- - Thursday, June 26, 2014


With so many scandals and policy missteps building up around the White House these days, I actually want to start out by giving President Obama a little credit.

There’s a dangerous notion circulating among conservatives these days that the problems plaguing the administration can be blamed on the president’s incompetence. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in just the latest to argue the country’s woes — from the Middle East to the economy to scandals like the IRS and Benghazi — can be blamed on a president who doesn’t know what he is doing.

To my mind, nothing could be farther from the truth, and believing that what is going on can be blamed on the president’s incompetence completely misses the point. The truth is, Mr. Obama is doing exactly what he promised the American people he would do when he was elected.

It may not be good for the country, but Mr. Obama is accomplishing exactly what he set out to accomplish. A perfect example is the debacle underway in Iraq. The gains by Islamist groups hostile to the United States are a direct consequence of Mr. Obama’s philosophy and foreign policy approach. This is a president who doesn’t believe in the threat of terrorism, who does not believe we are engaged in a war with terrorists, who thinks the threat should be treated as a criminal matter, not a military one.

The result? In Libya, the president got us into a war in which we ended up on the same side as the terrorists, and four brave Americans ended up killed in Benghazi. In Syria, we allowed those most dedicated to doing us harm to build up their power to such an extent that they were able to invade Iraq.

And the grave situation in Iraq itself is the culmination of the Obama approach. I don’t say that we have to protect the government in Baghdad, but it is clearly the job of our president to recognize we are at war and to strike back at those who mean to do American harm. It’s because of the president’s radical views that we don’t have a base of our own in Iraq from which we could strike our enemies. That doesn’t mean we need boots on the ground battling these ISIL fighters, but we do have a vast arsenal — drones, guided missiles — that could be deployed to drive these people back into the hole from which they came.

The Boston Marathon bombing was an act of war. The Benghazi killings were an act of war. But that’s not the way this president sees it.

In the same way, conservatives are too quick to see the situation on our southern border as the result of incompetence on the part of the administration. Again, I argue that Mr. Obama knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s getting just what he wants.

This is a president who believes in open borders, who does not see border security as a priority. His record — in Illinois, in the U.S. Senate, and now in the White House — consistently reflects that. He believes in sanctuary cities, where illegal immigrants are shielded from our nation’s laws. He has decimated the ability of the Border Patrol to do its job. Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s trip to Guatemala to try to slow the flood of children illegally crossing into our country was predictably a failure, since the message that was coming from his boss was basically, “Y’all come.”

On the Internal Revenue Service, the president himself has tried to blame the conservative and tea party targeting on “boneheaded” decisions by some lower-level bureaucrats. But yet again, what’s going on in this scandal is not incompetence but a true reflection of how Mr. Obama wants to govern. It’s right out of the playbook of Saul Alinsky — the idea that one can only fully achieve one’s goals in politics by destroying one’s enemies in the process.

The IRS targeting arose only after the agency was given very strong signals from the White House, Democratic senators and policy aides to go after the conservative groups, to delay their applications, to make them spend money and resources to get their organizations approved. In some cases, like that of True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht, the harassment went beyond her organization to audits of family’s businesses and household by the IRS, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and OSHA.

If you need any more proof that the current woes reflect conscious policy choices by our president, just look again at the smug face of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen when he was testifying before two House panels this week. His arrogance, in the face of legitimate oversight questions from lawmakers, reflects a man who knows he enjoys the president’s full support, who is carrying out exactly the mission Mr. Obama hired him to do.

Don’t be fooled — this is a president who knows exactly what he is doing, and we are all reaping the consequences.

Tom DeLay, a former congressman from Texas and House majority leader from 2003 to 2005, writes a weekly column for The Washington Times and www.washingtontimes.com.

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