Benghazi: The Facts as We Now Know Them

Most people, I’m sure, had never heard of Benghazi, Libya, until last month. But on September 11, 2012—the date of which was not coincidental—it became the latest scene of Islamic terrorism against the United States. Nearly seven weeks later, we are still discovering the details of what occurred, and with every new detail, the Obama administration’s response to it looks increasingly worse.

What do we now know? I’ll try to summarize.

  • The consulate came under attack shortly after 9:30 p.m.
  • There was no demonstration beforehand that got out of control; rather, this was a well-planned act of terrorism
  • No internet trailer for a video was the spark; it was designed to occur on the anniversary of 9/11/01 to show the ongoing hatred the Islamic radicals have for America
  • There were Al Qaeda elements involved with it; they probably were the masterminds
  • The White House, and President Obama personally, were monitoring what occurred via drone pictures, so they had real-time information
  • Not only did they have the drone to help see what was happening, but there were reports coming in from the ground at the scene of the attack
  • Three times personnel requested aid, knowing they were in a precarious situation
  • Three times that aid was denied even though it could have been sent in a timely manner since this attack continued for seven hours
  • As a result of the lack of aid, four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, were killed
  • Two of those who later died first defied the direct order to “stand down,” and staged a heroic rescue of consulate personnel, taking them from the consulate to the annex a mile away, saving the lives of those personnel

Incredibly, the American government watched while these people risked their lives and did absolutely nothing to help them. We were then treated to at least two weeks of misinformation about the entire episode, with White House spokesperson Jay Carney, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Obama himself continuing to claim that this was in response to that video trailer. They knew for a fact the video was not the real cause for this attack. In the real world, we call that lying.

Even as late as September 25th, during his speech at the UN, Obama referred to the video six times while studiously avoiding calling it an act of terror. As the truth has leaked out, the administration has slowly, and painfully, backtracked on that scenario, but it has been a reluctant backtrack.

The big question has been “Why was the administration so adamant that this was not a pre-planned attack?” The best answer has to do with the campaign for reelection. The Obama team, knowing it has a losing hand on the economy, desperately needed a “win” in the foreign policy field. Their convention trumpeted the killing Osama bin Laden and the “fact” that Al Qaeda had been defeated. To admit Benghazi was a successful attack orchestrated by Al Qaeda would undermine their assertions and give them nothing positive to proclaim on the campaign trail. It would also destroy The One’s credibility even more.

Now they find themselves in an awkward situation, and they are going to have to depend more than ever on their biggest supporter to overcome this “bump in the road”: the media.

Obama can always count on the mainstream media to hide the truth from the public. The only—and I mean only—news organization that is digging up the truth on Benghazi has been Fox. All the other news outlets have given this episode only scant mention. Well, let me modify that. They were giving it good attention as long as the video was the centerpiece. Now that it appears this is a coverup of gargantuan proportions, they have shown little interest. On those few occasions when Obama allows any reporter to ask him questions, no one in the mainstream media feels any duty to press him on the Libya fiasco. He’s getting, as usual, a free pass.

In the midst of this “fog of reporting,” only the very brave few have ventured to lay the blame where it belongs. It’s always the president’s call as to when to send in the military to help. The night of this attack, President Obama was fully aware of what was transpiring, but he was the one who ultimately decided not to provide the aid that was required. He must shoulder the blame for those deaths because they could have been avoided. Yet he will never take real responsibility for his actions. Why do I know that? Because he never has for the last four years—for anything. It’s a pattern in his life. In his upside-down perspective, others are always to blame for whatever goes wrong; he is guiltless.

Obama’s very polished at manifesting faux outrage whenever anyone questions his actions [remember his well-practiced response on Libya in the second debate?], but the truth will eventually win out in this instance. Despite the media near-blackout, the word is spreading, and it can’t help but have an effect on the final vote one week from tomorrow.

Those Persistent Libya Questions

The Libya questions won’t go away, and for good reason. The timeline has gone something like this:

Shortly after our consulate was attacked with rather sophisticated weaponry, the administration’s line was that this was a spontaneous protest fueled by an obscure video trailer for a movie about Mohammed. All the blame was focused on that movie, and there was even some comment that it was a shame we couldn’t clamp down on such people because our First Amendment right of free speech got in the way:

Then that explanation began to unravel. Cameras on the scene revealed there was no spontaneous demonstration that morphed into an attack; rather, it was a full-scale, prepared act of terrorism. The administration tried to deflect attention away from the date of this act—September 11. No, they said, it was not done to commemorate September 11, 2001. And, by the way, we have taken Al Qaeda out of the picture. Bin Laden is dead; the organization has lost its teeth. At least that was the brave face put on it, as the Obama team didn’t want their candidate to appear impotent during his reelection campaign. However, that theme also began to fray at the edges when it became more obvious that Al Qaeda was indeed behind the attack, followed by the revelation that the people on the ground in Libya had repeatedly sought more security and had their request just as repeatedly denied. The intel was indicating that something was brewing, but the administration ignored the looming threat.

Hope that things would change was not enough. There was one thing that did change, though.

During presidential campaigns, we have gotten used to what the analysts have called “The October Surprise,” where one candidate comes up with something at the last moment to bolster his chances. The opposite seems to be happening this time around:

The latest installment in this tragic drama was the statement by Vice President Biden in last week’s debate when he said “we” had no knowledge of those requests for added security. The spin since then is that when he said “we,” he meant he and Obama hadn’t been informed about it. All the Obama people are now throwing the State Department—and by inference, Hillary Clinton—under the very familiar Obama bus, where others have been thrown in the last four years whenever anything threatened to expose the man at the top as ideologically radical, uninformed, or incompetent.

First, I don’t accept that definition of “we.” In context, it seemed pretty clear Biden was talking about the administration as a whole. For him to say nobody knew about the security request is ludicrous. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say the White House, per se, had not been informed. Why not? Why was the president and his national security team in the dark about this? What does it say about the nation’s leadership? What does it say about a president who has failed to attend nearly 60% of his daily intel briefings and who, on the very day the attacks were carried out and our ambassador was slain, flew to Las Vegas to meet with the Beautiful People for a fundraiser? Is this man even thinking about his day job?

Consequently, the administration has found itself in an unusual position: the press—or some of them, at least—are finally doing what the press is supposed to be doing—asking the right questions.

Since they’re not used to being held accountable for either their words or their actions, they seem more than a little befuddled as to how to respond. May I suggest a novel approach? How about telling the truth?

A Mature Electoral Decision This Time?

Yesterday was the day of shock. Top-ranking Democrats seemed to wander the nation unsure what to say or do in the wake of the Disaster in Denver. About the best the Obama campaign could do was to sponsor an ad that accused Romney of being mean. Well, what would you expect? They couldn’t exactly defend their candidate’s performance, so they dragged out the old canard of blaming the other guy. They’ve practiced it repeatedly the last four years with respect to George W. Bush, so why not use it again? Once you’re in the habit . . .

What they don’t want to admit is that they were trounced not just because of style or ability to debate, but that they had nothing substantially that they could legitimately defend when it came to the economy, and that was the primary subject of the debate. They already had a losing hand going in; the only suspense was if they could bluster and mislead cleverly enough to obscure the reality. It didn’t work.

Obama’s dismal appearance on that stage resurrected in the minds of some cartoonists the Clint Eastwood ploy at the Republican Convention:

This one had a slightly different take:

Obama was the student, Romney the instructor.

Even the media arm of the Obama campaign—otherwise known as MSNBC, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS,the New York Times, etc.—has had a tough time trying to swallow what took place. They seem off-balance. If only they would revert to genuine journalism, but that’s a rather fanciful dream:

I actually think the media organizations, in their desire to protect the One, did him a real disservice the past four years. He has never been challenged with any regularity throughout his 2008 campaign or his presidency by a media seeking truth. They’ve coddled him, which is something he has been used to throughout his life. As a result, when faced with genuine questioning of his policies and his truthfulness, he has had no practice in thinking how to respond. When you lead a sheltered existence, it comes back to hurt you in the end.

So now we’re told the Obama team is retooling in preparation for the next debate. They’re revising their strategy. We’ll have to wait and see how that works out. Some conservatives have warned to expect the full Chicago treatment from now on. What October surprise will they attempt? Even if they can’t come up with one of those, they have the old tried and true advantage:

The real question is whether the electorate will once again be swayed by the goodies. Or will we make a mature decision instead?

The Romney Rout

Last night’s presidential debate wasn’t even close. It turned into a Romney rout. That’s not merely my judgment nor the judgment of Republican backers of the candidate, but of practically the entire political world, Right and Left, and everyone in between.

When even Bill Maher—the million-dollar-Obama donor—tweets that the president needed his teleprompter, and radical celebrity filmmaker Michael Moore moans, “This is what happens when you pick John Kerry as your debate coach,” you know Obama had an awful night. It was so bad I almost questioned whether my personal beliefs were getting in the way of evaluating the debate without an undue bias. Obama just kept endlessly repeating the same tired talking points. He was uninspiring and flat. As many commentators noted afterwards, he acted like he didn’t really want to be there.

Romney was the polar opposite. He was eager to jump in and give his perspective on taxes, the deficit, Obamacare, and how to get the economy running again. He had reason to be eager; his command of the facts was superb and his delivery was forceful without being arrogant or overbearing. Further, he, at times, channeled a bit of Ronald Reagan when he lifted the debate above the mundane economic facts and spoke of his vision for the country. Particularly satisfying to me was his reference to the founding documents—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—and his pointed reminder that there is a Tenth Amendment in that Constitution that says the federal government doesn’t run our lives, that the states and the people, respectively, are to have most of the governmental authority. One cartoonist, before the debate, predicted the essence of what took place on that stage:

Insta-Polls taken by CBS and CNN immediately following the debate showed an overwhelming victory for Romney. CBS gave him a 46-22 edge; CNN’s poll was even more amazing: a 67-25 Romney advantage. A focus group moderated by Frank Luntz on Fox News stunned Luntz. The majority of the 20-odd people in his group said the debate changed their minds, and they were now planning to vote for the Republican challenger. He said he’d never, in all his previous experience, witnessed such a turnaround.

How is this going to affect the polling going forward? Will this debate prove to be the watershed event of the campaign season? Will public opinion begin to trend toward Romney? That all depends. There are two more presidential debates; Romney has to continue what he started last night if he’s going to seal the deal. He will still have to battle a media that desperately wants Obama to be reelected. Pollsters are going to have to be more honest in their samplings and realize this is not a 2008 electorate. A lot depends on how many of each category—Democrat, Republican, independents—they include in their polling. There’s also the character and leanings of the pollsters themselves to consider; questions can be framed in such a way as to lead the electorate to the “proper” answer:

Next on the docket is the lone vice-presidential debate on Thursday, October 11. Paul Ryan has to make sure he is as well prepared as Romney was for last night’s debate. Frankly, I would be shocked if he didn’t deliver as strong a performance as Romney’s; Ryan is well prepared all the time, since he practically lives and breathes policy. He has another factor working in his favor—he gets to debate Joe Biden.

Biden rather infamously, in a speech earlier this week, decried how the middle class has been buried the last four years, apparently forgetting who has been in charge all that time. Even some Democrats refer to him as a human gaffe machine. May he live up to his reputation.

Last night proves there is still hope for a genuine change. It’s now more than a four-year-old empty slogan.

The American Crisis & God’s Mercy

I noted yesterday that I don’t really believe those polls showing the president to be far ahead of Romney. I believe they are bogus, constructed with skewed samples. However, it cannot be denied that this race is either tied or Obama is slightly ahead. Considering the damage he has done to the country during his tenure, the fact that he could even be in the running is disturbing. It’s a warning signal for us as a people. What have we become?

I’ve spent countless hours over the past three-plus years attempting to show how he has led us to cliffs both moral and financial. Lately, his foreign policy has come to the forefront: his disdain for Israel, sympathy for Islam, and utter cluelessness with respect to the true nature of our enemies. I question whether he can even identify our enemies.

We now know that within twenty-four hours of the attack on our consulate in Libya and the murder of our ambassador there that the administration had all the intel it needed to conclude this was a terrorist attack associated with Al Qaeda. Yet Obama sent out his UN ambassador, Susan Rice, to all the Sunday talk shows to declare unequivocally there was no terrorism involved. This was all born of a horrible video about the prophet Muhammed, we were told. It took many days for anyone in the administration to say otherwise; Obama himself still hasn’t been able to articulate the “new” perspective. In his speech to the UN earlier this week, his focus was once again on the video and how it was the real cause of the inflamed passions in the Muslim world.

In Obamaworld, one cannot criticize Islam. He will feign commitment to the First Amendment right to free speech while simultaneously seek to punish those who exercise it in areas where he disagrees.

If anyone wonders why he is doing this, all you have to consider is that it’s campaign season. He doesn’t want anything to rock his world as he goes “forward.” Surely his outreach to the Muslim world has worked, right? He has reset our bad relations with other countries, correct? He is the anti-Bush, so everyone now loves us. The reality upsets his paradigm. And when it comes to dealing with the reality, he is still voting “present,” which was his favorite vote as a state senator. He really is the empty chair Clint Eastwood mocked:

 

Yet the only way most of the electorate will know about these failures and lies is to watch Fox News or other alternative internet sources. The mainstream media, both on television and in print, ignore his failures. They are on his side and are working actively for his reelection.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney can be slandered mercilessly without the media objecting, although I have to give credit to one media person who did ask the president if any of his campaign ads might cross a line. His response?

I’m sure he’ll now correct those misperceptions and deal honestly with Romney’s real record. Keep watching.

If this president is reelected, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. It will reveal once and for all the spiritual poverty that dominates in our nation. At root, this is a spiritual crisis. Our problems, whether economic, moral, or in foreign relations, all stem from our rejection of the Biblical worldview. Electing Mitt Romney doesn’t solve our deeper problem, but it at least will give us a chance to regroup; it will be a second chance. We have to pray for God to be merciful to a people who don’t deserve His mercy. Fortunately for us, His nature is to show mercy whenever He can. May He do so again. May we have that second chance.

Fascinating–and Unbelievable–Polls

Fascinating. Truly fascinating. And totally unbelievable. To what am I referring? Polls released yesterday indicate that Obama is ten points ahead of Romney in Ohio and nine points ahead in Florida. Why don’t I believe them? I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, are we really supposed to believe that a president who consistently shows weakness in polls about policy is that far ahead in these critical swing states? I mean, there’s an awful lot of baggage to consider:

But the media is fighting diligently for his reelection. Last week, when an audio tape surfaced of Obama in 1998 declaring his belief in redistribution, there was no pile-on by media elites. To them, this was not in the same league as Romney’s 47% remark. Romney was excoriated over that one, while Obama got his usual pass:

It is possible, of course, that the electorate is deaf, dumb, and blind to what has occurred over the last four years. In that case, these polls might be accurate. There are videos going viral right now showing Obama voters displaying their ignorance over the basic facts of American government, current policies, and even the identification of the candidates. So, yes, there is the possibility those polls are revealing this abysmal lack of knowledge and astounding ideological rigidity.

But there are solid reasons to question the accuracy of the latest round of polls. A look at the breakdown of those being polled reveals a stupefying oversampling of Democrats and undersampling of Republicans and independents. Most of the pollsters—not all, thankfully—and the ones who are receiving all the publicity, are using the 2008 election turnout as their basis for whom to poll. Well, 2008 was the high water mark for Democrat turnout. Is it even reasonable to assume the turnout will be the same for 2012? Not only is the energy level of Obama voters ebbing, but independents who went for him in 2008 are having a lot of second thoughts. Nearly every poll indicates they are disillusioned with the results of 2008.

What are the pollsters missing? How about the 2010 congressional elections? Remember those? That’s when the House turned Republican and Republicans increased their numbers in the Senate. It’s when Tea Party-backed candidates such as Marco Rubio stunned the political establishment. Florida voters put Rubio in office even as he ran not only against a Democrat, but also against turncoat Charlie Crist. Rubio, in that three-way race, still broke the 50% mark. Is that same electorate going to go strongly for Obama? Hardly likely. It seems to me that 2010 is a better marker for following the voting trend.

Think a minute. Has Obama done anything since the congressional elections to increase his popularity? The economic news remains dismal. His Obamacare mandates are forcing religious organizations to go against their beliefs, putting freedom of religion in jeopardy. He is currently being caught in a boldfaced lie about the real cause of the Libyan uprising.

It is manifestly dishonest to conduct skewed polling. It is a violation of sound journalistic practice to become a cheerleading squad for the president. I’ll be very interested to see what the true voice of the people is when the one poll that counts is tallied on November 6.

Romney’s Gaffe: Otherwise Known as Telling the Truth

Since I devoted all of last week to laying out the case against President Obama’s reelection, I didn’t have time to comment on some of the happenings in the campaign. For instance, there was this big hullabaloo over a remark Mitt Romney made about how 47% of the electorate is getting some kind of government assistance and won’t be as amenable to his message. He said they were basically in the tank for Obama.

That comment brought a storm of criticism from the media—the same media that is working actively on behalf of the Obama campaign. You would have thought, given the extent of the coverage of what they considered a “gaffe,” that this was the most shocking statement ever to come from a political candidate. They did their best to put his remark in the worst possible light and create anxiety in the electorate.

I do believe Romney exaggerated the numbers a bit, simply because he also counted those who are receiving Social Security, which is primarily getting one’s money back from the government after being without it for most of our lives. However, even those on Social Security often don’t want any boat rocking. They want nothing to touch what they were forced to hand over to the government all those years. That makes some of them skittish about any talk of real change in government spending and taxation. What Romney was really doing was pointing out a sad fact of American life in the twenty-first century: we are creating a nation of people who feel they are victims and who need the government to bail them out:

Therefore, Romney was correct in principle: those who receive a benefit want it to continue; they are more closely tied to the ones who are offering the benefit. In this case, the giver is the Obama money machine. Never mind, of course, that anything he gives first came from the people of the country—or from the printing press, as we churn out more of the greenbacks to pass around. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is on the job:

Unfortunately, this bad example could become contagious:

I’m impressed that Romney hasn’t backed down on the principle. The message needs to be spread far and wide, and with passion: it’s time to turn the corner away from government paternalism. If we accept the role of government as our father and provider, we regress into helpless children. We are in deep need of maturity. It’s time to reject paternalism and regain our self-government and self-respect.