U.S. President Obama has been troubled a lot lately. First the “doubtful points” of the American Embassy bombing in Benghazi have been mentioned again, with detractors pointing out that the government did not place enough importance on the information from the embassy and failed to prevent the tragedy from happening. Then there are reports that the IRS targeted conservative groups for additional scrutiny. Then came the Associated Press scandal, in which the Department of Justice secretly obtained journalists’ phone records. A series of scandals has caused Obama to be in the eye of a trust crisis storm and left the White House now thoroughly exhausted from trying to put out the flames.
Looking back in history, many U.S. presidents have found it nearly impossible to not be entangled in scandals in their second term; now it seems that Obama is not an exception. The Republicans have seized this chance to strike Obama, likening this incident to a repeat of the “Watergate” scandal, using the biggest scandal in American politics yet to keep up the pressure on Obama.
In response, the White House has struck back with a firm and decisive response, which included quickly revealing the email communication records in the Benghazi embassy bombing incident and asking the IRS commissioner to step down, thereby successfully preventing negative reactions from fermenting and winning back public confidence. This can be said to be a brilliant move. In the AP scandal, the White House alleged that the incident involved public interest and used this reason to temporarily stop the gossiping.
Naturally, the Republicans have their own political agenda for attacking Obama, but compared to the Watergate incident, the scandals entangling Obama this time are not as damaging. Part of the reason is that there is no direct evidence showing that Obama is the ringleader in any of these incidents or that he took part in the decision-making process directly. Add to that the quick showing of strong evidence by the White House and most of the impact was cushioned.
Reality shows that the White House’s strategy is effective. According to Gallup’s latest poll, although Obama is facing his biggest storm yet since entering the White House, support for him has not been affected and has actually increased instead of falling. This result was really not expected by the Republicans.
Although it seems that Obama has safely made his way out of the storm, it cannot be denied that this incident has exposed the faults and cracks in the Obama administration’s management and its lack of understanding of the government departments under its control. If Obama wishes to avoid creating more pretexts for gossip and to ensure that he does not turn into a political lame duck, he must carry out internal reorganization, or he might not be able to escape the “curse” of re-elected presidents.