www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Running for the wrong bus -7/28/2014, 9:04 AM

Old Old Mexico -- Culture and content -7/28/2014, 9:03 AM

The defining issue of economic recovery -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

In a world of sectarian violence, what can be done? -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

Funding DHDC -7/27/2014, 1:18 PM

Endorsement for Shultz -7/25/2014, 3:28 PM

Against the wind -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Do blacks need favors? -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Vote Huelskamp out -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Open meetings -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Leadership change needed -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Vote for Huelskamp -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Protecting unborn children -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Learning experience valuable -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

False equivalence -7/23/2014, 8:07 AM

Measles' scary comeback -7/23/2014, 1:27 PM

The 'big data' deal -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

GOP can't get out of its own way -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

War only will add to Middle East problems -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Avoiding taxes -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Take the win in Iran -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

The high court's high-handedness -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Up in arms in the Capitol -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Firefighters weigh in on pay raise -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Backpacks for Kids -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Our unwillingness to defend ourselves -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

Remembering a man who championed freedom -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

GOP split -7/17/2014, 8:38 AM

New Kansas senator -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Who'll build the roads? -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Reagan: In or out? -7/16/2014, 2:45 PM

'Unbroken' WWII vet more than a hero -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Savor the fruits of your labor -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Erasing candidate's standards -7/15/2014, 11:36 AM

Returning to Trail Wood -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Leaving some in 'suspense' -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Strangers in a remarkable land -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Courageous or spineless? Our actions decide -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Ambition: An unlikely gift to Kansas voters -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Beyond the outrage -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Water watch -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Scenic outlooks -7/11/2014, 9:18 AM

China's research trumps teaching -7/11/2014, 9:17 AM

Important slow news -7/10/2014, 9:42 AM

We've got a promise to keep -7/10/2014, 9:33 AM

The white combine calls -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Vote for family values -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Politicians making a mockery of my faith -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Missing tribute -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Rural students deserve 21st Century education -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

The education table dance -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

A new virus -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

Government as God -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

EPA affecting others -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

'Narrow' decision from the narrow-minded -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

The tax trap -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Rulings produce 'First Amendment fireworks' -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Firefighter salaries -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Economic freedom -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Protecting our independence -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Dan Johnson, 1936-2014 -7/3/2014, 7:12 AM

New Iraq offensive backfires -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Setting things straight -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

'Crapitalism' -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Feeding peace throughout the world -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Half way is still only half way -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Sherow a better choice -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Fireworks, part II -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Reality show made in Topeka -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

The justices and their cellphones -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

LOB defeated -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

Tragedy explored in 'Broken Heart Land' -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Mexico City: The adventure continues -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Even our youngest Americans are citizens -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

Ban on fireworks -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

It's time to teach active citizenship -6/29/2014, 12:57 PM

The education establishment's success -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Piecework professors -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Marriage for all -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Prairie chicken madness -6/26/2014, 4:17 PM

Omission control -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Equal in the eyes of the law -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Help wanted -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

The old red barn -6/25/2014, 9:19 AM

Beware the unimaginable -6/25/2014, 9:19 AM

Early critic of school testing was right -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Finding something 'different' in Topeka -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Shopping small -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Into the classroom -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Wow! And thanks to you -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Fireworks double-standard -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Glass half full -6/22/2014, 5:57 PM

Brownback's experiment wallops taxpayers -6/22/2014, 5:56 PM

Examining the importance of 'where' we speak -6/22/2014, 5:56 PM

Slavery reparations -6/20/2014, 8:33 AM

'Help me plagiarize' -6/20/2014, 8:33 AM

Thank a farmer -6/20/2014, 8:33 AM

Here comes tomorrow -6/19/2014, 8:43 AM

Why Americans dislike soccer -6/19/2014, 8:43 AM

Switching to teaching -6/18/2014, 4:32 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Scandal season at Obama White House

Published on -5/23/2013, 9:50 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

It's not an easy task, defending President Barack Obama from his enemies.

The "scandals" keep popping up like dandelions -- all of them explainable, after a fashion. Taken together, the explanations begin to sound like "the dog ate my homework." For example:

No one would deny that the attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that took the lives of four Americans, including our ambassador, was a serious matter.

And no one would claim that the administration's actions either before or after the attack were above reproach. The affair was handled clumsily at best and incompetently at worst.

But an impeachable offense? A Watergate level cover-up? Only in the fevered dreams of the House's right-wing loons like Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Rep. Steve King of Iowa.

Diplomatic security in war zones is always a delicate balancing act. You want to keep the diplomats safe from attack but you don't want to seal them off from the country, making it impossible for them to do their jobs.

And then there's the question of budget. Security doesn't come cheap and the ruling Republican minority has effectively slashed the State Department budget with the sequester nonsense.

Being a war-zone diplomat these days is a risky business. We took that risk in Benghazi and we lost. That's worth an honest hearing, but not a witch-hunt.

Actually, the real reason the Republicans are making so much of the "cover-up" is that they see it as a chance to discredit Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State during the Benghazi incident. That will come in handy in case she decides to run for president.

The IRS scandal is another matter altogether.

No one got killed.

What happened was that IRS employees charged with checking on the applications for the non-profit status of groups claiming to be primarily "social welfare" organizations seemed to be singling out conservatives for special scrutiny.

Personally, I think the real scandal there is that Karl Rove managed to co-mingle funds from his Super PAC with his "social welfare" group so that his big money political donors were shielded from having to identify themselves. If Karl Rove is running a social welfare outfit, I'm the Queen of Romania.

But that's not what people are upset about. They're upset about the use of the supposedly impartial IRS as a weapon in the political wars. OK, but it seems to have been a screw-up rather than a malevolent scheme.

Tell that to the tea party people. They hope to use this dust-up to frighten people into rejecting the Affordable Care Act. Don't try and figure out the logic of that. There is none.

The third scandal -- that of subpoenaing reporters' phone records -- disturbs me the most. But then it would. I used to be a reporter myself.

All presidents get paranoid about leaks. All of them try to do something about them, often with disastrous results. The Watergate affair, for example, owed its genesis to President Richard Nixon's efforts to plug leaks.

Sending the Justice Department after people who buy ink by the barrel, however, is almost always a loser's game. Obama will rue the day. He can argue he had no prior knowledge of it but I don't believe him.

Again, put together, these things don't constitute a bill of impeachment but they do have a Nixonian smell about them. They aren't what we expect of a liberal paladin.

And yet, I'm not ready to abandon ship. We live in a two-party system. You don't get to choose the leader who perfectly matches your politics. You get to pick one of two people.

So, would we have been better off right now with Mitt Romney, the smug rich guy who turned himself inside out to grovel before his party's extreme right wing?

Or are we better off with Obama, a somewhat disappointing but far superior alternative?

OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos