October 28th, 2013

Obama: the president who wasn’t there

The headline reads: “President Obama Unaware of Spying”:

President Barack Obama didn’t know about the NSA spying on foreign leaders for years, and he put an end to it when the administration found out about the program, according to a new report.

The monitoring of 35 world leaders’ communications was brought to light during an internal review of NSA programs this summer, an administration official told The Wall Street Journal. Obama halted the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others immediately, and some remaining monitoring programs are being phased out, the official said.

I’ve lost count of the times Obama has used the “I didn’t know” defense, including its subset “I only read about it for the first time in the papers, just like you” (not being used here, but a real favorite).

Maybe it’s true that he didn’t know, maybe it’s not true. We certainly don’t know. But the pattern is one of either denial of knowledge or of actual ignorance. And the majority of Americans seem to have forgiven him enough to re-elect him; perhaps they identify.

Obama reminds me of this poem:

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

And he also conjures up one of my very favorite passages from the Mikado (I’ve cued it to start at the right spot; pay special attention to Pooh-Bah at 36:52):

We used to demand competency and responsibility from our presidents. Now we demand—what? Oratory and coolness, and—stuff?

28 Responses to “Obama: the president who wasn’t there”

  1. Eric Says:

    “Now we demand—what?”

    The Narrative.

  2. Boonton Says:

    IMO he probably didn’t directly know. I’m sure the President gets briefings on what the CIA and NSA think world leaders are up too, those briefings probably do not touch upon the question of ‘how do they know that’. Even if he did know, diplomacy probably demands that he pretends he didn’t know since world leaders demand that he make a show of ‘correcting’ the problem.

    But speaking of shows, I’m very skeptical that this isn’t the *norm* even among developed countries that are friends with each other. I strongly suspect the British, German, and French intelligence services aren’t just concentrating on potential enemies but also each other (the French, I understand, also take it a step further and try to help French companies by spying on their competition on their behalf).

    Does anyone remember when Obama was first elected there was a flury of stories about whether or not he would be able to keep using his Blackberry, which he didn’t want to part with? At the end of the day they settled on making some modificatications to accomodate his Blackberry. Somehow I don’t think the only thing they were thinking about was China or Russia trying to read his emails.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    Yet again the question becomes, “What did the president not know and when did he not know it?”

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    The benefit of the doubt cannot reasonably be extended to a congenital liar. in so many ways, the man’s entire life has been a lie and not only has he no remorse but clearly he revels in his ability to lie and get away with it.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    vanderleun:

    Touché !

  6. Paul in Boston Says:

    Obama, “I didn’t build that.”

    How come I can’t see a lot of your videos on my iPad? Can you fix that?

  7. JuliB Says:

    And if this was Reagan – “they” would be screeching non-stop.

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    If this was Joe the Plumber they would taking out the knives and axes. The Left protects their own though. American patriots need not qualify.

  9. Charles Says:

    Obama was too busy being a guest on The View with the gushing women who think he’s cute. Or perhaps, he was too busy playing basketball or golf?

  10. T Says:

    It’s a progressive affectation. What sells is the appearance of . . . .

    The ivy league credential implies knoweldge, whether learning occurred or not (forget about the gentleman’s “C”); living in Indonesia for a while as a child implies knowledge of foreign affairs; driving a luxury car implies the wealth to be able to afford it; disagreeing with a minority on an issue implies racism . . . and the list goes on.

    Above, Geoffrey Britain notes: “. . . [Obama’s] entire life has been a lie . . . .” Precisely! “Fake it ’till you make it” is the unwritten rule of many professions. Obama’s life is like the dog chasing the car—always in pursuit of. Well, he caught the car and for five years has had no idea what to do with it.

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    Changing the world is a tough job.

    Changing your own golf polluting ways, much harder than enslaving the world with American money and blood.

  12. Phil Dayton Says:

    Shouldn’t he fire those who authorized spying on the heads of allied states without obtaining the President’s permission?

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    The President needs Valerie Jarret’s permission first to do that.

  14. model_1066 Says:

    Ymarsakar Says:
    October 28th, 2013 at 3:17 pm
    Changing the world is a tough job.

    Changing your own golf polluting ways, much harder than enslaving the world with American money and blood.

    People who want to change the world only do so because they are too lazy or stupid to understand it to begin with.

  15. blert Says:

    Juicy capabilities such as the NSA has would have been brought to Barry’s attention almost from the outset for purely practical reasons.

    Some history is in order:

    GCHQ was breaking German transmissions and passing on the intel to Churchill — he was the Defence Minister as well as being Prime Minister.

    Churchill, as DM, would pass on this intel and ascribe it to Mr. X. (I forget the actual dummy name he used.) He discovered that his top generals refused to believe such intelligence — and were losing battles as a result. In fact, some of the North African battles blew up precisely because his generals convinced themselves that his intel was a spoof — and that the Germans would swing exactly the opposite way.

    Ultimately, Churchill found that he had to change the descriptor over to Ultra — and admit it was an intelligence built up from collective inputs, still not admitting that Britain was reading Rommel’s transmissions.

    During the battle of el Alamein Monty had to violate Churchill’s strict instructions to NEVER divulge the nature of Ultra. The South African corps commander (Smuts) refused to press the attack until Monty told him just how impossible the German situation was — and above all — just how Monty knew it with certitude. This event required Monty to leave his own HQ at the height of the battle to coax a subordinate general back into the fight. Smuts was thinking of his post-war political situation: heavy casualties would destroy his reputation.

    It’s for reasons like this that the NSA would have to explain to Barry why they’re intelligence reports HAVE to be given extreme weight. Without revealing their source methods, the President would simply ignore them. It’s happened before, to others, countless times. Think of Casandra.

    So, he knew.

    And Merkel knows he knew. As a college professor, figure her IQ to be about 170 — almost Thatcherish. BTW, both have their strong suit in Chemistry! What a coincidence.

  16. Ray Says:

    Obama has the worst case of innocent bystander I ever saw. He reminds me of Sgt. Hans Schultz, with his famous “I know nothing”, on the Hogan’s heros TV show.

  17. momo Says:

    He is black, what does it matter.

    Thank God he is limited to only 2 terms. I never thought I would feel good about 8 years of Hillary, but after Obama (the 1st Anti-American President) I will.

  18. blert Says:

    BTW, Banner/ Sgt Schultz used that line as a riposte to all of the Nazis at trial: they all “knew nothing.”

    It was THE constant refrain at Nuremberg.

    It was also the constant refrain of the general German public — even if they were living down wind of a rotting concentration camp like Belsen.

  19. blert Says:

    momo…

    We’ll be VERY lucky if Barry surrenders his crown on a timely basis.

    He’s rapidly removing every mechanism that would stop him from claiming a third term — because of a crisis — that he’d, of course, create.

    He’s already active in gutting our admirals and generals. The Navy is half laid up, the Army is no longer training!

    Nothing to see here, folks, move along, move on.

  20. Ray Says:

    Blert,
    Don’t forget the other refrain at Nurenberg, “we were just following orders”. Like the Park Service employee said as they baricaded the WWII memorial to keep veterans out.

  21. n.n Says:

    The corollary is that he is not responsible for anything, and therefore cannot legitimately be either culpable or praiseworthy. I wonder if Obama was present when he was both neutered and lobotomized.

  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    Do people actually think the Left has better candidates than Obama in store for you?

    Slavery isn’t about whether your Master is kind or nice. Slavery is about you kneeling down and Obeying.

    That will Never change.

  23. ghost707 Says:

    The benefit of the doubt cannot reasonably be extended to a congenital liar. in so many ways, the man’s entire life has been a lie and not only has he no remorse but clearly he revels in his ability to lie and get away with it.

    This.

  24. parker Says:

    Barry will kiss and make up with Merkel by sending her and Ipod loaded up with all his campaign speeches and Michelle’s favorite recipes for arugula salad.

  25. Kyndyll Says:

    Obama would have you believe that no one is more surprised than he is when he wakes up every morning in the White House. If they were still doing White House tours, random tourists would know more than he does about being the President.

  26. Richard Saunders Says:

    momo, you’ve got it wrong: the black half would never lie — it must be the white half!

  27. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Kind of sums it up:
    http://americandigest.org/sidelines/a_srwhz8d.jpg

  28. blert Says:

    http://47mb5740sj2k1xsfst40mqbb16bh.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DR-DIDNT-NO.png

    http://47mb5740sj2k1xsfst40mqbb16bh.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DR-KNOW-2.png

    Dr. Don’t Know. ^^^^

    Cute.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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