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September 13, 2012

For Obama, The Buck Always Stops Somewhere Else

... as President of the United States, one of the things I’ve learned, and we just talked about was anything that happens on my watch is my responsibility. That’s what people expect. Harry Truman said the buck stops with me...”

Barack Obama, July 2012

But that was so six or seven weeks ago. With the vantage of hindsight, the man who sanctimoniously assured us that real leaders take responsibility for what happens on their watch would like to make a slight course correction. What just happened on his watch should in no way be laid at the door of his administration! It's clear that the responsible parties are out of control, low level underlings:

The Obama administration is disavowing a statement from its own Cairo embassy that seemed to apologize for anti-Muslim activity in the United States.

"The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government," an administration official told POLITICO.

The important takeaway here is that, faced with an explosive situation in an already unstable country, embassy staff did not... we repeat, DID NOT think it necessary to consult their boss for guidance:

A State Department official, authorized only to speak on background, said there was absolutely no coordination with the White House. The Cairo statement was sent to the Near East desk at the State Department and was rejected.The State Department insists the official in Cairo did not wait and posted the message online.

The State Department has refused to say whether the individual will be subject to discipline.

Please pay no attention to the man in the ginormous white house where the buck used to (as recently as the end of July) stop. Yes, he's technically in charge of the country. And the State Department is technically part of the Executive branch. But Obama can't be held responsible, you see. It's not his fault that embassy staff in a turbulent nation with troubled relations with the West can't be trusted to obey direct orders. Or that - apparently - they had not been instructed to consult with the White House on matters of this delicacy. Or that Libyan diplomatic staff were working in an insecure environment:

A senior administration official Wednesday called the Benghazi consulate “an interim facility,” which the State Department began using “before the fall of Qadhafi.” It was staffed Tuesday by Libyan and State Department security officers. The consulate came under fire from heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at about 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday. By the time the attack ended several hours later, four Americans were dead and three others had been injured.

The Benghazi consulate had “lock-and-key” security, not the same level of defenses as a formal embassy, an intelligence source told POLITICO. That means it had no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies. The intelligence source contrasted it with the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt – “a permanent facility, which is a lot easier to defend.” The Cairo embassy also was attacked Tuesday.

Really, who could have predicted an attack by angry mobs in that part of the world on the anniversary of 9/11? And what reasonable person would expect American diplomatic personnel to have a crystal clear understanding of this administration's policies and positions....

...which, it turns out, include vigorously condeming intentional efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others:

And same for all of you who mock young earthers, or devout Scientologists, or believers in miracles — and all who say that, for instance, racist or sexist religious beliefs are contemptible — and maybe even all those who, even politely, contend that rival religions’ views are wrong and will deny salvation to the holders of those views:
The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.

So says the Secretary of State, in quite categorical terms. After all, in all the examples given above, you would presumably be intentionally denigrating the religious beliefs of others: saying that they are immoral and foolish. The U.S. government deplores your speech. It’s not just that the government doesn’t endorse the speech, not just that it deplores a limited and narrow category of blasphemous acts (e.g., burning a Koran, treading on a crucifix, and the like), but rather that it deplores any attempt to denigrate religious beliefs. Religious beliefs, which are routinely used by billions as a guide to private action and a guide to lawmaking, are supposed to be somehow immune from the denigration that is a commonplace and necessary part of debate about ideological beliefs generally.

Let's be clear: this administration is second to no other in its commitment to upholding our First Amendment right to free speech. Heavy handed official denunciations of same notwithstanding. And the administration is also firmly committed to holding leaders accountable for whatever happens on that leader's watch. Applying this principle, it's clear at whose feet the blame for this debacle should be laid: Mitt Romney.

We know you are all heartened to learn that the White House has learned from its early inability to coordinate their message. When results really matter, this administration's message discipline is rock solid.

Posted by Cassandra at September 13, 2012 08:46 AM

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Obama couldn't work an iPhone and blamed it on the phone's owner. Seems that blaming others is second nature to the guy. What the hell does anyone expect?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at September 13, 2012 11:54 AM

Seems that blaming others is second nature to the guy.

Amen, Brother Yu-Ain.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 13, 2012 11:58 AM

The administration deplores any denigration of religious beliefs...

Except when it's funded through the NEA, ahem, Jesus Christ on the crucifix in urine is not denigrating, it's free speech dammit.

That's why the buck never stops anywhere with this crew. They just re-define things.

Posted by: Allen at September 13, 2012 12:11 PM

Teflon MomJeans® bears no responsibility, ever, for anything...

He is not, in any way, responsible...

He is not the person your editorial is looking for...

Let the Gangsters Pass...

Posted by: Sith Lord Palpatine at September 13, 2012 12:21 PM

Does this mean if he is re-elected, he isn't responsible for the mistakes he made?

Who is he going to blame?

Posted by: Carolyn at September 13, 2012 01:51 PM

Now comes word that the Marines at the Egyptian embassy were not allowed ammo for their weapons at the demand of US Ambassador to Egypt.
Our enemies laugh.
Our fallen warriors weep.
And Xerxes' putts.

Posted by: DL Sly at September 13, 2012 02:29 PM

Come on DL, don't you know? Guns *kill* people. Someone could get hurt!

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at September 13, 2012 03:48 PM