Thursday, December 20, 2012

President Obama's Use of Crisis management

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s first Chief of Staff, famously said in 2008 “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

President Obama has taken that advice to heart. Indeed, it’s become his governing mantra since 9/11/2012.

He’s experienced four “crisis” since 9/11. Let’s see how he handled them.

The first was the terrorist attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, resulting in the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.

The second was Tropical Storm Sandy, which devastated the coastal areas of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. The third is the ongoing “fiscal cliff.” The most recent is the horrific killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The 9/11 Benghazi attack posed a political problem for the President. He was campaigning on the statement “Bin-Laden’s dead; GM is alive.” He was also saying that the Al Qaeda threat was gone. In addition, President Obama was responsible for the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s dictator, and eased out President Mubarak of Egypt.

The President could find no political advantage in admitting he was wrong about the threat of terrorism, especially Islamic terrorism, and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and possibly Libya.

The approach therefore was to deny it and engage in a campaign of disinformation. His Administration blamed the disturbances on an anti-Muslim video on YouTube eventhough they knew from the beginning that the demonstrations did not exist. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice made the tour of TV News shows blaming Benghazi on the mobs reacting to the video.

An investigative study released this week by the State Department disclosed not only that there was no riot or demonstration, but also that no mention was made in Libya of the video until the days after the killings.

Tropical Storm Sandy was a natural disaster. The President quickly flew to New Jersey and publicly declared his Administration would do whatever it would take to help the communities recover. He was recorded in a famous embrace with New Jersey’s conservative Governor Chris Christy.

He was contrasting his Administration with that of President Bush’s with Katrina. Having reaped a highly favorable press coverage, he then left the Northeast. The impacted communities are not receiving the promised assistance, but the media is giving the President a pass.

He has though rediscovered the impacted Atlantic states by proposing a 94 page, $60.4 billion federal relief fund. The purpose of the act is the standard disaster relief, but it turns out to be another pork-laden bill with provisions that cannot otherwise be enacted by Congress. Senate Democrats say it’s non-negotiable.

Some of the provisions include $150 million for fisheries restoration, including Alaskan salmon as well as oysters and blue crabs in Mississippi. Another $200 million will go to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use in her unbridled discretion as she sees fit. Eight million dollars would be appropriated for new cars and trucks for Homeland Security and the Justice Department. The Smithsonian would receive $2 million for roof repairs.

Those are the petty cash provisions.

Up to $28 billion would go for future mitigation costs rather than current disaster relief. $17 billion would be granted in community development block grants. Another $10.7 billion would be in ”emergency” spending for public transportation projects.

In other words, it would be business as usual for Congress.

President Obama saw Sandy as a crisis opportunity to push through a bill, such as earlier with the Stimulus Act, to reward Democratic constituencies.

President Obama revealed, and the media discovered, the “fiscal cliff” two days after he won reelection. Suddenly the economy will collapse on January 1 unless we raise taxes on the 1%, the 2%, the wealthy, those making over $250,000. It’s for “fairness,” not to grow the economy.

He wants substantial tax increases, which are deadly to the economy in a time of economic distress, with the tax increases fueling increased government spending. That’s not quite how he says it, but that’s the fine print. Remember all those shovel-ready jobs in the Stimulus Bill, followed three years later by “Shovel-ready were not as shovel-ready as we expected.”

All to avoid crashing over the fiscal cliff!

The horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook is now being used to push gun control through Congress, more background checks, a ban on assault weapons, a ban on high capacity magazines.

We still don’t fully know what happened; we still don’t know what motivated the deranged killer; we don’t even know yet if the Bushmaster was used in the killings.

And yet the drumbeat continues to impose restrictions on the purchase of guns that would not apply to Adam Lanza who killed his mom and stole her guns. The shooter in Clackamas, Oregon similarly stole the gun he used.

The full court press is on to push gun control through Congress. It’s become the President’s “central issue.”

The shootings are the story to most Americans. The tragedy or crisis is a political opportunity for the Obamanistas.

He’s not going to waste the crisis.

House Republicans have responded that it’s time to mourn, not to debate policy.

From crisis to crisis, that’s how the President plans to transform America. The crisis of the day will trump the Republican House of Representatives.

Ignore the rhetoric; ignore the crisis mentality.

Look  carefully at the details.

A serious crisis is too good to waste.

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