It Doesn't Add Up

President Obama dodges accountability for his failures too easily

A dangerous cultural trend is emerging from President Obama's presidency, and it sets an irresponsible tone for all Americans. It's unaccountability. While he's not the first to be politically unaccountable, Obama has taken it to new levels.

When Obama became president, many Americans had high hopes. Surely this biracial man with his mantra of "hope and change" would set a new tone for the operations of government and serve as an example for all Americans to emulate. Five years of Mr. Obama's presidency have demonstrated just how mistaken that assumption was, and America has suffered for it.

I first came into contact with the president's lack of accountability while debating current affairs six summers ago with Obama's Chicago representative and famous author Joseph Ellis on an NPR interview. The discussion centered on the president's spending plans and my argument that balanced federal budgets were preferable to unbalanced budgets because the national debt isn't increased. Ellis argued that the only reason I opposed the Obama spending plan was because Obama is of African descent. Incredulous, I objected that policy differences didn't equal racial bias, and that such an excuse lacked accountability.

That was my initial exposure to the series of unaccountable events that would follow.

The latest Obama mismanagement excuse results from the falsification of documents affecting sick and wounded veterans at multiple VA hospitals. The president's knowledge of excessive wait times and backlogs was evident during the 2008 presidential campaign, when candidate Obama lamented that such VA backlogs were a disservice to veterans and vowed that his administration would fix it. Now Obama is simultaneously outraged about this appalling situation yet complicit by his five years of inaction. Obama inaction equals Obama unaccountability.

Benghazi is the ultimate measure of unaccountability because four Americans died there, with little explanation of how it happened. Obama's assurances that the killers would be brought to justice have rung hollow after 20 months. The evidence of White House involvement in the "video excuse" was ultimately revealed via a federal court lawsuit. The video was a ruse to detract from the ultimate Benghazi obligor — the Commander in Chief. In this case, he was unaccountable for United States personnel in harm's way.

When Internal Revenue Administration officials clearly targeted conservative groups for audit and politically delayed tax-exempt approval, Obama said it was due to lower-level agents in Ohio, in spite of a federal official in D.C. asserting her Fifth Amendment rights and refusing to explain such breaches. Congress still begs for document production from unaccountable IRS officials.

National unemployment levels have stayed frustratingly high since 2008, signaling that Obama economic policies have been unsuccessful. Through his spokesman, Obama has blamed the weather, George W. Bush and Republican intransigence, but not his own policies. Unable to right America's economic ship, the president resorts to the path of least resistance — unaccountability.

When Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, Obama said doing so would unacceptably cross the Obama "red line." Yet Assad remains in power with little discernible U.S. action. Obama's policies haven't deterred Russian President Vladimir Putin in his aggression against Ukraine. Obama's isolationist policies are masked by pugnacious but empty and unaccountable foreign policy rhetoric.

Who can forget the Obama false assurances about keeping your own health care policy and your own doctor in spite of Obamacare's unveiling? Examples of Americans suffering from the breach of that Obama unaccountability abound. The recent VA health care deficiencies (totally government-run) likely portend poorly for Obamacare. A friend from Holland recently told me it took six months to get a doctor's appointment there to receive an injection for his sore knee. Perhaps that's a vision of Obamacare's future under a government-run plan like that found in the Netherlands.

The Obama model of excusing mismanagement and incompetence by blaming others and ignoring accountability jeopardizes the very core of America's value system. America's way of life embraces a tradition of accepting responsibility, admitting mistakes and pledging atonement — and then being held accountable. With 42 percent of all births being out of wedlock and smaller percentages of Americans even expecting to vote in elections, trends toward unaccountability threaten to undermine American resolve and widen the gap between income groups, as more Americans choose government dependency.

Americans are often treated to the Commander in Chief of the United States of America asserting that he learns of his administration's failures "from the news." Surely this response cannot placate us. Surely it should outrage us. ♦

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition — Journey From Sketch to Screen @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 11
  • or

About The Author

George Nethercutt

From 1995-2005, George Nethercutt was the Republican Congressman from Spokane. He contributes to the commentary section of the Inlander.