Those horrible, mean, nasty Republicans are apparently “using” the revelations that the Secret Service isn’t being managed very well to create an impression of general incompetence at the White House. Here’s the money graph from the New York Times:
But privately, some Democratic officeholders and strategists have complained that the episode contributes to a broader impression that the Obama administration’s competence has come under fire on a variety of fronts, including last year’s botched rollout of Mr. Obama’s health care program, the breakdown of services at the Veterans Affairs Department and the handling of a series of international crises.Coming just weeks before midterm elections, they said, the intense focus on the matter might further undercut confidence in the government Mr. Obama runs even though it was hardly his fault an intruder with a knife made it into the White House.
So unfair! Botch the public rollout of your most important domestic political program, fail to reform the VA after campaigning on a promise to do exactly that, and then make serial misjudgments about world affairs while Russia launches a war against Ukraine even as the U.S. goes back into Iraq—and those awful Republicans start a whisper campaign about your competence. Right before midterms, too! Have they no shame?President Obama is now in political circumstances very much like those that President Bush encountered in 2006, when an accumulating list of misfires at home and abroad led many Americans, including some of his supporters, to conclude that from Iraq to New Orleans the administration was in over its head. We don’t recall the Times worrying then that partisanship was casting an unfair burden on a decent man struggling to manage America’s interests in a chaotic and dangerous world.As in 2006, voters are scrutinizing the record of an administration that has held power for six years, and asking themselves whether it has kept its promises or managed crises well. Many Democrats know that the public judgment on this White House is beginning to gel, and that President Obama is much closer to being remembered as the second coming of Jimmy Carter than as the new Abraham Lincoln. This is not the fault of Republicans in Congress. If the White House wants to turn things around—and we very much hope that it does—it needs to ask why so many of the policy choices it makes yield such disappointing results.