lunes, 18 de junio de 2012

¿Guiado por el pánico?

The Boston Globe:

For months, the White House has been assuming that the economy would be humming by Election Day. Caught flat-footed by the recent slowdown, they have nothing to offer but reheated leftovers from the 2009 stimulus — proposals that not even the Democratic-controlled Senate has passed. Add to that the fact that they will only add to our crushing debt; no Congress will raise taxes in an election year. Memo to the president: The solution to too much debt is not more debt.

Panic-driven responses aren’t just silly or embarrassing; they can be dangerous too. With no good economic news in sight, the White House has embarked on a mission to burnish the president’s national-security credentials. In their desperation to write a compelling narrative for their candidate, Obama’s operatives appear to have disclosed highly classified information.

Washington without leaks would be like watching the Weather Channel for more than 10 minutes: monotonous and repetitive, with very little new information. But exposing national security secrets has always been a sensitive issue for both parties. When filmmakers were given special access to details of the Bin Laden raid, the protests were mostly Republican. When a Pakistani doctor was imprisoned because his identity was exposed in a New York Times article sourced to administration officials, the concern became bipartisan. The most recent leaks involve highly classified plans to undermine Iran’s nuclear program — and appear to have come directly from the White House. That has most everyone in Congress calling for an investigation.

Unfortunately, America’s chief law enforcement officer has big problems of his own. Attorney General Eric Holder is already facing contempt of Congress charges for failing to turn over documents related to a dubious federal anti-gun-running operation. Now, rather than appointing an independent counsel to investigate the national-security leaks, he’s handed responsibility to two political appointees. The same Democrats who demanded an independent counsel in the Valerie Plame case during the Bush administration have gone strangely silent.

Grilled last week before a Senate Committee, Holder awkwardly proclaimed, “I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that the president has absolute confidence in me.” The only thing that could have made that statement more damning would be if the president had tweeted it.

None of these mishaps would be telling on its own. Taken together, they expose a White House and a campaign that are adrift, out of momentum, and out of touch. With five months to go, the election could easily go either way. But for Obama, potential downsides loom large, especially as economic forecasts keep getting revised downward.

As Mike Tyson famously observed, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Then the panic sets in.
The New York Times:

President Obama decided last week on a major policy shift to stop deportations of young illegal immigrants after administration officials saw that he was losing the initiative to Republicans on an issue he had long championed and that he was alienating the Latino voters who may be pivotal to his re-election bid.

(...) At the same time, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican whose star is rapidly rising in his party, was close to introducing his own bill to help illegal immigrant students by giving them a temporary status, something quite similar to what White House officials had in mind. They feared Mr. Rubio’s proposal would pre-empt the president, making it appear he did not want to work with Republicans.

The White House was also awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court, expected any day, on the administration’s lawsuit against Arizona over a tough state immigration enforcement law. Campaign officials feared an adverse decision could leave Mr. Obama empty-handed when he tried to mobilize Latino voters for the November election.