty and transparency.
Taken together, though, these controversies project a less flattering image of truth-shading, hubris and intrusion. In the week of humiliating disclosures that started with last Wednesday’s congressional hearing on Benghazi, Americans haven’t seen the administration exhibit … one shred of humility:
Could this be an “American Spring”?