The wheels are falling off!


President Obama is having more than a bad week. The recent flare-ups involving his administration with the soft-pedaling proffered as explanations by the White House have not stopped the wheels from falling off. Mr. Obama is losing valuable time to pursue his agenda and is on the brink of an early retirement into the lame duck society. Even if he were not directly involved, the cumulative impact of these problems damages his legacy.

I.R.S. audits—When the taxman cometh nobody likes him. The recent expose that conservative groups who sought tax exempt status under 501(C)( 4) regulations were subjected to inquiries not required of other groups threatens to be a major problem for the President, particularly if any nexus  is made to the  White House.  To be sure, the IRS is correct to look at organizations that are essentially political and masquerading as “social welfare” groups. In some ways, the United States Supreme Court has let this genie out of the bottle—the onus falls on an unpopular governmental agency to monitor the feigns. The IRS is hurting because they have not been as tough on groups like Priorities USA, a democrat powerhouse or Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, a republican juggernaut, both of whom should be on the list for revocation of the tax exempt status. This stumble is a black eye to the agency and may derail any momentum Mr. Obama wanted to have for his second term.

Seizure of reporters' records—- The explanation that the Justice Department subpoenaed Associated Press reporters’  toll records for April and May 2012 for 20 phone numbers in five area codes and three states smacks  of a police state. The rationale that the reporting was based on a serious leak seems to be an exaggeration. The story that there was an Al Qaeda plot to bomb an airplane was reported after the fact. The Associated Press’s President said that the White House assured the news agency that the national security concerns had passed and that the White House was poised to announce the failed bomb plot the following day. The Associated Press published the article to refute the White House claims that there had been no Qaeda plots around the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. The heavy-handedness may very well alienate some reporters who have had a press love affair with Mr. Obama.

Benghazi—There’s   a lot of blame to go around relative to the security issues surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attack. The real failure, which is being obscured by the finger-pointing, is, as the New York Times reports, the failure to learn anything from our presence in Iraq. The conclusion that the intervention in Libya to oust Colonel Qaddafi would somehow be light, quick, with a fast exit was a total miscalculation.  The consequent terrorist action mirrors the experience in Iraq.

The military—Last week, yet another officer charged with policing sexual harassment is accused of repeated instances of sexual assault on female soldiers under his command, and of forcing one into prostitution. Figures released show thousands of sexual assault cases being reported. This could seriously impede recruitment and retention of quality soldiers.

The sheer number of these problems in such a short period of time makes Mr. Obama’s administration seem completely out of control.

Arlene Violet


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.