Obama Presidency Ethics Trainwreck Update: On Ebola, Government Competence, Patterns and Panic

Panic-attacks-button

The well-established pattern of the Obama administration has been ineptitude followed by denials and dishonesty, culminating in efforts to blame someone else. This is a familiar sequence in management incompetence, and it is one reason why incompetence is unethical. Not doing a job well is not itself unethical unless one falsely creates trust that the job will be done well, refuses to admit that it was not, and continues to be incompetent by avoiding both accountability and self-criticism.

As I have written here too often, this is the tragic history of Barack Obama’s Presidency, once regarded with such hope, now an abject lesson in how good intentions and optics are not enough to lead a nation. Since the last time I made an accounting, there have been several more serious fiascos born of miscalculations, naiveté, lack of diligence, and outright laziness, as indeed I predicted years ago that there would be. What I said was the effects of cumulative lax management, incompetence, political manipulation and arrogance were cumulative, and that we would see more and more results as time went on. This took no great acumen on my part: it did require astounding partisan bias and misrepresentation by so many pundits and journalists to deny it. Let’s see: since the last full accounting we have seen Russia’s slow-motion invasion of the Ukraine, the illegal Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange, the Iraq implosion and the rise of ISIS, the bizarre American “plan” to deal with it, the swarming of the border by illegal immigrants, and the revelation that the Secret Service is untrustworthy. Does even worse lie ahead?

Of course it does.

Thus the assurances that the country’s health authorities are handling the Ebola threat with proper thought, efficiency and care can only be accepted ay face value by someone who intentionally rejects the life lesson of “Fool me 2,438 times, shame on you.” I now the Washington Beacon is a conservative news and commentary source, but writer wrote truth and common sense in a recent column titled, “The Case for Panic.” He wrote in part…

This is the template of recent events. A mental case jumps the White House fence. He makes it to the East Room before he’s tackled by an off-duty Secret Service agent. Initial statements turn out to be misleading or false. We discover that lapses in security are much worse than previously understood, that in recent memory the White House was sprayed with bullets, and that an armed man with a criminal record rode in an elevator with the president. The official in charge of the Secret Service, promoted for reasons of affirmative action, resigns hours after the White House expresses its confidence in her abilities. The overriding impression is of disarray, confusion, bad management, failed communication, anomie, disillusion, corruption, and secrecy. But do not worry. Things are under control.

The elevator? It was in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where the president told the American people that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not a threat to our country. President Obama said the chances of Ebola appearing in the United States are “extremely low.” If a carrier somehow finds his way to the 50 states, “We have world-class facilities and professionals ready to respond. And we have effective surveillance mechanisms in place.” Two weeks later…the president was proven utterly wrong.

Again, the authorities behave irresponsibly and inscrutably. Again, the faces on our televisions say there is no cause for alarm….

I have a second opinion. Not only do I disagree with the constant stream of soothing and complacent rhetoric …I also believe it is entirely rational to fear the possibility of a major Ebola outbreak, of a threat to the president and his family, of jihadists crossing the border, of a large-scale European or Asian war, of nuclear proliferation, of terrorists detonating a weapon of mass destruction. These dangers are real, and pressing, and though the probability of their occurrence is not high, it is amplified by the staggering incompetence and failure and misplaced priorities of the U.S. government. It is not Ebola I am afraid of. It is our government’s ability to deal with Ebola.

I know I have written about this too much too, but I really can’t figure out why intelligent people, yes, even the most progressives of progressives, wouldn’t heartily agree with this. To do otherwise is to deny reality and experience, to be so dedicated to the success of a leader, a philosophy, an ideology and a political movement that one  is incapable of changing course, even when it is vividly apparent that the course leads over a steep cliff. Is it really so hard to say, “Yup, I was sure wrong about that!” Is it hard because it means admitting that someone you really detest was right? Is it hard because some cherished beliefs may not hold up after all?

Continetti lists some of the reasons why he is skeptical:

“Over the last few years the divergence between what the government promises and what it delivers, between what it says is happening or will happen and what actually is happening and does happen, between what it determines to be important and what the public wishes to be important—this gap has become abysmal, unavoidable, inescapable. We hear of “lone-wolf” terrorism, of “workplace violence,” that if you like your plan you can keep your plan. We are told that Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration, that al Qaeda is on the run, that the border is secure as it has ever been, that Assad must go, that I didn’t draw a red line, the world drew a red line, that the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups involved not a smidgen of corruption, that the Islamic State is not Islamic. We see the government spend billions on websites that do not function, and the VA consign patients to death by waiting list and then cover it up. We are assured that Putin won’t invade; that the Islamic State is the jayvee team of terrorism; that Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction; that there is a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.”

Where is the flaw in this assessment, the unfair conclusion? I don’t see it, but then, I’ve been watching these events unfold, and periodically called attention to what their larger implications were.

Maybe the Obama Administration really has a firm, competent grasp on the Ebola problem. Anything is possible. If prior patterns are a fair basis for guessing, however, I think there is reason to panic.

I think there was reason to panic a long time ago.

___________________________

Sources: Washington Free Beacon

12 thoughts on “Obama Presidency Ethics Trainwreck Update: On Ebola, Government Competence, Patterns and Panic

  1. “I know I have written about this too much too, but I really can’t figure out why intelligent people, yes, even the most progressives of progressives, wouldn’t heartily agree with this. To do otherwise is to deny reality and experience, to be so dedicated to the success of a leader, a philosophy, an ideology and a political movement that one is incapable of changing course, even when it is vividly apparent that the course leads over a steep cliff.”

    When an entire ideology is based on denial of reality, it’s hard for it’s proponents not to deny reality…

  2. Because it’s important to preserve the myth of invincibility, if only in their own ranks. An ideology that supports itself in large part on the idea of always being right can’t admit to not being right, because then skeptical supporters peel away and even believing supporters start asking uncomfortable questions. Europe fled before the Turks until Lepanto shattered the myth of Turkish invincibility and started them down the long slow slide into the Third World. The United States thought Lee was unbeatable until Gettysburg showed he wasn’t. Hitler built on the myth that Germany was only beaten in 1918 by treachery at home and not anything that happened on the battlefield.

    Take away the myth that Obama is the greatest thing that ever happened to the United States, and the left has to face the fact that it’s greatest achievement of the last three decades was not such a great achievement, was based on a foundation of lies, and maybe was ill-concieved from the start. Once that domino falls they lose the center and the game becomes the other side’s to lose.

    While they can’t keep the Obama messianic myth alive, they can keep all that bottled up, so its in their best interest to save his reputation at all costs, even if it means half-assing the job in Iraq and throwing the intelligence community under the bus.

    • The really amazing spin is the approach in which only one side of any equation matters. This was what Van Jones was saying, smugly, as he says everything smugly, regarding health care and the ACA. “How do Republicans counter the fact that people have health care insurance now who never had it before?” That’s it, then? That’s how we assess a policy, if it accomplishes broadly what its regulations couldn’t help but do in many cases? The fact that it may be too expensive, explode the debt, take away the autonomy of the rest of the population, lead to job losses, destroy comity in the political process, cause systemic breakdowns, require the violation of the Constitution, was based on lies—none of this counts, because a law forced people to sign up for health insurance whether they wanted to or not? No wonder the President can say—“see? I took out troops out, and war is over!” and think that’s an achievement, no matter what international chaos it may cause. If the objective is to have no troops fighting, and consequences don’t matter, the policy is a success!! Is it possible they actually think this way?

      • The really amazing spin is the approach in which only one side of any equation matters. This was what Van Jones was saying, smugly, as he says everything smugly, regarding health care and the ACA. “How do Republicans counter the fact that people have health care insurance now who never had it before?” That’s it, then? That’s how we assess a policy, if it accomplishes broadly what its regulations couldn’t help but do in many cases? The fact that it may be too expensive, explode the debt, take away the autonomy of the rest of the population, lead to job losses, destroy comity in the political process, cause systemic breakdowns, require the violation of the Constitution, was based on lies—none of this counts, because a law forced people to sign up for health insurance whether they wanted to or not?
        ******************
        This is why I have zero respect for idiot Liberals.
        The only type of person still supporting Obama is an INCREDIBLY STUPID person.

      • I think it goes back to the very short-term, selfish, and ideological, rather than long-term and pragmatic, approach of the current administration. They came in in 2009 with some very specific goals in mind, and ending the war in Iraq and instituting a national health plan were at the top of the list. By hook or by crook they were going to get done, and they were going to get done in time for Obama to be able to run on them in 2012.

        Unfortunately they didn’t take the question of other effects of these goals into account, and, if Leon Pannetta’s early book release statements are to be believed, they dismissed contrary advice from their own experienced appointees in the name of reelection. It is completely possible, maybe even certain, that they think that way.

        To this day I still can’t have a rational conversation with any of the black staff in my office, who always lead with either “you can’t stand the fact that a black man can succeed, end of discussion” or “Obama was handed a mess and did the best he could, end of discussion.”

  3. The supporters of the liberal way can’t allow themselves to think. They must toe the line, they have ridden on the tiger’s back this far, they don’t dare get off now.

    The head of the CDC insists that we can’t issue a travel blackout to Ebola-infected areas because the more possible Ebola carriers that enter the country, the slower it will spread. If we reduce the number of cases that enter the country, it will cause it to spread out of control. This was offered with no evidence or even examples of when this strategy has worked. In fact, the CDC policy was the exact OPPOSITE of this strategy until the current administration changed their minds. The corruption of agencies like the CDC, where politics now dictates science is another warning flag.

    • So, increasing the number of possible cases entering American decreases the likelihood of an American outbreak?

      Wait…what?

      Is that sort of like saying increasing the number of times I roll the dice decreases the number of times I roll a 6?

      What?

    • Do you have a cite for that? The closest I can see is a note that restricting outward travel from a country can increase the spread within that country, which could be a bigger long term thread. I still think it’s stupid, but not quite as much.

      • That makes some mathematical sense just like popping a balloon releases the internal pressure of the balloon but allows the whole room to be exposed to what was inside. It just doesn’t make sense in terms of “triage ethics” however.

        Quarantine/closing a country is basically triage on the global level. Just like “war ethics”, “triage ethics” force us into an uncomfortable mathematics where we don’t have enough time, people OR resources to keep all innocent people from being affected, so we have to count some of the innocent in with the lost to keep a wider volume of innocent unexposed to the dangers. Sorry they are stuck in the meat-grinder…we’ll send what comfort and what solutions we can, but we math and nature simply won’t allow us to save everyone *in that location*, but math and nature does allow us to keep everyone *outside that location* from being unnecessarily exposed.

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