December 6, 2013
Obama whines about media not paying enough attention to government 'successes'
President Obama wants the media to stop covering stuff like the IRS scandal and failed Obamacare rollout and start highlighting the great things government does.
President Barack Obama criticized the media's focus on the failures of government like the IRS scandal and the botched HealthCare.gov rollout - saying that not enough attention is paid to quiet successes.
Things like the IRS scandal is what drives news, the president said in a Thursday interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, despite the fact that Obama said that people on both sides of the aisle were outraged by the accusations that the IRS singled out tea party groups for bureaucratic reasons.
You've got an office in Cincinnati ... in the I.R.S. office that, I think, for bureaucratic reasons is trying to streamline what is a difficult law to interpret about whether [a] nonprofit is actually a political organization [that] deserves a tax exempt agency. And they've got a list," Obama said. "And suddenly, everybody's outraged."
"That is what gets news," Obama said. "That's what gets attention."
Obama cited his first defense secretary Robert Gates, who told him: "you got a lot of people working for you. Somebody somewhere at this very moment is screwing something up."
"That's true," Obama said. "I have to consistently push on every cabinet secretary, on every single agency, 'How can we do things better?' And we can do things better."
"When it comes to the management of government- part of the reason people are so skeptical is that- when we do things right, they don't get a lot of attention," Obama said.
Obama cited Craig Fugate's stewardship of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an example of an important government agency functioning as expected in relative obscurity. Fugate "has managed as many natural disasters over the last five years as just about anybody and has done a flawless job," Obama said.
"Nobody knows who this guy is," Obama said of Fugate. "And if, in fact, we go in after Sandy or after the tornadoes - in Oklahoma or - or Missouri and we're helping a lot of people effectively and quickly. And they're getting what they need. Nobody hears about that."
So that's what the IRS scandal was all about; just some government flunkies in Cincinnati who had the best of intentions but suddenly - omigod - people got outraged! No mention of all those IRS chiefs in DC who knew about it and didn't stop it. Or his own counsel who was informed of the targeting and never bothered to tell her boss - supposedly.
And when was the last time Obama talked with anyone in his cabinet outside of defense and state? Kathleen Sebelius had no meetings with the president in the 6 months prior to the Obamacare rollout. So the idea he has been consistently pushing on cabinet secretaries to "do things better" is a lie.
Bottom line; this is an executive who is lost and hasn't a clue what's gone wrong or why. When he complains that the press doesn't report it when government bureaucrats do their jobs and don't screw up too much, you recognize the chasm in his understanding between the reality of governance and his illusory notion of the great job he's doing.
Sad - and frightening.