Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do Elections Have Consequences? Ask Brian Terry and Christopher Stevens

After a bit of a tussle with the Miami-Dade Election Department, my wife and I, temporarily in California for family reasons, got our absentee ballots yesterday. This morning we had them back in the mail: Romney, Mack, and Ros-Lehtinen each have two votes on the way. As I filled out my lengthy ballot--which had an impressive number of State constitution and city charter amendments--the old cliche about "elections have consequences" kept bouncing around in my brain.

Elections have consequences. We see in elections a version of the phenomenon labelled "the tyranny of small decisions" by the late economist Alfred Kahn. He described how "small decisions" by consumers, e.g., to buy a Ford, a Toyota, or a Nissan instead of a Chevrolet, cumulatively can produce huge, unforeseen, and even undesired consequences. Do buyers of Ford, Toyota, or Nissan want GM to go out of business? Do they want to put hundreds of thousands of workers and suppliers on the street? Not necessarily, but that can prove the end result of millions of "small decisions." Voting is similar but also a bit different. Unlike buying a consumer good, when we cast our vote, our "small decision," we seek to put the person who does not receive it "out of business." We vote for or against a person for a variety of reasons; we often end up voting for somebody we only like marginally better or dislike marginally less than the person for whom we did not vote. We might also vote in haste, in ignorance, or out of emotion. Regardless of motivation or enthusiasm, that action has consequences, even beyond what we intended, e.g., did voters really give Obama a mandate to nationalize our medical care system?

I remember in 2008 seeing smart, experienced, apparently rational, and "well-educated" (I hate that term!) persons in the State Department overcome with a cult-like desire to support Barack Obama for President. Pointing out that the man had no foreign policy experience, no managerial experience, almost no political experience, a radical anti-American past and upbringing, an obscure educational record, and a clear inability to operate without a teleprompter had no effect on their support for him. The honest Obama backers at State would admit that they would vote for Obama because they saw it as "good" for America to elect a black President. I noted to these friends that I had not voted for Gore in 2000 just because he had a Jewish running mate, and, in fact, I voted for two Christians, Bush and Cheney. As a firm believer in the American creed, I could not understand voting for or against somebody based on the candidate's religion or ethnicity. I got nowhere. The spell could not be broken. This line of "reasoning" by Obama supporters was not only foolish but disastrous for our country--and that is how the Obama Presidency has turned out: disastrous.

The 2008 election had consequences. We see those everyday in our faltering domestic economy; in the parlous state of our public finances; in the constant erosion of personal liberty by a relentless onslaught from the state; and in the rapid unraveling of our stature and influence overseas. I am sure that not all, most, or even many Obama voters wanted those things, but we got them anyhow. With their votes they produced a national nightmare for all of us.

Others more qualified can discuss the economic consequences of electing Obama. Let me just focus on what I see as two prominent features in Obama's scandal filled landscape: "Fast and Furious," and the "Benghazi Fiasco and Cover-up." Both resulted from an ideologically driven refusal to see the world as it is. The Obama misadministration insisted on the liberal ploy of seeing what they believe, instead of the other way round.

"Fast and Furious" was about "proving" that America's "lax" gun laws, and the Red State attitude toward guns fueled the drug violence in Mexico. Drug violence does not, in this view, exist because of the insatiable appetite for drugs by liberal Hollywood and Manhattan elites, by liberal college students, by the denizens of the decaying inner cores of Democrat controlled cities, or even from the insane drug laws the advocates of ever-more government foist on us. No, not all. For the liberal mindset, drug violence in Mexico results from the exercise of second amendment rights by law abiding American citizens. As I have written many times before, the evidence on the ground did not support the theory that "drugs flow north and guns flow south." The cartels did not buy their guns in the US. In typical liberal fashion, therefore, the Obama Justice Department, acting through the ATF, decided to "prove" it so by making it so. The ATF created gun smuggling networks, sold them guns, and then watched as these moved into Mexico and into the hands of some of the world's best organized and most ruthless criminals. The result? Mayhem. Hundreds of Mexican citizens, and at least two US Federal agents murdered plus unknown numbers of other crimes on both sides of the border.

The Benghazi scandal is more complex than "F&F," and we have not yet seen all its facets exposed. Simply put, however, the murder of Stevens and three other staff was the result of liberal delusions about the Muslim world. The madness began with the totally unnecessary war against Desert Queen Qaddafi. By the time of Obama's "leading from behind" war on Libya, Qaddafi no longer posed a threat to the USA. The unpleasant old buzzard was cooperating with us in a number of key areas: he had renounced the use of terror; had dismantled his WMD program; re-established diplomatic relations with us; allowed the return of US oil companies to Libya; and actively cooperated with us against Al Qaeda. Our involvement in pushing him out of office made no sense, especially since we had no idea what would replace him and what the consequences for the region would be of his removal. Now we know.

Our Benghazi facility was a half-baked operation. It was not a consulate. It was a "facility" with an ambiguous purpose, at least as far as the unclassified world is concerned. It had a stunning lack of even basic security despite the rapidly deteriorating situation in Libya, and in eastern Libya in particular. The security level for our facilities in Libya was driven by the political consideration of maintaining the liberal fiction that Obama's war in Libya had succeeded; that the "Arab Spring" was akin to our own Revolution; and that the region "loved" President Obama. When things fell apart on September 11, the number one concern was not to do anything that would damage that narrative. Blame the crisis on an obscure video; blame it on a press release by the Romney campaign; blame it on subordinates. Above all, do nothing that would appear to show that the Obama misadministration had misunderstood reality in Libya and throughout the Muslim word. The result? Mayhem.

Both scandals were generally ignored by the mainstream media, or, even worse, the media accepted what I call the "Whitewater Defense." This tactic was perfected by the Clintons as they weaseled their way out of a major corruption scandal in Arkansas. That scandal was actually a simple one of real estate developers bribing Governor Bill Clinton with Hillary Clinton serving as the cut-out. The Clintons, however, got their friends in the media to accept, in essence, that Whitewater was just too complicated, boring, technical, and convoluted to explain. The Obama misadministration now has done the same: It successfully has used the media either to bury the stories of both scandals or to argue that they are just "too complicated"; we should not "politicize" these issues; and we should "wait for all the facts to come in." Those facts will not come in--at least not before November 6. When all else fails, the misadministration also has shown a willingness to cover-up unpleasant facts: The use of executive privilege in the "F&F" case, and a confusing blizzard of lies, half-truths, and conflicting time lines in the Benghazi Massacre case.

With some honorable exceptions, few journalists have shown themselves willing to delve into the muck of either scandal and do the job one would expect from journalists. The media has sought to help Obama spike the football on the Bin Laden story and to help spike the stories behind "Fast and Furious" and Benghazi. Where the Obama misadministration has miscalculated, of course, as I have stated many times, is with the attitude of the career bureaucracy; those bureaucrats might have voted for Obama, but they will not throw themselves on the grenade for him or Hillary. That is the "X" factor in the scandal as we see from the steady drip-drip-drip of information emerging from the labyrinths of State, CIA, and the Pentagon.

Does anybody believe that we would have had a "F&F" or a Benghazi scandal under a McCain administration? Does anybody believe that had something occurred under a McCain administration of that magnitude, or even something considerably more mundane, that we would not have all the media outlets, 24/7, relentlessly probing, investigating and demanding answers? That calls for impeachment would not have gone out? That it would be without doubt a one-term proposition? That the President would be losing in the polls by 20 points?

Elections have consequences.

34 comments:

  1. Were the Obama/State planned results of the Bengazi incident to be the exchange of the blind sheik for a captured Stevens? Was the topic of his meeting with the Turkish diplomat dispersal to Syrian rebels of the weapons on a ship in the harbor and bound for Turkey? Any validity to either or both theories?

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    1. I'm afraid I'd find it hard to believe that the Beghazi fracas masked an attempt to exchange the Blind Sheikh (may he choke on an M&M) for a captured Stevens. I firmly and sincerely hope that not even a radical Leftie would do such a dangerous and potentially self-destroying act--at least while surrounded by a bunch of bureaucrats who have probably learned a little prudence during their years of service.

      I thought the Troofers (Truthers) were and are full of banana oil.

      However, the gun-running possibility is something worth looking into.

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    2. I've seen the speculation that Benghazi was supposed to be a hostage grab to offer a trade for the blind Sheikh. While I have no trouble believing the Obama administration capable of such a vile act, I can't accept that they are smart enough to have set it up (even allowing for Wood and Doherty's unexpected appearance on scene).

      Conspiracy theories are attractive, even seductive, but Occam's Razor suggests that we look to feckless incompetence as the explanation for the entire Mideast catastrophe that had engulfed Obama's policies.

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    3. I still wonder whether kidnapping Stevens was the goal of the AAS militants at the compound, because it seems like they tried to smoke him out, and failed miserably.

      As to the video, Walid Shoebat says it was probably made by AQ to use for cover for such an occasion.

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  2. As I have written before, I think we were shipping weapons from Libya to Syria via Turkey.

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  3. Blackfive has some interesting things to say about Benghazi.
    http://www.blackfive.net

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  4. By issuing "a confusing blizzard of lies, half-truths, and conflicting time lines in the Benghazi Massacre case" they have put themselves in an almost hopeless position. Now when responding to a leak they bump right into one of their lies and half truths. If what happened wasn't so tragic and important it would be great fun to leak and watch them squirm and twist on their own hook.

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    1. It does put them in a bind, in that their only possible defense now is "We weren't lying, we were simply incompetent."

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  5. Diplomad, I am not surprised by your fellow State people who said they were going to vote for Obama simply based on the fact that his skin was dark. Shelby Steele, born to a white mother and black father, wrote an entire book a few years back on "white guilt." It is an interesting perspective from a man who surely encountered more racism/bigotry than Obama did while living in a state where Haoles are the minority. The school Obama attended in Hawaii still celebrates "Kill Hoale Day."

    The belief, among such Americans, is that we can never really absolve our history of slavery unless we not just level the playing field, but actually tilt it the other way, laying the blame for the era of slavery on every white American, no matter their heritage. As an example, I give you how history has been purged to create a false senario: my own heritage goes back to the days of the Trail of Tears, consequently, the history of the American Indian has always been of great interest to me. No other purging of our history has bothered me as much as the history that is reported on the Buffalo Soldiers, the section of our U.S. Army that was made up of African-American soldiers, mostly from the northern states who were assigned to the American southwest and west.

    One such installation was Fort Clark, Texas. It was a garrison designed specifically for the Buffalo Soldiers who had one mission; a) chase the Commanche back into Mexico to open up the territory for settlements or b)annihilate the Commanche totally to the man, woman and child. Sherman was sent to other territories with the same purpose. Sand Creek is a slaughter of American Indians, while they stood under the white flag. I tell you, and your readers, this history for one purpose; no one race is responsible for the autrocities done to others. There is enough blame to go around. Yet, the persecution of a basically defeated people is history that is ignored in our politically correct world.

    Zane

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    1. Thank you. Excellent comment. The issue with Obama is particularly ironic as he is NOT the descendent of slaves.

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    2. I need to make one correction: it was not Sherman who also fought in what has been entitled "the Indian Wars", but rather, Phil Sheridan, who was one of the biggest racists to have ever served in the U.S. military. Historical accuracy is important to me, as it should be to all Americans.

      The problem, as I see it, is that there was a movement to right the wrongs committed against those who were brought to this nation against their will. There has never been a movement to right the wrongs committed against this nation's original inhabitants. I have been on reservations that make the ghettos of Chicago look like Trump Tower in comparison. And while our school children are taught about the lynchings in the South, they are not taught about places like Sand Creek where whole villages were slaughtered.

      Obama was a mixed raced child who attended a tony prep school with a number of other mixed race children, be they white/Asian, Hawaiian/Asian or white/Hawaiian. He was viewed no differently than any other mixed raced kid in a school full of them. I find it odd that those who can really relate to the disgrace that was racism, like Walter Willams and Clarence Thomas, are conservative Republicans.

      Zane

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    3. Zane, are you sure about Sheridan versus Sherman? Sherman was Commanding General of the Army from 1869-1883. My Dad's mother was a Sherman so we always took some pride in his 'notoriety'. He tended to get much blame from some circles and much credit from others. I've not heard it suggested he was racist but he was certainly ruthless - with intent and that could/would be construed as many things even today.

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    4. John, yes, I am sure about Sheridan. Initially, right after the end of the War of Northern Aggression (LOL), Sheridan was assigned as the head of Reconstruction in Texas and Louisiana. He was so brutal that President Johnson called Sheridan a tyrant. Sheridan physically removed the Governor of Texas from office and appointed a Republican to take his place. Sheridan was so bad that finally he was removed by Johnson, with agreement from Grant, and in 1866, sent to what had been Fort Martin Scott near Fredericksburg, Texas. It was from there that Sheridan initiated his campaign against the Commanche.

      Sheridan was known for his brutality against Native Americans. He advocated killing the buffalo because it denied Indians their main food source. When the State of Texas proposed a law that would not permit the killing of the buffalo on tribal grounds, Sheridan went to Austin to demand the practice be continued. It was Sheridan's goal to starve the Indians to death.

      Zane

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    5. Indeed, I'm aware that it was Sheridan who said "the only good Indian is a dead Indian".

      Anonymous, for 10 years I lived near a portion of the Trail of Tears in southern Illinois. It was a particularly despicable chapter in history, when one considers that the Cherokee fought to stay in their ancestral lands in the US courts and won (before the Supreme Court), and that the Presbyterian Church and others among others weighed in on their behalf. I understand that Sequoyah himself got the idea of developing an alphabet for his people when he served under Jackson in the New Orleans campaign when he saw white soldiers getting letters from home. And Jackson is now hailed as a great champion of the common man!

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  6. I really appreciate your insight and your writing style. I humbly suggest that you correct the typo in the title from "Brain" to "Brian."

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    1. Thanks. My wife caught it. I should never try writing on IPADS.

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  7. Evidently the "on the ground" source that is providing Jennifer Griffin of Fox News with her exclusive reports would be one of the individuals in the Annex? I wish more of the people in the Annex who were saved would speak up, also. The lame MSM is not doing a thing....outrageous!! (By the way, am on my 5th attempt to figure out what the heck those letters are so I can "publish". Have never seen a site where it was so difficult.....) :-(

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    1. Glad to hear someone else besides me sucks with those letters...

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  8. Somewhat off-topic; but, not only do elections have consequences; but every vote DOES count.

    Granted this was in my small home town with about 600 voters and a turn out rate that was over 90%; But, one year we had a mayoral race which was won (or lost, depending upon who you supported) by ONE vote. Yep, just one vote.

    The loser actually won a couple of years later when the winner retired. And, both guys did a fine job as mayor.

    The funny thing was the guy who lost that year went around asking (in a very light-hearted, joking manner, of course) folks "Did you vote?, Did you vote?" He never asked HOW you voted, he just wanted to make sure that everyone was aware that every vote mattered.

    So, yea elections do have consequences and every vote matters!

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  9. Agree on degree of difficulty on the damned 'prove you are not a bot by deciphering these unreadable characters'. The worst I have seen on any site. If I didn't care, I wouldn't bother getting out the magnifying glass yet again.

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  10. Dip, I've even heard liberal lawyers from NY speaking of how HRC should've been disbarred over the Whitewater thing.

    But, this kind of thing should warn us all that as long as the Left controls the MSM, any conservative in politics needs to be more above reproach than the Caesar's wife in Shakespeare.

    Further, while I'm of the mind that slavery and racism were and, to some extent, remain deep-rooted evils in American life, I don't think I've ever heard my sentiments on the folly of voting for Obama merely out of guilt voiced better than in your post.

    I'll also add that nobody in Barry Soetero's family tree ever made the Middle Passage to chop cotton or wait on tables in the years of slavery. As the descendant of East African Muslims, Obama also may have slave hunters and dealers (and castraters) in more recent branches of his [official] paternal line than any white American living.

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  11. paul vincent zecchinoOctober 28, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    What role, if any, did National Security Advisor Tom Donilon play in this mess?

    He's originally from Rhode Island. As am I. His family summered in Point Judith, as did mine, and in which I resided until moving to Florida.

    Tom Donilon's younger brother Mike is chief aide to Joe Biden. he reportedly coached him for the debate. Doesn't that beg questions?

    Tom Donilon's wife is Jill Biden's chief aide.

    Sounds like a nice cozy little arrangement with Tom's mouth to the anointed's ear, so to speak.

    What is his role in this, given his appointed position and SecDef's statements about and to him?

    Is he the too-dark spot on the radar scope, the hole-in-the-water on the sonar? Is this why officialdom and the pressniks remain so assiduously silent about him?

    Is his silent absence a roar for scrutiny?

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    1. Donilon should, of course, play a major role. He, however, is a total political hack with no knowledge of foreign affairs. I am not sure how seriously anything he says is taken. That said, this calculation was more about domestic electoral politics, so he might have had some say in convincing Obama to let the diplomats die.

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  12. Dip, if I'm sick on Nov. 6, they'll carry me to the polling place on a stretcher.

    You are absolutely right about Fast and Furious, and I think it's shameful that it has been so hush-hush. Further, I've long thought it a major issue that this misadministration (an excellent term you've coined there!) has a record of throwing the First Amendment under the bus in order to please its political constituents.

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  13. Assuming Obama loses the election, it will be interesting to see if the MSM suddenly start making a big deal over Benghazi and F&F. Once they no longer need to protect their boy they may feel the need to crucify him on the way out to regain an ounce of credibility...in preps to hammer Romney on every little thing they can.

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  14. Employment is not a right, it is merely an opportunity.

    If GM wants us to buy their cars, they can damn well build better cars.

    (Aphorisms for today.)

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    1. I'm not one for boycotting, but I can't stand the way the government is trying to pick winners.

      Makes me want to buy Ford even though my current car is Buick (GM).

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  15. Diplomad,
    I just ran across you at "In from the cold", like you it's one of my daily stops. Sometime try Belmont Club.

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  16. I just asked it this way, "If something like this happened on Sept. 11, 2004, and John Kerry openly criticized the Bush administration's handlig of it, and Bush refused to answer questions and jetted off to a fundraiser, and then put out a completely false story, I am certain the media would have been harshly critical of John Kerry and would have accused him of "politicizing" national security....... Yeah right.

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  17. Trying to find out about the fate of General Ham. He was apparently replaced by his 2nd, Rodriguez, and the rumor mill says Ham is under arrest for disobeying the "stand down" directive. Thanks!

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  18. I read the other day, Gen. Ham was taking an early retirement and found this article this morning.

    http://www.westernjournalism.com/general-in-benghazi-scandal-suddenly-retires/

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  19. I have now read a few of your posts (and admittedly I could read more) but I am disturbed by what you have written and that all of your followers are of one mindset and do not debate with you at all. It seems to me that you have put off all people who disagree with you. Now, you have one more.

    I am particularly troubled by your implied assertions that you are somehow more American than others (in particular democrats or liberal minded people).

    Your statement about Obama having "a radical anti-American past and upbringing" is just plain wrong and you should learn from Michelle Bachmann to refrain from wild, unfounded accusations.

    In addition, your post about McGovern is disgusting. Have you forgotten completely how he ended up in the situation he was in? Remember Watergate?

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  21. thanks for share.

    ReplyDelete