The Peculiar Delusion of Dan Pfeiffer, a.k.a. “The White House”

Captain Smith, of the "Titanic." Of course, there's no proof that he did anything wrong.

Captain Smith, of the “Titanic.” Of course, there’s no proof that he did anything wrong.

What does it tell us about the White House (and its primary occupant) that its “insider” and designated spokesperson, Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer, could utter a statement like this, in public, no less? On Fox News Sunday, one of four Sunday Morning Talk shows he appeared on yesterday to deliver the current White House position on multiple scandals, referring to Sarah Hall Ingram, who led the agency’s tax-exempt division when it targeted conservative groups and has been promoted to chief of the health care reform office, Pfeiffer said,

“No one has suggested that she did anything wrong yet. Before everyone in this town convicts this person in the court of public opinion with no evidence, let’s actually get the facts and make decisions after that. There’s nothing that suggests she did anything wrong.”

Such manifest nonsense would be depressing coming from a recent college grad, and grounds for demotion from a corporate manager or CEO, but it is nothing short of frightening coming from the heart of a nation’s leadership.

Through the foggy mists of time, from the moment the first quasi-human assumed the leadership and management of any group or endeavor, the failure of that group or endeavor to meet reasonable expectations has meant that the leader or manager did a poor job. Doing a poor job as a manager is called lousy management; doing a poor job as a leader is lousy leadership. When a division within a larger organization engages in massive, obvious, harmful and ominous misconduct as the I.R.S. tax-exempt division undeniably did, whatever the reason, it cannot be said that there is “nothing that suggests” that the individual in charge of making certain that division did things right did nothing wrong. Of course that manager did something wrong, because the division she was in charge of violated basic Constitutional principles. If she directed the group to so behave, she was wrong in that respect. If her management and leadership were so weak that her subordinates engaged in misconduct without her knowledge, that is incompetence and lack of diligence…and that’s wrong too.

In law, this kind of situation is called res ipsa loquitur, which is Latin for “the thing speaks for itself.” No further proof is necessary. Now, perhaps Pfeiffer, by “wrong,” means crime. That would be true—it is inappropriate to pre-judge her as guilty of a crime. But the issue now is whether the person at the center of the I.R.S. scandal should be now trusted with managing a key component of the Affordable Care Act in light of her failure in her last assignment, and the answer is obviously “Are you joking? Of course not!”

Yet Dan Pfeiffer, and thus the White House, expects us to believe otherwise. This may be res ipsa loquitur too. The statement itself communicates a Bizarro World concept of leadership that is completely divorced from results and accountability. It seems cruel to say so, but it appears to be the operational definition that President Obama measures his own efforts by, as well as the one that he appears to have had some success in inflicting on members of the public. Only thus could acting I.R.S. commissioner Steven Miller think he could get away with telling Congress under oath that Ingram deserved her bonuses and promotion while also saying that the division under her supervision delivered wretched service. And why shouldn’t he think that? After all, as Bob Schieffer pointed out to Pfeiffer on “Face the Nation,” the Obama Administration greedily insists on all credit for the things that go well, but refuses to accept responsibility when results are unsatisfactory. In the last election, that approach persuaded a majority of voters as well. 

Societies throughout history have come under various self-destructive delusions, but the one that the Obama Administration wants us to embrace is one of the worst: leaders and managers are not accountable for the failures of the people and organizations which they lead and manage. It’s a marvelous concept for incompetent leaders and managers, but for everyone else, it is a disaster waiting to happen.

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Source: Washington Times

10 thoughts on “The Peculiar Delusion of Dan Pfeiffer, a.k.a. “The White House”

  1. My favorite Obama/Democratic Party trope/talking point of late is that “these ‘controversies’ the Republicans are ginning up will only detract from the President’s ability to move forward with his agenda.” His “agenda?” What agenda. He has one?

    • He has an agenda. It’s the same agenda as the left agenda, so of course they don’t think of it as an agenda, but as manifest truth. Anything that furthers the agenda is good. From that point of view Obama’s a great leader.

  2. My favorite Obama/Democratic Party trope/talking point of late is that “these ‘controversies’ the Republicans are ginning up will only detract from the President’s ability to move forward with his agenda.” His “agenda?” What agenda. He has one?
    *****************
    He does.
    All of a sudden he is worried about jobs.
    If this wasn’t so pathetic it might be funny.

  3. Sockpuppet Carney is back out on his Lying Sack of Crap Tour today.
    He claims the president wasn’t informed of the IRS issue because telling him would be implying that he do something about the problem.

    Now how is it that Bush was responsible for the Katrina failures but this president somehow has nothing to do with what his underlings get up to when they are bored at work?
    Also, does anyone really expect the truth from a known liar?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/irs-investigation_n_3308037.html?1369077709&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D315903

  4. What gets me is that Pfeiffer was sent out on a whirlwind tour of no less than five Sunday political talk shows with these same talking points. One has to assume, then, that this was not only White House sanctioned, but mandated. Didn’t anyone recheck Pfeiffer’s litany and say to themselves, “This’ll go over like a lead balloon”? There are only three elements here that can account for this; stupidity, arrogance or corruption… or a combination of these! I think Pfeiffer was honestly surprised when even Bob Scheiffer took him to task on some of his claims. Even Obama’s biggest media allies seem to have reached their limit when it comes to carrying his water for him. The rats seem to be deserting the sinking ship. All Pfeiffer did was manage to kick a new hole in the hull.

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