May 23, 2013

WaPo article "On IRS issue, senior White House aides were focused on shielding Obama" seems to be about throwing White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler under the bus.

Here's the article.
[White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and other senior White House aides] agreed that it would be best not to share [news of an upcoming inspector general’s report on the Internal Revenue Service] with President Obama until the independent audit was completed and made public....

... Obama’s top aides were trying to shield him from any second-term scandal that might swamp his agenda or, worse, jeopardize his presidency....

But Ruemmler and McDonough’s careful plan for the IRS was upended on May 10, when Lois Lerner, a senior official at the agency, broke the news.... Senior White House officials were stunned to see the IRS trying to get ahead of its own story...
I don't know how much of this to believe, but the article strains to portray Ruemmler as narrowly legalistic:

Ruemmler views her mission strictly as advising Obama on the law and protecting executive branch prerogatives, colleagues and friends said. “She’s a lawyer’s lawyer,” said Neal Katyal, acting solicitor general in Obama’s first term...

Yet Ruemmler’s lawyerly focus sometimes conflicts with political imperatives....

In the IRS case, many prominent Washington lawyers say Ruemmler made the sensible legal call. She protected her client — Obama — by distancing him from a politically sensitive problem and ensuring that he could not be accused of meddling in an inquiry.
How "protected" is he from the criticism that he was out of touch and failing to protect us?
As counsel, Ruemmler is a regular presence in the Situation Room and the Oval Office, making legal judgments....

“I think she’s one of the most cool-headed people in the entire White House and does a lot to ensure that nobody gets themselves in trouble,” said [Stephanie] Cutter.... “she did the president a huge service by keeping it away from him until the IG report was final. That’s her modus operandi. . . . It makes everything that much cleaner.”
Much cleaner! Ruemmler is fastidious about keeping the President clean.
Associates say the way the IRS situation was handled fits with Ruemmler’s approach to making decisions: wary to act before knowing all the facts, but then decisive once they are clear.

“She’s very deliberate,” said Akin Gump lawyer John M. Dowd, a friend. “There’s no reason to go busting into it. . . . Even though it’s a hot subject and there’s going to be some political implications, to me you wait until you’ve got a work product in your hands.”
See how all these compliments are really blaming her for the President's being out of touch?
Unlike most senior White House aides, Ruemmler has no campaign experience. Although she has worked in Washington for years, as a prosecutor and as a litigation partner at Latham & Watkins, former colleagues said she showed little interest in politics.
So we're supposed to think that keeping the President insulated from knowledge that could be used against him wasn't political. It was the doings of a nonpolitical, legalistic lawyerly lawyer's lawyer.
Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis said Ruemmler lacks political and media savvy. He said she had “an obligation to give the president a heads-up and generally describe what might be coming down the track [on the IRS] so you can do crisis management planning.”
So now you see, her lack of political savvy led to something that wasn't good for the President politically. She was just so darned law-focused that she failed to meet an obligation. The article ends with 2 seeming defenses of Ruemmler, but they reinforce the theory that Obama knew nothing because Ruemmler was completely legalistic and not at all political:

1. David Plouffe said others gave political advice, and Obama "needs a top-flight lawyer who’s going to run a good process, and that’s what she’s done."

2. Beth Wilkinson (Washington lawyer and former Justice Department official) said:  “She stays in her lane, which people appreciate.... She really sees her role as the counsel to the president and to protect the presidency and provide legal advice. She doesn’t try to do other people’s jobs.”

47 comments:

gutless said...

Next bus leaving in 20 minutes. Be under it.

Real American said...

Lies.

Hagar said...

When thieves fall out, the honest man comes in to his own.

gerry said...

But they agreed that it would be best not to share it with President Obama until the independent audit was completed and made public, in part to protect him from even the appearance of trying to influence an investigation.

It's getting really goofy. Obama hires people who don't tell him stuff that will harm everyone else? Well, I know I'll sleep better tonight. NOT.

By the way, Professor, have you seen this?

St. George said...

President Biden.

Yes, get used to the sound of that.

President Joe Biden.

CEO-MMP said...

At what point are some of these people going to get tire of being cannon fodder for the half black messiah?

I assume some of them are true believers, but don't there have to be a few self centered souls wandering around the WH?

Martha said...

Beth Wilkinson, a Washington lawyer and former Justice Department official, said Ruemmler’s focus on the law is considered a virtue inside the White House.


Is this the same Beth Wilkinson who is married to David Gregory of Meet the Press fame? and best friends with the current White House Counsel?

Martha said...

Beth Wilkinson, a Washington lawyer and former Justice Department official, said Ruemmler’s focus on the law is considered a virtue inside the White House.


Is this the same Beth Wilkinson who is married to David Gregory of Meet the Press fame? and best friends with the current White House Counsel?

edutcher said...

That's the Chicago machine.

You don't get there unless you are political.

And throwing sweetie pie under the bus does him no good, except to make him look like nothing but a puppet with Axelrod and ValJar pulling the string.

edutcher said...

St. George said...

President Biden.

Yes, get used to the sound of that.

President Joe Biden.


Followed in less than a week by President Boehner.

CEO-MMP said...

At what point are some of these people going to get tire of being cannon fodder for the half black messiah?

I assume some of them are true believers, but don't there have to be a few self centered souls wandering around the WH?


What happened when Willie lied to his Cabinet about Monica?

Who resigned?

Panetta, Albright?

Bueller?

G Joubert said...

I'm thinking that Obama pretty much delegates everything and lets his minions run amok

traditionalguy said...

The sun still rises in the east.

Half of the job a lawyer is hired for is taking the blame for the client's lousy case.

The thrill of victory in a legal matter is the client's vindication as a hero, but the agony of defeat is always blamed on the lawyer.

The truth is that a terrible set of facts can rarely be made into a victory. Those clients need prayer.

But the Obama PR office knows how to play these popular urban myth cards such as the Race card, the War on Women card and the Bad Lawyers cause all bad things card.

CEO-MMP said...

Yes ed, I know no one resigned to protest Billy Blue Bubba. But aren't we talking something different now? This stuff is galloping hard toward people going to jail. I have to think there's someone over there that has "scooter libby" echoing in their heads.

TML said...

As if no rational person would ask does Ruemmler works in a complete vacuum? Totally ridiculous. Anyone who thinks all these ├╝ber genii are working in isolation is an idiot. Ruemmler was part of a team, like a football team. To attempt to smear her or make her the fall gal for this is like blaming the running back for failing to do the left tackle's job. And I'm not defending her at all. I want them all to die. Crooks and liars to the last. No way her every move wasn't scrutinized and evaluated by many other advisors, including that loathsome turd Valerie Jarrett.

Sam L. said...

I'm waiting for the first person in the IRS or DOJ or WH staff to just disappear, and we can spectulate on who's done them in...

Larry J said...

CEO-MMP said...
At what point are some of these people going to get tire of being cannon fodder for the half black messiah?


They sleep comfortably at night knowing that even if they do take one for Obama, they'll be well cared for by his cronies. With Holder running the DOJ, they're unlikely to get prosecuted. Instead, they'll get hired by a cronie corporation, non-profit, or lobbying firm for a several hundred percent raise over their current paycheck.

Carnifex said...

since I been outta work I been watchin' Steve Wilcos' show. We need to get HIM on the case... he'll straighten their ass out.

Chip S. said...

"White House counsel."

Wasn't that John Dean's title as well?

Richard Dolan said...

I think she is about to get the Bernie Nussbaum treatment. He was Clinton's lawyerly lawyer's lawyer.

Michael K said...

I would suggest she stay away from Fort Marcy Park. This is the Chicago bunch. Arkansas is small bore compared to "The Combine."

Bob Ellison said...

Larry J said "They sleep comfortably at night knowing that even if they do take one for Obama, they'll be well cared for by his cronies."

You describe a personality there. Let us speculate about that person:

1) He/she is an atheist; otherwise he/she would care about repentance in the afterlife.

2) He/she is Machiavellian in political dealings; see point (1).

3) He/she has some reason to believe that cronies will take care of him/her when he/she falls on the sword. This is interesting. What might convince him or her that this is true? Who made what promises to whom?

#3 is the problem. The people who attach their stars to politicians don't require guarantees. They do it anyway, sometimes out of ideology and sometimes out of misplaced faith in the goodness of man.

They keep doing it and doing it. They get thrown under the bus, they kill their own careers, and they lie under oath, thinking it's the path ahead for them. It's like a Yellow Brick Road.

Tank said...

I see we have a theme.

wyo sis said...

It sounds like some of you are predicting a convenient death of a key witness.
Please tell me that's not what you're saying.

edutcher said...

CEO-MMP said...

Yes ed, I know no one resigned to protest Billy Blue Bubba. But aren't we talking something different now? This stuff is galloping hard toward people going to jail. I have to think there's someone over there that has "scooter libby" echoing in their heads.

Vince Foster ring a bell?

James McDougal?

Ron Brown?

As everybody said at the time, there are an awful lot of deaths around those two.

The Drill SGT said...

While I agree that this may be part of the plan to put tire marks on her back, I think the real question is concerns the Chief of Staff. The lead paras say he was fine with the Obama protection plan. Where is his culpability?

Also, Where was Ms Jarrett? Has nobody asked what she knew when? After all, the WH CoS apparently works for her, as Mr Daly discovered to his dismay...

Paul said...

Man there is gonna be a lot of bodies under the busses this time.

Just way to many fall guys will be needed.

I bet a John Dean will emerge. Sooner or later.

SteveR said...

Shorter version-she's great-she hid facts from the president-it wasn't his fault-because shut up-move along

David said...

Apparently the end of bullshit has ended.

YoungHegelian said...

So, Obama's not a criminal who used the IRS to go after his enemies. He's just a clueless wonder who had no idea that not only were his cronies doing exactly that, but also that his WH staffers were shielding him from knowing about such potentially politically explosive allegations.

Oh, gosh, I feel so relieved....

Jay said...

Yes, the Obama IRS delayed Tea Party group applications to limit their political activities and covered it up to win an election

kcom said...

Time again for this link from The New Yorker:

Obama Denies Role in Government

President Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to reassure the American people that he has “played no role whatsoever” in the U.S. government over the past four years.

CEO-MMP said...

Ed, I'm not disputing anything about Billy Blue Bubba.

I also don't really see the need to bring it up. That was then.

I'm talking about the current administration and wondering if there are any people who don't want to go to jail for the HBM.

bagoh20 said...

The emperor's new clothes includes a blindfold.

bagoh20 said...

It's hard to get more humble than taking a bullet for Obama. Washing the feet of the poor is uppity by comparison.

Crunchy Frog said...

Fox News is now reporting that Lois Lerner has been placed on administrative leave.

FWIW

bpm4532 said...

Well we've had a couple of weeks to get the stories straight, and the loyal left-wing press/bloggers were invited to the White House to be let in on their part. We've got a long weekend coming to let things cool down and I'm sure a whole BUNCH of stuff is going to be flushed out in the trash tomorrow.

Sacrificial lambs were selected and future sinecures elsewhere in the liberal network have already been found for them.

However, the basic story they wish to push is:

1. Obama is a figurehead, but he looks and sounds good at the podium
2. It doesn't matter because the federal government can't be competently managed anyway.
3. Please give us more money to grow it further.

bpm4532 said...

Should give her needed time to refine her story and sync it with the rest of the liberal network. It takes longer now that they have to use dead-drops to communicate.

Jay said...

Crunchy Frog,

that would be paid administrative leave, of course.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ok, I give up. If Obama is not supposed to know anything about what is going on in the government that he heads, then what is his role there. Is it to just fly around the country playing golf, hob nobbing with celebrities, and shutting down the busiest airport in the world for two hours in order to give a commencement speech (got stuck there Monday night - apparently AF-1 shut down airport 1/2 hour before and after landing and then taking off a couple days earlier)? Oh, and I forgot that he almost single handedly killed OBL (but went to bed early on night of 9/11/12 for his fund raising trip the next day).

The question that they seem to be skirting is why shouldn't the President know as soon as possible about the scandals in the government he is supposed to be running?

Browndog said...

I'm thinking that Obama pretty much delegates everything and lets his minions run amok

One person had the power to make this happen.

One person reaped the benefits.

I'm thinking your not really thinking too hard.

Matthew Sablan said...

Why are all the scapegoats women?

sydney said...

In the IRS case, many prominent Washington lawyers say Ruemmler made the sensible legal call. She protected her client — Obama — by distancing him from a politically sensitive problem and ensuring that he could not be accused of meddling in an inquiry....

“I think she...does a lot to ensure that nobody gets themselves in trouble,” said [Stephanie] Cutter.... “she did the president a huge service by keeping it away from him until the IG report was final. That’s her modus operandi. . . . It makes everything that much cleaner.”


So, she's his consigliere:

"When a boss gives orders, he issues them in private either to the consigliere or directly to his caporegimes as part of the insulation between himself and operational acts."

Sam L. said...

I'd say all the senior, and most of the junior, WH officials should be on the short bus to Purgatory (with radio playing El Rushbo non-stop.

PianoLessons said...

The thing that bugs me most is that Tuesday the WH called in liberal journalists and the next day or two - not only the bloggers but big media like WAPO started churning out the message like "obedient workers" the Obama White House has relied on for re-election and policy wins:

Me - I don't want Obama impeached. But I do want the Palace Guard media tricksters thrown out of their jobs. To me- this is the real danger to our republic.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/05/22/Liberal-Columnists-Quietly-Visiting-White-House

And many commentators with ethos have noticed that the next day, a flurry of almost identical stories hit the.....press? what is the press nowdays anyway?

I say it's twitter.

Zach said...

You know how you know this story was planted?

1) Ruemmler is never quoted on the record, which means she's the source. There are several episodes given from her point of view or talking about the way she views her job, which means she talked -- but she's not quoted.

2) Everybody else is throwing little Valentines her way while blaming her for everything. Does anybody in this article have anything negative to say about someone whose screwup might have derailed the second term? No? What a collegial bunch this administration must be.

DEEBEE said...

Should a white house counsel be a counselor or a lawyer's lawyer?

Should a person who utters these "lawyer's lawyers" inanities have there mouth washed, lips stitched?

damikesc said...

Again, it does not matter if Obama did not know.

It was his job to know.

Refusal to do one's job is not a defense.

Corporate CEO's don't get that benefit of the doubt.

Why the fuck should the President?