Longtime Democrat Consultant: Obama’s White House is Incompetent Like Carter

Bob Shrum, a longtime Democrat operative, has decided that President Obama’s handling of the White House during this IRS scandal is bad. Maybe not “Nixonian” bad, but is instead a sort of Carteresque incompetence because of the way the President has handled these recent crises.

Shrum is a high powered, Democrat operative of the first order. He was a speech writer for such Democrat luminaries as George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, and worked on campaigns for Dick Gephardt, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bob Kerry, and John Kerry and more, so when he speaks a lot of folks in the media pay attention.

For The Daily Beast, Shrum starts his piece denying that Obama did anything wrong with the IRS targeting of conservatives. He insists that Obama didn’t direct these attacks on his enemies and claims he had no idea it was going on. Shrum is going with blaming the “low level operatives in Cincinnati” explanation.

“For the White House, there is no crime here, there is no scandal, no matter how feverishly, irresponsibly, or demagogically the GOP labors to concoct one,” Shrum insists.

But once he gets past that disclaimer, he warms to his Obama-as-incompetent theme.

“This is not a case of Nixonian indifference to the Constitution, the law, and the president’s oath of office,” Shrum decides. “But it does look like a reprise of Cartersque incompetence, increasingly so as we learn more about how the White House staff handled–or mishandled–a crisis they knew was coming.”

Shrum points out that the whole cascade of lies from Obama’s underlings about who knew of the IRS scandal and when they knew it was a Keystone Kops version of crisis management.

First White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler claimed she knew but didn’t tell the president in order to “shield him” from the scandal. But then we found out that Ruemmler had actually briefed Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough and other aides before that timeline. Worse, we found out still later that officials in the Counsel’s office had known even sooner than Ruemmler. Next we found out that Obama’s staffers and the Treasury Dept. had conferred even earlier than that on how to handle the soon-to-break story. A lot was known about the coming scandal for far longer than Obama’s White House at first claimed.

So, as each day passed we got a new story on who knew about the actions of the IRS and when they knew it. This drove Shrum to say, “it’s hard to credibly contend that the White House strategy here, if you can even label it that, has been a model of crisis management.”

Shrum goes on to detail how the President should have handled the IRS scandal, all of which is based firmly on the unproven claim that Obama didn’t know anything about the actions of the IRS until “he learned it in the news” like the rest of us did. But Shrum ends firmly scolding the incompetence of this administration.

On the IRS, the course probably will be longer than it had to be. For the White House, the problem here resembles Carter, not Nixon. It isn’t about crime; it’s about competence. This president didn’t do anything wrong. But the West Wing sure didn’t do everything right.

Shrum’s bland assurances that nothing illegal occurred at the IRS aside, he is certainly right that this president and his entire administration wallows in incompetence.

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  • GarandFan

    Uh, if those folks are “incompetent”, would it not follow that the person who appointed them is also “incompetent”?

    And if the IRS ‘did nothing illegal’, why is there a “crisis”?

  • Someone left the juvenile delinquents to run the reform school…

  • jim_m

    I think they give them too much credit. If the obama admin were trying to help the country and make things better they would be incompetent Unfortunately, they are merely corrupt. What appears to be incompetence is just the coincidental effects of endless corruption and an attempt to set up a fascist state so they can plunder a defenseless citizenry.

  • Paul Hooson

    The truth always lies somewhere between what your friends and your opponents say about you.

    • jim_m

      Far more often the truth is found in the simplest explanation.

      In order for all the various scandals to be the result of incompetence, the obama admin would have to be the source of a multitude of errors and the victims of those errors would always have to be, by statistically improbable coincidence, always his enemies. He would have had to invest 100’s of millions of tax payer dollars, somehow always in the failing projects of his campaign donors, by coincidence.

      Either obama is the victim of such coincidence that a single individual winning every lottery in the nation on the same day would be more probable, or his admin is simply extremely corrupt.

      It is far easier to believe in his corruptness than it is to believe in such a long trail of improbable coincidence.

      Of course his defenders are so ignorant that they will easily believe in such coincidence. WTH, they believe in AGW, why not this? [Chico chimes in to prove my pooint. Either the left is deliberately lying to protect their lord and savior obama or they are hopelessly stupid.]

    • warnertoddhuston

      I find this axiom a load of crap. Would you say that about a serial killer if some folks thought he was a prince of a feller while others thought he was Satan himself? Would you say, “well, gosh, that serial killer must be some where between Satan and a saint”? I’d hope not. This nonsense that “the truth lies in the middle” is exactly the same kind of stupidity that we see that holds that political solutions ALWAYS lies between conservative and liberal. In fact, it is an anti-intellectual claim because it alleviates the person holding the ideal from having to think about what is being said by either side. So, no. “The truth” does NOT “always lie somewhere between” anything. Use your brain, not boring, brain dead axioms.

      • jim_m

        Truth usually lies in the opposite direction of wherever the left is pointing. “AGW is true”, “Che Guevera is an icon and role model”, “Mumia is innocent”, and on, and on….

  • LiberalNightmare

    I have just one question for all the liberals out there that thought it would be a good idea to elect a social climbing, oratorical genius of a constitutional scholar, with a history of voting present and no marketable skills beyond saying whatever it takes to get elected..

    Is it too soon to say “We told ya so”?

    • Brucehenry

      “Social climbing” — you mean “uppity,” right?

    • As your respondent throws a race card…

  • Commander_Chico

    Yah, Obama is incompetent, but he’s not GW Bush incompetent. That was the Mother of All Incompetence, the Bushies.

    • alanstorm

      I’m sure you believe that. Examples? Evidence?

      • Believing anything which originates at the soi disant cognoscenti veteran’s keyboard is a mistake. Nor does he ever provide actual evidence.

      • Commander_Chico

        Um, the Iraq War? Not getting Bin Laden?

        • alanstorm

          Please describe how finishing the Iraq war was “incompetence”.

          Not getting Bin Laden? Really? Not finding a guy doing his best to hide, while being aided and abetted by numerous sympathizers, in a part of the world we have little influence in, is “incompetent”?

          I’ve read many of your comments here, and you’re not always a blockhead. Why now?

          • Commander_Chico

            Starting the Iraq war was incompetence. Starting it without a plan for stabilization and exit was further incompetence.
            Iraq also diverted resources from getting Bin Laden and the other Al qaeda leadership, and from stabilizing Afghanistan. So, cascade failure.

            I will add Katrina as another example of incompetence, “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie.” “Brownie” was a political hack.

            Consider this question, asked by Andrew Bacevich: Bush was supposed to be a “conservative.” WTF did he “conserve” in his 8 years in office?

            Obama’s incompetence involves not cleaning up the banking / financial system, getting involved with Syria (not all played out yet), and the misspent spending on the Stimulus (too much to social programs, not enough on infrastructure). But none of that measures up to the colossal Bush Iraq / Afghan / Al Qaeda failure.

          • Rdmurphy42

            Of course, the standard lefty reply. But … BUT .. BUSH!!!!!!!

          • jim_m

            One need only look as far as Chico to get proof of that. All of obama’s failures are still Bush’s fault. He cannot stop himself from reflexively blaming Bush for every evil on earth for the last quarter century.

          • Rdmurphy42

            In 2030, you will still have Libs going But … BUT … BUSH!!!!

          • Commander_Chico

            It will take a lot longer than 2030 to recover from Bush’s disastrous presidency.

            We’re still suffering from the Johnson and Nixon presidencies.

            Heck, in 2030 we’ll be learning Chinese because of the ruin Bush brought upon American power – military, economic, moral.

          • jim_m

            More accusations no details. Ideology trumps fact once again.

            Several years ago Deutsche Bank produced a study forcasting what the world’s economies would look like over the next 25 years. By the year 2035 China would be in decline, having never become the world’s largest economy. The study cited the fact that China’s demographics were so distorted from the ‘one family, one child’ policy that they would never be able to support their aging population. It also cited the highly suspect nature of Chinese economic numbers and questioned whether or not the current levels of growth were in fact accurate.

            Lots of idiots believe that China is the economic model for the next 200 years. Chico, and they are fools. If anything, China will become far more dangerous as their economy enters irreversible decline due to unsustainable social policies.

            We area already seeing companies move manufacturing to alternative nations other than China because the cost of labor is reaching the tipping point where it is no longer advantageous to manufacture goods there and transport them to the necessary market. Chico just displays his ignorance as he spouts leftist party line.

          • Commander_Chico

            “Several years ago” Deutsche Bank was one of the largest purchasers of sub prime mortgage securities. Shows you what they know.

            Foreigners are buying up the USA because of our abysmal balance of trade. The Chinese just literally bought our bacon.

          • jim_m

            That’s right. Start with the ad hom attack on the information source rather than addressing the substance of the claim. Never mind that the people who do forward thinking analysis of global markets are almost certainly not the same people involved in mortgages. Chico doesn’t want anyone to think of that fact.

            What a total, ignorant loser you are.

          • Commander_Chico

            I believe my eyes. The Chinese are everywhere in the world and they are taking over. The USA doesn’t make much anymore and lives on money borrowed from China. That is pretty damn simple.

          • jim_m

            Yeah, that’s why google chose to build the assembly plant for their new smart phone in the US, because the Chinese “own everything”. Moron. Say something more to prove how ignorant you are about the world.

          • alanstorm

            “Heck, in 2030 we’ll be learning Chinese because of the ruin Bush brought upon American power – military, economic, moral.”

            Let’s assume, as you do, that it’s all GWB’s fault. According to lefty idiots, (sorry for the redundancy), Obama is a genius, a lightworker, the smartest man EVER! Why hasn’t genius-boy been able to fix this? Don’t try to blame the republicans; he had two full years with a fully-prostrate Congress, and, hey, he’s the smartest man EVER!

            Funny how GWB frustrates him at ever turn, five years later.

          • Commander_Chico

            Obama has also made mistakes – did not get out of Afghanistan, misspent Stimulus money. It’s just that those f-ups are not of the magnitude of Bush f-ups.

          • jim_m

            Yeah, because obama would rather let OK tornado victims starve than to let non government relief reach them and that is SO much better than Bush.

            I will agree with Chico here: Bush may have been incompetent. However, obama is simply evil, wishing death on Americans rather than trying to help (kind of like Banghazi now that I think of it).

            At least Bush tried to help.

          • Commander_Chico

            Shit, the CBP took some Basmati rice I bought in Toronto out of my car, too.

            Customs and agricultural regulations are what they are. You can’t bring German sausage into the USA on a flight from Frankfurt, either.

            Fake outrage about long term policies is just a form of bullshit.

          • jim_m

            The food was donated from Heinz Canada. I think that they know something about importation of food. This was nothing more than bureaucratic bullshit. And your excuse is a flat out lie. AGAIN.

          • Commander_Chico

            Yeah, it was bureaucratic bullshit. The same bullshit that took my Basmati rice that I bought in Toronto in 1996.

          • jim_m

            Why does it not surprise me that you see an equivalence between a your losing a bag of rice and 20 tons of food meant as relief for tornado victims sent by a major food manufacturer being refused at the border? What a self-centered ass you are.

          • Nah, he doesn’t wish death on Americans!

            “Oh, wait – that uh, flyover country shit? I, uh, thought that wasn’t the United States. Uh, isn’t it just East and West Coasts, and Chicago? Man, you mean I’ve got to fake about caring about them ALSO?”

          • I tried to warn you…

    • jwbi1001

      You know Chico I can respect an honest rejection of the Iraq conflict but you are not honest. You rant and rave about Bush and Iraq but never accept that the situation in Iraq and Sadaam specifically was very bad. He had not just threatened to invade his neighbors he had actually done it, twice. He hadn’t just threatened to use chem weapons he actually did use them. He didn’t just threaten his own people he actually killed them in very large numbers. He didn’t just threaten to kill a US president he actually did attempt to kill a president. If you had just once acknowledged that people could disagree on Iraq with good intention it would be different. You act as if there were absolutely zero reasons to suspect Iraq of bad intention and I find that ridiculous. Now having said all that, my own position is I wish we had found another way I wish we had not risked so much and gained so little. But I don’t for one second believe that leaving this monster alone was in any way shape or form a good idea. It’s past time you moved on you don’t have a clear mind on this it’s totally clouded by BDS and hatred.

      • jim_m

        All the reasons you list, especially the attempt at assassinating a GOP President are exactly why Chico supported Saddam and believes that taking him out was a mistake. Leftists are always in favor of assassinating non-leftist Presidents (ALWAYS).

        And Chico believes that it doesn’t matter how many millions of innocent lives are being lost, if it diverts one penny of government funding that could otherwise be used to secure his personal benefits it is misspent trying to save those innocent lives.

        • Commander_Chico

          More “innocent lives” have been lost because of the invasion and resulting chaos (1000 in May 2013) than because of Saddam.

          • jim_m

            Funny. You care about innocent lives being lost when the US overthrows totalitarian dictatorships but you don’t complain about the lives those dictatorships destroy. And you find both totalitarian dictatorships murdering their people and obama stopping food aid for tornado victims so they can starve as better than freeing people from oppression.

            I thank you for validating my previous statement.

      • Commander_Chico

        Saddam was contained. The USA gained nothing – lost a lot. Iran now controls Iraq, which is in disorder, with 1000 Iraqis killed in May.

        Note that I also say it wasn’t just the idea, it was the execution. There was no plan for the day after the fall of Baghdad.

        I suppose you could have got rid of Saddam the way Ghaddaffi was eliminated – with unconventional warfare.

        • jwbi1001

          You can not say that Saddam was contained, he may have had diminished military capability but there was no certainty that he had no weapons of mass destruction and delivery capabilities. It’s hard to trust a man that has consistently followed through on his threats. You have no balance here, your historical perspective is completely one sided.

          • Commander_Chico

            Saddam made many many more threats than he ever carried out. Remember, the USA was helping him in the 1980s.

            We do know Saddam did not do the 2001 US anthrax attacks. To me, that is one of history’s mysteries.

            There is “no certainty” of just about anything. The USA lost 4486 KIA in Iraq. Many more were maimed and suffering from TBI and PTSD. The war will end up costing about $2 trillion.

            Who’s benefiting now? The Chinese.


            The Iraq War was a colossal f-up in concept and execution.

          • jwbi1001

            Oh well like I said. You have a very familiar pattern that always ends up the same. Go back far enough (in this case 1980) to find the US at fault and rest your case there.

          • When one has as tenuous [non-existant might be more accurate] a relationship with the truth as our soi disant cognoscenti and veteran one can (and obviously does) say anything.

  • stan25

    Carter was incompetent, but the Obamaites are outright criminals. They get their legacy from the master criminal of Chicago. None other than Al Capone. All that bs coming from a man who only worked on two successful DemocRAT presidential campaigns.

  • Once again, what does it say about the Obama administration if the kindest thing you can say in their defense is that they’re incompetent?

    • jim_m

      It is not a real defense. It is a lie meant to excuse their criminal actions. No one on the left or the right really thinks they are incompetent.

  • Don’t know this Dumb ‘Scum’ fellow but do know BHO is stupid, strung out on drugs, incompetent as well as unlawful, criminal, just like all the Dems in the WH.

    As far as the IRS – how corrupt can you get?? huh!

    All smoke and mirrors, that after the smoke clears. reflects the WH.
    Guilty as sin.