May 26, 2013

"This White House is so politicized that when it comes to a sort of a controversy like this, what they want to do is to get out a good story instead of getting out the real story."

David Gergen on "Face the Nation" today. (I've added italics that I hear in the audio.) Context (with my boldfacing):

BOB SCHIEFFER: David, you've seen a lot of controversies in your time in Washington. We had this IRS thing. We got the leaks investigation, all of the stuff going on. How do you think the White House has been handling it?

DAVID GERGEN (Harvard University): Not well, but I-- I do think it has to be put in context, Bob. Give them credit on one point and that is overall when you look back over the five years, this has been-- administration has been remarkably clean and-- and free of scandals and I think they do deserve credit for that. Having said that now that these events have come up, I-- I must say it's been a real surprise. We all think that the-- the Obama people do a superb job running a campaign but when it comes to running the government they can be so ham-fisted. It really sort of boggles the mind sometime. On these-- on these recent controversies, as you call them--and you know I have seen a lot of them--and they don't amount-- amount to Watergate, they don't amount to Iran-Contra. But they are important. They-- the government I think mishandled it in allowing these things to take place on the IRS front and allowing the things to take place with going after reporters. Then we came to the White House and how you communicate about this, I think-- you know, it's-- it's been a little stunning. I mean there's no-- they had to paraphrase in our world of journalism, what you need to do in the government when you got a bad set of facts on your hands you need to get them out-- you need to get the story out fast. But first you need to get it straight. And that's exactly what they haven't done. You know, they've had all these different conflicting stories and now we're into a third phase of this where we're not getting the answers. We don't know. I think right now the biggest thing they have to do: come clean. Tell us complete facts.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Michael Gerson:

MICHAEL GERSON (Washington Post): Well, I'd start by-- by reminding people that these are not second-term scandals, they're actually first-term scandals where the information on them was delayed until after the election for variety of reasons. So I don't know if that's successful or not successful in that-- in that political context. Clearly, they missed some classes in crisis management one-o-one. You're supposed to get information out before people even ask for it. You should have consistent explanations. But we need to remember two things: one of them is the Obama agenda was pretty much in trouble before the three scandals, if you look at what was going on at the time in budget negotiations, failure to pass gun control, or really overplaying their hand on-- on, you know, some other issues. So that's one thing. You know, this didn't create the problems. The second one is that messaging has limits here. You know communication-- sometimes you don't have a communications problem, sometimes you have a reality problem, okay. And we have an IRS that engaged in abuses and is stonewalling right now. And we have an attorney general that's deeply compromised and may have misled a congressional committee. I mean that's a serious set of accusations. These things are not going to be determined by what the White House--how it explains it. The facts are going to determine how this moves forward.

DAVID GERGEN: I agree with that. You know-- and my sense is-- Michael, I'll be curious about yours. My sense is that this White House is so politicized that when it comes to sort of a controversy like this what they want to do is to get out a good story instead of getting out the real story. And that that causes them problems. But if they just come with-- if they'd told us all the facts in the beginning on the IRS thing, I think they'd be in a lot less trouble right now.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think the President has hurt himself? Have these things hurt the President?

MICHAEL GERSON: Well, we're going to see how much they hurt politically. We can't really judge right now. We-- we don't know. I think that they've hurt the President philosophically. He has a certain view of the role of government. It's a benevolent government to help the middle-class and to help people rise in-- on the ladder of opportunity. Right now-- you know I'll point out two figures. One of them, according to Pew, the reputation or trust in government is at historically low levels and the scandals contribute to that. The second one is by a recent number more than twenty-two percent-- twenty-two percent of people more than that want to keep the law want to repeal Obamacare. That's a huge gap.

DAVID GERGEN: Summing up, it's widened.

MICHAEL GERSON: Right. It has widened in-- in recent months. Now-- so I think the President-- that's a tough message to bring into a midterm election when your philosophy of government is really under question and it's just a tough thing for American liberalism. At-- at the same time the President has expanded the role and reach of government that-- that we've had a declining reputation of government in America. I think those things are at odds.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You heard Senator Coburn say he thinks that the attorney general should not be in charge of this review of the leaks and so forth. I-- I actually agree with him on that. What-- what do you think?

DAVID GERGEN: I-- I think an outside group I'm not-- I'm not sure why a special counsel is needed on-- on the question of-- of the leaks. I'm not sure that there are any criminal laws that have been violated here. It's simply been a failure to observe the guidelines that were already in place and some-- and I think an outside group to do that. Question of special counsel arises more in the IRS situation and who is actually going to get to the bottom of this? Because right now we don't-- I think-- I think Michael's right. There is this-- it's in effect a crude form of stonewalling is going on.

65 comments:

Big Mike said...

Give them credit on one point and that is overall when you look back over the five years, this has been-- administration has been remarkably clean and-- and free of scandals and I think they do deserve credit for that.

Has it been free of scandals or has the press, which included Gergen of course, been reluctant to expose the scandals? IMHO the Bush administration was vastly cleaner than this one.

John Gout said...

I admit I'm conflicted. Under Bush I thought journalists should be imprisoned or poisoned. Under Obama that same thing is tyranny. Weird!

ErnieG said...

"...when you look back over the five years, this has been-- administration has been remarkably clean and-- and free of scandals and I think they do deserve credit for that. "

The record speaks for itself. It's just that the MSM was covering for them. During that time, Obama could have stuck up a liquor store and we would have never heard a peep.

Sorun said...

The White House is to government as Daily Mail is to journalism.

Jeff Teal said...

Big Mike and Ernie G my thoughts exactly.And Iknew it was going to be that way after the MSM let him off the hook for Rev Wright and Ayers.For five plus years they have let him skate so of course he sems clean.But green energy,crony capitalism.GM bailout and Health care waivers were never "clean".

Hagar said...

When you have lost Bob Schieffer and David Gergen, you have lost them all.

Issob Morocco said...

Why is David Gergen even being interviewed? He is the Dimmycrat version of Peggy Noonan.

My cat Smudgie would provide better insight and more contemplative discussion than Gergen who agrees with a counter argument to his first statement.

I guess the good interlocutors were busy. ..

Richard Dolan said...

Goog but not real is the policos' version of fake but accurate. Another excellent reason to ignore what they say and just pay attention to what they do.

Richard Dolan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think the President has hurt himself? Have these things hurt the President?

A better question is: "Has the President hurt the Presidency?"

That could be a good thing.

The Press has hyped the Presidency well beyond the powers granted in the Constitution. It's cheap and easy "news." The credulous Electorate have bought it.

A dose of reality, lowered expectations, and heightened skepticism toward Government amongst Low Information Voters would help us all.




edutcher said...

David gurgling went over to the Dark Side so long ago, Obi-Won was only Obi .25.

This White House is so politicized that when it comes to a sort of a controversy like this, what they want to do is to get out a good story instead of getting out the real story.

No, there is no good story and the real story would have them all in Leavenworth for the next century.

Give them credit on one point and that is overall when you look back over the five years, this has been-- administration has been remarkably clean and-- and free of scandals and I think they do deserve credit for that.

No, their handmaidens in the media have been remarkably lazy in doing their real jobs.

Chip Ahoy said...

I bet I can guess how your cat is named Smudgie, just like I guessed how my friend's cat is named Barfie.

Speaking of barfing, and who isn't?, Big Mike points out the spot where I dun it in my mind I barfed all over the place right at that spot reading.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Gergen still talks like an insider. His comments all seem to be filtered through the prism of what these scandals might mean for Obama politically. Absent is any estimation of what Obama's sins imply for the nation as a whole.

Michael K said...

I think it was Cecil B DeMille who had this administration pegged. He said, "The most important thing is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

Hagar said...

"The most important thing is sincerity. If you can fake that you've got it made."
--George Burns

David Gergen is registered as a Republican and makes a living going on TV news shows pretending to be a Republican.

Methadras said...

Whenever I see Gergen on the tube, he makes me laugh at what a phenomenal con artist he's turned into.

chrisnavin.com said...

You can lose Schieffer and Gergen, but there are some people over at Salon, TPM, The Times, people like Ezra Klein atthe Post etc. who really can't be lost or found.

They're wandering through the dark forest of true belief and they've bet a good hunk of their careers and reputations on the progressive agenda.

The Drill SGT said...

The best line I thought was: these are not second-term scandals, they're actually first-term scandals where the information on them was delayed until after the election for variety of reasons.

Whose fault is that? It wasn't a natural event...

Baron Zemo said...

I think Obama is in trouble because Gergen is the prototypical rat who will abandon ship when he thinks it is going down. As the ultimate Washington whore when he doesn't drink the Kool-Aid then we know they are in deep trouble.

To quote that great philosopher Michael Ray Richardson: "The ship be sinking!"

rhhardin said...

The administration has been clean from the beginning if you forget the beginning: the GM and Chrysler bondholders. No more rule of law. Every agreement is out the window, now and forever.

Saint Croix said...

this has been-- administration has been remarkably clean and-- and free of scandals and I think they do deserve credit for that.

He's like a Bubble boy!

Makes me want to see that Seinfeld episode.

"See, it's not really a bubble. A lot of people think it's an igloo. But it's really just a plastic divider."

"Can you go in the bubble?"

"Well, you have to put so many things on because of the germs."

"The gloves, the mask, it's a whole production."

virgil xenophon said...

@Hagar/

George Burns admitted once he got it from Louie B. Mayer, although most attribute it to Burns who, in truth, probably did the most to popularize the expression.

virgil xenophon said...

@Baron Zemo/

You're probably right about that weasel Gergen--the kinda guy that's the very first to sense even the slightest list..

wildswan said...

See, Obama's got something - charm. He can make people believe him. People can see through the charm and once the spell is broken, you never are fooled again. However a lot of people including people in Washington are still under the spell. And those still slaves to the charm are keeping up Obama's power.

Hagar said...

I thought it sounded like Oscar Levant, so I googled and came up with Burns.

Apparentlty, like most famous quotes, it is by someone else, and then someone else again.

Stephen Snell said...

"Give them credit on one point and that is overall when you look back over the five years, this has been-- administration has been remarkably clean and-- and free of scandals and I think they do deserve credit for that."

Wow. John Ehrlichman on 15 Sept 72 said something like: "When you look back and the history of this first term is written, in comparison to other administrations or by any other measure you'd want to apply, this has been an extraordinarily clean, corruption-free administration, because the president insists on that."

Phil 3:14 said...

Here's what I don't get, Gergan basically agrees with many of you and yet you still feel obligated to badmouth him.

Geez, who would want to agree with you.

David said...

I think Big Mike made most other comments redundant.

But I'll comment anyway.

You have to remember that this is a press corps that does not view things like this as scandalous: Pigford, Bengazi, blatant political campaign use of Air Force One, Fast and Furious, Solyandra, lying about Obamacare and generally lavish spending for the comfort and glory of the Obamas.

That's (part of) the stuff we know about.

Of them all, the blatant lies about the impact of Obamacare are worst.

Or maybe they didn't know that either?

Hagar said...

@Stephen,

And Ehrlichmann ("Honestman") was right, because to him and Nixon and his people in general, corruption was about money, and if you think back, the Nixon administration indeed was remarkably clean of financial shenanigans.

The Obama administration is the other way around; they take financial shenanigans for granted, but object to political ones - that is from Republicans; their own they do not notice as lefty Democrats are remarkably free of any sense of irony.

Drago said...

Phil: "Here's what I don't get, Gergan basically agrees with many of you and yet you still feel obligated to badmouth him."

LOL

Phil is asserting things that are not in evidence..

ed said...

@ John Gout

"I admit I'm conflicted. Under Bush I thought journalists should be imprisoned or poisoned. Under Obama that same thing is tyranny. Weird!"

It depends on the context.

When journalists expose critical national secrets that can harm the security of the country or the war on terror then yes they should be facing imprisonment.

When journalists expose wrongdoing in government then no they should not.

This is the same sort of difference between 'leakers' and 'whistleblowers'.

Robert Cook said...

"I think it was Cecil B DeMille who had this administration pegged. He said, 'The most important thing is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made.'"

Of course this is axiomatic...how else could Mitt Romney have become the Republican candidate for the presidency?

That aside...don't you think, Michael K., this is true of most or all Presidential administrations?

Lem said...

"This White House is so politicized that when it comes to a sort of a controversy like this, what they want to do is to get out a good story instead of getting out the real story."

Any other house and that would the excellent approach.

Robert Cook said...

"When journalists expose critical national secrets that can harm the security of the country or the war on terror then yes they should be facing imprisonment.

"When journalists expose wrongdoing in government then no they should not."


Most secrets revealed by the press have always had to do with exposing wrongdoing in government. Most information tagged as "secret" by the government has to do with concealing incompetence or malfeasance by those in power.

When has a journalist ever revealed a government secret that has harmed the security of the country?

Hagar said...

I think the thing about the Rosen warrant is that they went before a judge and swore out an affidavit that they believed he probably was a criminal and that they intended to prosecute him if they just could get the evidence, knowing full well that he would not meet any court's standards for criminal activity, and that even if he should turn out to qualify in some small way, they had no intention to prosecute as they would not get anywhere with it, either in a real court or in the court of public opinion.

Lem said...

The problem with the leak, if there was one, is that it was not made by the re-elect apparatus of the White House.

It appears to have been an unsanctioned leak.

In the aftermath of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, then defense secretary Robert Gates was agitated about the number of leaks that emerged from the White House about the details of the operation. As David Sanger relates in Confront and Conceal, the leaks were problematic because “the reaction in Pakistan grew uglier and uglier with every revelation of how long the operation had been planned and how the country’s leadership was deliberately left in the dark.” So Gates approached White House national-security adviser Tom Donilon and told him, “I have a new strategic communications approach to recommend.” Donilon asked what it was. Gates then memorably replied, “Shut the f*ck up.”

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Hagar,

And I think the thing about the Rosen case is that the administration was very anxious to keep Rosen from knowing they had access to all his email. They forbade Google from telling him about the email transfer, and managed to keep the warrant itself secret from Rosen. Obviously, since the leak they were ostensibly investigating is four years old, they wanted Rosen to keep using his government source(s) in ignorance of his account having been compromised, in hopes they could dip into the same well later on if it proved convenient.

The first two judges they tried to get to sign off on this scheme said no, but eventually they found a more compliant third.

G Joubert said...

The ways the wheels are coming off the Obama administration go way beyond the DOJ spying on reporters, which is what they seem to want to limit it to. Like it's occurring in a vacuum.

Lem said...

John Dean used the memorable cancer analogy.

I believe most Cancers spread... I could be wrong about that.

By the time bed bugs are discovered, you could very easily have an epidemic on your hands.

Just think... the discovery of the IRS shell game, came about because an internal audit was drifting out there, threatening to blow their front sky high.

Any other department/government entity, without internal mechanisms like audits, and there was potential for the White House to politically exploit it.

Who knows what else they done under the cover of "we are the ones we have been waiting for".

Lem said...

I mean... if they were willing to go to the extent that they seem to have gone with the IRS, to exploit a perceived advantage, knowing ahead of time that an audit might discover it.

They got balls.

Hagar said...

The first two judges they tried to get to sign off on this scheme said no, but eventually they found a more compliant third.

You reinforce my point. For the Justice Dept., who is supposed to lead by example to better things, it is very dishonest to swear to an affidavit they have no belief in.

wyo sis said...

After the recent confirming of what we suspected all along about Obama some idiot comes here to cast aspersions on Mitt Romney's sincerity.
That should help us recognize sincerity when we see it.

Lem said...

Remember the words Obama used post Newtown?

President Obama’s speech ... in Newtown, Connecticut was a forceful assertion that the politics surrounding guns (and gun control) must change.

“We can’t tolerate this anymore,” Obama said. “We are not doing enough and we will have to change.”

One sentence in Obama’s speech sums up his state of mind. “I’ll use whatever power this office holds … in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” he said


In light of what is being discovered, everything Obama has said while president, should be re-taken with a grain of salt.

Going back and re-reading Obamas speeches should give one whole new experiences in flavor and leg thrills.

Lem said...

I remember him saying something to the effect that he was going to go around the congress via executive orders to effect the changes he wanted.

There is more than one way to go around the congress.

geokstr said...

Hagar said...
The first two judges they tried to get to sign off on this scheme said no, but eventually they found a more compliant third.


It seems the rabbit hole goes deeper than just the Rosen's phone records and emails. I've read that the chief judge in this jurisdiction says that this court order was to have been unsealed after 18 months by law, and we should have known about it before the 2012 election (sound familiar?). However, someone in his court re-sealed the record in violation of the law. He is now in the process of tracking down who did the resealing.

Get some popcorn and stay tuned.

Ralph L said...

When has a journalist ever revealed a government secret that has harmed the security of the country?
The NYT told the terrorists that we were listening to their phonecalls which routed through the US. Bush should have squashed them for it, but only asked them not to print.

geokstr said...

PS: Note how, when legally sealed records like divorce transcripts of opponents are useful to Obama, they somehow manage to get unsealed just in time to help Obama get elected. But when the law says that records are to be unsealed and it might hurt him, they manage to get resealed.

Amazingly lucky for him, non?

Joe Schmoe said...

what they want to do is to get out a good story instead of getting out the real story.

People died
Obama lied

geokstr said...

When has a journalist ever revealed a government secret that has harmed the security of the country?

Or how about when, under Bush, the NY Times revealed that we were tracking al Qaeda's financing, so they changed all their methods?

Or how about the "leaks" that were published about how Obama, barechested, perfect pecs gleaming with sweat in the moonlight, piloted the helicopter with the Seal Team into Pakistan and personally shot bin Laden because he couldn't trust those traitorous Seals, who had probably voted for McCain? The Pakistani doctor who helped us is now in prison for the next 33 years, and relations with Pakistan were badly damaged.

Robert Cook said...

"'When has a journalist ever revealed a government secret that has harmed the security of the country?'

"The NYT told the terrorists that we were listening to their phonecalls which routed through the US. Bush should have squashed them for it, but only asked them not to print."

The evesdropping was illegal, first of all, and the NYTimes sat on the knowledge for over a year at the request of the Bush administration...shameful for the press to acquiesce to this coverup of criminal behavior by the government.

This aside, where is the evidence the belated disclosure "harmed national security?"

mariner said...

edutcher,
No, there is no good story and the real story would have them all in Leavenworth for the next century.

The real story would have Obama hanging upside down from a meat hook in front of a gas station.

Ralph L said...

The eavesdropping was illegal
In your mind.

kentuckyliz said...

And again I pose my question, how do you sue the media for malpractice?

Deep Throat meant one thing in the Nixon era, now it means an MSM that fellates the POTUS.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

The evesdropping was illegal

The eavesdropping of foreign nationals who are terrorists making international calls while in international territories is illegal? When did that happen?

Rob Crawford said...

when you look back over the five years, this has been-- administration has been remarkably clean and-- and free of scandals

When you ignore every crime and abuse, any mob looks "remarkably clean".

Kirk Parker said...

Phil 3:14,

Gergen is a weasel who's not on anyones side but his own. Nothing but a parasite on our already-sick politics.

Robert Cook said...

"The eavesdropping of foreign nationals who are terrorists making international calls while in international territories is illegal? When did that happen?"


You can look here...

...and here, for a start.

"All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program."

Note, the FISA law was never repealed and the Patriot Act did not specifically override the legal requirements of the existing FISA law...this was simply Bush's ad hoc justification to conduct his illegal wiretaps.

This was controversial at the time...don't any of you remember? Or perhaps you didn't pay attention. The key reason I chose never to vote for Obama was his vote--prior to the November 2008 election--for the revised FISA law, which gives the government greater leeway than it already had under the previous FISA law--pretty broad leeway to begin with--and, more to the point, grants retroactive legal protections to the telecoms for their participation in the illegal acts of assisting in the government's wiretapping without warrants. Obama had said he would not only vote against the bill if it contained these retroactive legal protections but that he would support a filibuster against the bill.

He voted for the bill, revealing his that he could never be trusted to tell the truth or act on his promises. I thought, "If this asshole is so contemptuous of his supporters that he will betray his promise to them before he wins the Presidency, what inhibition against such repeated future--and greater--betrayals will he feel once he is the President?"

The answer, obviously, was "none," and he has proved my conclusion to that effect correct...repeatedly.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...

When has a journalist ever revealed a government secret that has harmed the security of the country?

5/26/13, 7:28 PM

I am not sure if you are being obtuse or a bad actor. I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Here are some leaks:

When the Obama Administration leaked the details around the apprehension of the underwear bomber I would be very surprised if informants and handlers didn't die. At the very least contacts were lost that take forever to develop.

When the administration leaked details about the virus used to stop the Iranian reactors security was hurt.

When the administration let reporters and movie makers(?!?!) in on the planning, execution, Seal Team TTPs, source development, and other operational details that put lives in danger much less national security.

I remember sitting in chow halls overseas and watching the news outlets describe troop movements and other little nuggets of information that should not have been on the news.

The justice department was tracking money movements if Islamic "charities" and the NYT leaked it. That caused a huge amount of damage to national security.

I am not going to get into the general misreporting of the war or the cheer leading for our enemies. Most of the left is guilty of smearing the troops and the accomplishments we made so the press is just a tool in that machine. That hurt our security if not national security.

Jeff Teal said...

Achilles absolutely.Geraldo was kicked out of an embed with 101AB for drawing sand diagrams.Other reporters ran into similar problems.Everybody was trying to shaft everybody over Abu Ghraib,Failure to protect museums,lack of WMDs,contractor problems.etc.John Murtha jumped all over Marines in an insurgent situation with unclear ROEs.Snipers were prosecuted over good shots.EVery thing that made a trooper or admin official look bad was reported.But when the reporters ox is gored then everything is vital.Yet very few reporters die if they are compromised.Family members of SEAL DEVGRU(SEAL Team 6) still believe that that
Shithook was targeted.And that POTUS's crowing is what set them up.

Hagar said...

When has a journalist ever revealed a government secret that has harmed the security of the country?

On August 1, 1944 the New York Times published the story of our "Patton's army" deception. Fortunately, Hitler thought it was just another of our tricks.

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...

Note, the FISA law was never repealed and the Patriot Act did not specifically override the legal requirements of the existing FISA law


Nobody ever said otherwise.

Which is why the Bush Administration obtained hundreds of FISA warrants.

You are really, really out of your depth on this topic and should leave it alone.

Ragin' Dave said...

The remarks made that "This doesn't amount to Watergate, this doesn't amount to Iran-Contra". You can almost hear the pain in his voice as he's forced to admit that his God and King might just be the fascist prick that conservatives have been screaming about since 2007.

I want to know what it would take before this amounted to Watergate! I mean, Watergate was a 3rd rate burglary followed by a cover-up. Benghazi was a complete and total failure on behalf of the Obama Administration that got four Americans killed, followed by a cover-up and blame-laying on a film-maker. A film-maker who happens to STILL BE IN JAIL after Obama decided that he'd make an excellent decoy. So in this little parasite's mind, a third rate burglary is more important than Obama allowing Americans to die so that he can go jetting off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser?

Nice to see where their priorities lie.

Personally, every time I hear a "journalist" say "This isn't Watergate" I know that I listening to someone who still has his lips attached to Obama's scrotum, and the act of giving their God and King fellatio makes it impossible for them to actually report the truth.

Derfel Cadarn said...

The only reason that the obama regime has appeared scandal free is because the press has colluded in NOT talking about them. They only become scandals when the public knows about them. That does not make them less underhanded and vile, just unknown. Honor is how you behave when you believe no one is looking,it would appear that HONOR ios in very short supply.

Rusty said...

Comrade Bob never fails to entertain.
Guess who started all that eavesdropping of overseas calls, comrade bob?

Your buddy FDR. Every call, cable and telex.
And every president since FDR has carried on the tradition.
probably still have your calls to the Commintern on file.

Strelnikov said...

It galls me to hear these idiots crediting this administration for being scandal free when the truth is they just weren't caught until now. It would be like someone saying of Dahmer the day he was caught, "Well, we have to give him credit for not having eaten anyone before now."