The White House tried the line that the current spate of scandals aren’t scandals. The administration tried the excuse that it is all a GOP witch hunt. Hillary Clinton on Benghazi tried, “What difference does it make?” The president has repeatedly insisted he didn’t know or wasn’t told about significant, unprecedented policies (e.g. surveilling reporters, creating a new criminal theory to punish reporting). His spokesman even suggested it is a good thing for the president not to be told certain things (e.g. the IRS scandal) before he reads about it in the papers.
The Obama-friendly media has suggested throwing under the bus two women, the White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler and Lois Lerner, who took the Fifth, certainly not the most senior figures responsible for a spasm of overreach, political witch-hunting and egregious incompetence. Firing underlings isn’t an effective strategy. It’s a start, but not the sort of advice the White House should adopt with hopes this will all blow over in a month.
How about these steps?
President Obama instructs everyone in his administration to grant full cooperation to Congress, inspectors general and the FBI in whatever investigations transpired. That is what Bush did in the Valerie Plame incident, and senior officials understood it was not acceptable to take the Fifth.
He asks the State Department Accountability Review Board (already under scrutiny for its slap-dash job) to go question Hillary Clinton and other senior officials whom they did not bother to interview the first time on Benghazi.
The president offers his own staff (the national security adviser and his deputy, as well as the former White House counterterrorism adviser and now CIA chief John Brennan) to come clean on their roles in the IRS and Benghazi scandals.
The president fires Attorney General Eric Holder for, among other things, failing to adhere to and make certain his department followed the practice of every other administration regarding spying on reporters. He requests an independent prosecutor to determine if he lied to Congress about the non-written recusal. He hires a respected, independent-minded attorney general (as George W. Bush did with Michael Mukasey).
The president agrees to a press conference and answers all questions on Benghazi, the IRS, spying on reporters and the HHS shakedown of healthcare companies. He offers an apology to members of the press who were surveilled. He doesn’t filibuster or impune the motives of those asking hard questions.
The president hires a senior, respected figure as chief of staff, who among other things is directed to replace any member of the communications team who misled the media and the American people.
The administration has acted in ways that outrage voters and embody, sorry to say, the Chicago Way (reward your friends, destroy enemies, use the law as a weapon). If Obama can’t break himself of the addiction to Chicago bare-knuckles brawling with political opponents, his presidency will collapse. If he rises above it, he might accomplish something in his second term and keep the Senate in Democratic hands.