Seriously? Obama White House calls Biden a 'leading statesmen of his time'
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:02 AM ET
In a few pages, a unique former Secretary of Defense has put the Obama White House in full defense mode this week about the president and the vice president, their intellectual capabilities and their political and management strategies, or lack of them.
And Robert Gates' memoir, "Duty," also coincidentally messed up Obama's preferred political message these days, a peculiar refrain about the tough life of America's chronically unemployed, millions of whom still remain jobless five years after Obama first promised to change all that.
Of course, the Democrat intended to put Republicans on defense for not extending "emergency" unemployment insurance beyond its two years and making this temporary income bridge even more of a permanent entitlement.
To do this, Obama's plan was to draw media coverage by inviting a bunch of unemployed people over to his immense, white mansion to show sympathy for their plight. Instead of Republicans, however, the optics of this involve focus on Obama, his terms' chronically high unemployment and his countless empty promises to change that. Oops.
But right now the focus is on Gates' book, portions of which were leaked to media for maximum Monday news exposure. Gates, who served from 2007 until July 2011, has worked under eight presidents, starting as a CIA analyst. And he is the only man to hold the defense job under a Republican (George W. Bush) and this Chicago Democrat.
Gates' book is an indictment of Obama as president, basically saying he does not trust the volunteer military that the country reveres, and that Obama did not believe in his own Afghanistan war strategy. (IBD editorial on the Gates charges here.)
The cynical deceit that a president would order a surge of 30,000 additional troops, totaling 100,000 American men and women, into a war zone while not believing it would work is particularly damaging to Obama because it reinforces a plummeting trust in his credibility based on his ObamaCare deceits and other scandals.
Under Obama's five-year reign of error, 1,673 Americans have died in Afghanistan, or 73% of the total U.S. killed in that struggle now in its 13th year. You don't have to have lost a loved one to be appalled at the likely veracity of the Gates charge.
The newly-bearded press secretary Jay Carney followed the standard PR defense: Don't argue the individual charges, re-state the good things your boss has allegedly attempted while praising the critic for his distinguished national service. Carney added:
"Anybody who has the privilege of serving in an administration at a high level and who participates in policy discussions and has confidential conversations with principals and presidents and then leaves office makes a decision about how they’re going to talk or write about that experience and when."
Carney was also placed in the awkward position of again having to defend the vice president.
Joe "You Know I Have Lunch with Barack Almost Every Week" Biden has become a staple of late-night comedians as a dim, gaffe-inclined motor-mouth who takes up space. (David Letterman: "They lit the White House Christmas tree the other day. The whole week before Joe Biden was down in the basement untangling the lights.")
Biden, who's older even than Hillary Clinton, may be the only living American who believes he has a shot at the 2016 Democrat presidential nomination. Gates portrays him as equally distrustful of the military and having been wrong about virtually every single major foreign policy stand in the last four decades.
"I would reiterate," Carney reiterated without documentation, "that the President and the rest of us here simply just disagree with that assessment. As a senator and as a Vice President, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and he has been an excellent counselor and adviser to the President for the past five years."
Before his Pentagon departure in early July of 2011, Gates said he intended to write two books in retirement, a memoir and a look at the challenge of reforming large government institutions in a humorous vein.
While this week's questions have focused on Obama and Biden, one large unasked one looms for Gates himself when he ventures out to promote "Duty" in coming days:
Given the seriousness of your charges about Obama's cynicism and hollow, inept national leadership, why in the world would you keep silent about this during 2012 when voters could have used that information to avoid 1,461 more days of him?