STORY #1: No presidentiality
OK. In all fairness, President Obama is the public face of budget sequestration. In all fairness, he hasn’t taken a hard enough line on Congress for failing to work to avoid it. I can see why blaming him for the whole thing might work for former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) among voters, especially those who will be on the business end of defense spending cuts. But it shouldn’t work among disinterested election observers. Because this is not what a president-in-waiting says.
What Romney should be doing is exactly what Obama hasn’t done: whip Congress into shape for the good of the country’s coffers. If that means telling them to stop campaigning and get their asses back to the Capitol, so be it. If it means helping to broker a compromise himself, as Obama did during bailout talks in 2008, even better. If it means pissing on his own party a little, that’s fabulous. But if he makes it to the White House, he’ll have to do more than point fingers. Best to start acting like he’s worthy of the Oval Office now.
STORY #2: Seriously, none
Meanwhile, the actual president and his people haven’t been doing much better, which might be dismissed as a pre-election stumble if it didn’t involve the killing of a U.S. ambassador. All signs point to terrorist involvement in the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya. From the day of the attack until right now, the White House’s position has gone full circle, from “People who were angry with Innocence of Muslims did it” to “terrorists probably did it.”
Seriously, guys. I know the timing of both spurts of violence seemed a little too coincidental at first. But how hard is it to wait until the confusion has cleared a little before you start vowing to bring people to justice? Make sure they’re the right people first! And once you’ve made sure they’re the right people, call a spade a spade the second you get a chance, because doing anything less makes you look even more confused than before. We can’t have that.
STORY #3: A Hail Mary
I’ve never been a fan of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney – possibly because I compare all White House senior staff unfavorably to their West Wing counterparts, which is probably unfair – but when he offered an official White House position on the return of permanent referees to the NFL, I could definitely see why Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) focused on his role in the muck-up over Libya. Leave the “humanizing” to the people who are running for something, I say; it’s not your job to make voters crack a smile unless you have good news of your own to promote. (Brian from Massachusetts thinks that attitude makes me “stodgy,” which I consider a compliment of sorts.)