A Meditation on Disinformation, Taking Responsibility, & Apologies

Polling since the second debate has been fascinating. While every “snap” poll gave the overall debate to Obama by small margins, those same polls show that Romney won in basically every category, from how to handle the economy to taxes to security. In some cases, the numbers weren’t even close. How then did Obama gain a “victory” when the particulars show differently? It all comes down to perceptions. Since he was aggressive, he won points for that, but it seems the voters don’t really believe he has any solutions.

If not for the Libya stumble at the debate, the overall number might have been different. Romney didn’t handle that question well, focusing as he did on the president’s Rose Garden statement when he should have stuck exclusively to the trail of evidence from September 11 through the  couple of weeks that followed the terrorist attack. Of course, it is increasingly clear that Obama had some inside help from the moderator, Candy Crowley:

No moderator should ever interrupt a candidate with a presumed “fact check,” particularly when the fact check is inaccurate itself. Crowley as much as admitted afterward that Romney was essentially correct in his statement that Obama never specifically acknowledged the Libyan murders to be a terrorist act. He spoke about acts of terror in general, but the main thrust of his statement that day was on the so-called provocation of the anti-Muslim video on the internet. He continued to spread that disinformation for at least two weeks, culminating in his UN speech on September 25.

After the debate, Obama went up to the man who raised the question of the security status at the Libyan consulate and told him that the reason he didn’t call it terrorism from the start—which, by the way, reversed what he said in the debate—was that he wanted to get all the facts first, and that he was sensitive to not spreading disinformation. Huh? From September 11 through at least September 25, he was the master of disinformation. Even now, he has found it difficult to boldly declare the event a terrorist attack. This is reminiscent of the way he handled the Ft. Hood massacre. Anytime there’s evidence of Islamic radicalism behind an act, he instinctively recoils from “pre-judging.”

Did anyone notice that he never really answered the question the man asked him at the debate? It had to do with the lack of security at the consulate on the president’s watch. Obama avoided addressing that directly, and then when Romney critiqued him for the security lapse, the president’s rejoinder was to become indignant and deliver a “how dare you accuse me of not caring about our embassy personnel” diatribe. It was a forceful statement, to be sure. It was also devoid of any facts to back up his indignation. He chose bluster over substance.

The question remains: why was security so lax?

Hope can only go so far.

Finally, just prior to the debate, someone stepped up and took responsibility, at least technically.

Quite conveniently, Hillary Clinton said she was accountable for the security problem, not the president. I do agree that it was her task to look out for the safety of our diplomatic personnel, but whose orders was she following? It’s always nice when underlings take the entire blame, but it never relieves the one in charge of ultimate responsibility no matter how much he may want to pawn it off on others.

I suggest that President Obama now undertake another apology tour, only this time it should be directed to those who actually are owed an apology:

We apologize also, Mr. President. Please forgive us for putting someone in the highest office in this land who combines a radical ideology with massive incompetence. You weren’t qualified for the job you now hold and we are responsible for placing you there. On November 6, we would like to deliver that apology to you in person—on a massive scale.