The Insiders: Let the calls for a White House shake-up begin

October 30, 2013

For the president to know so little about so many issues for so long, the management policy at the White House must be  “ignorance at the top.”

President Obama (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
President Obama (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Remember last May, when we learned that the president didn’t know the IRS was harassing Republicans, even after his chief of staff had been given a heads-up on the issue — presumably so that he would tell the president what was occurring? I wrote then that the president must have thanked his staff for keeping him in the dark and encouraged them to continue to do so.

Well, the policy of not informing the president appears to be flourishing. Does the president think he’s being well-served?  What would happen if the president knew more? If he were better informed, what might he do that would make matters worse? Maybe his staff fears that if the president is given more information, he could be blamed for all that is going wrong in his administration.  But after five years of this, does the administration think blame avoidance is working?

In just this past week, we’ve learned that the president didn’t know about the impending disaster of Obamacare.  He also didn’t know about the long-standing U.S. intelligence agencies’ practice of tapping the phones of foreign leaders — friends and foes alike. (And this really is a whopper, because even this disconnected president would have seen and been briefed many times on information derived from these intercepts.)

The president must think he has done a great job of picking just the right type of underlings, who don’t tell him much. Maybe that’s not fair to the White House staff. Maybe some of them want to warn him and brace him for bad news, but, obviously, an environment has been created where candor is discouraged.

Anyway, let’s face it: It’s time to listen for the calls for a White House shake-up. The president’s allies are going to start mumbling to themselves, and it won’t be long before someone says it out loud. Just Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s resignation won’t do.  There will be calls from within the Democrat Party for something big to change at the White House.

If the president really is as uninformed as he claims, something is terribly wrong with White House internal communications. If he is aware of all the issues he denies knowing about, then everyone — including President Obama — is lying, and the fallout will be severe.

And speaking of lies, the Obamacare hearings yesterday and today have highlighted the evolution of President Obama’s now infamous promise that, “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it” under Obamacare.  The video clips of the president repeating this promise are bad enough, but now a video from 2009 has surfaced in which a White House spokesperson declares she is “correcting disinformation about Obamacare.” In the video, she does so by showing clips of Obama promising you can keep your health insurance if you want to.  It couldn’t be more clear. The search is on for additional video clips from news shows, town halls and other occasions where Democratic members of Congress parroted the president’s claim that “if you like your existing health insurance you can keep it” as a way of selling Obamacare to the American people.

Oh, by the way, Glenn Kessler of The Post gave the “keep your health insurance” claim four pinocchios this morning.  So much of what we have seen from Obamacare so far is tailor-made for campaign ads against Democrats that will be unmerciful and effective in 2014.

 

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

 

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