On yesterday’s Fox News Sunday, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte accused President Obama of basing his military strategy against ISIS on the upcoming midterm elections and that he’ll abandon the fight once the election is over.
The discussion was mostly about the problems at the Secret Service. Ayotte, who sits on both the Homeland Security and Armed Services Committee was paired not with a Democratic counterpart but an ostensibly neutral Secret Service agent, Dan Bongino.
Wallace introduced Bongino as “one of President Obama’s former Secret Service agents, who’s written a book “Life Inside the Bubble.” Yet Wallace failed to mention that Bongino has turned against President Obama, is now running for Congress as a Republican and has been accused of exaggerating his own importance and proximity to high-level decisions.” The lower third did identify Bongino as a Republican congressional candidate. That’s Fox News’ idea of “fair and balanced” for you.
Not surprisingly, Bongino suggested President Obama and/or his close advisors might be to blame for the Secret Service problems:
These all fit into a larger management problem, this insulated cabal at the top, that has nearly abandoned the rank and file, and what you’re seeing now, Chris, is a near mutiny with the agents.
… The rank-and-file agents feel like the allegiance of the management is not to them, but to, say, someone, maybe the DHS secretary who later on they can go into business with together. It’s created significant problems and a distrust. And in our business, trust is all that matters.
But Senator Kelly Ayotte far outdid Bongino in the Obama-smearing department.
It started with a prompt from Wallace. Apropos of nothing related to the Secret Service, Wallace asked Ayotte to comment on former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s accusation that President Obama failed to push Iraq to keep a residual force of U.S. troops after 2011. How big a role, Wallace "wondered," might that have played "in the fact that we’re now facing this threat from ISIS?” Then Wallace made a show of being taken aback at Ayotte’s over-the-top attack:
AYOTTE: …That the president’s claim that this was all on the Iraqis does not withstand scrutiny. And I think what we have here, Chris, is a problem where the president’s foreign policy is being trapped by his campaign rhetoric. And I’m very fearful that as we look at the current military strategy that it is surrounding the November elections and that he won’t have the resolve to follow through with what needs to be done in a sustained effort to destroy ISIS, and we are about to repeat the same thing with regard to Afghanistan, which Secretary Panetta also mentions in his book as well.
WALLACE: I just want to follow up, we have a couple of minutes left. Are you suggesting that after the November election and acting tough and talking tough, that he is going to pull back from confronting ISIS?
AYOTTE: I’m very concerned about that, Chris, and his resolve in this regard. And I think that’s something that as a member of the Armed Services Committee, we’ve got to stay focused on. And if you look at the pattern here—I mean look at what happened in Libya. We engaged in airstrikes, and then none of the follow-on in terms of securing the weapons, and obviously what happened with our embassy. I think we need to ensure that this isn’t just surrounding what we’re doing now. He has made clear this is going to take a sustained effort. And he has to be prepared to have the resolve to engage in that sustained effort to destroy ISIS. Otherwise, we’re going to be in a situation where we have a safe haven again where attacks can be launched against us.
In its post about this subject, Think Progress noted that Brit Hume later reiterated the accusation:
HUME: It looks like a quite mild bombing campaign undertaken for the purpose of appearing to do something toward the goal, the president says, of ultimately taking down ISIS. My sense is that after he gets past this election, his effort to take down ISIS, I don’t think it’s something he deeply believes in. I don’t think he could possibly believe in the approach he’s taken, [it] will subside as Kelly Ayotte fears.
Watch it below.
My personal theory (yes, of the conspiracy kind) is that bin Laden was allowed to escape from Tora Bora* on the understanding that a favour would be called in at a later date. The endorsement of Kerry was that favour.
*Killing or catching OBL too early in the Afghan conflict would have been seriously inconvenient for Cheney and his neo-conmen, what with the invasion of Iraq they had been planning for years still months away.
Yeah, if I remember correctly, the response to that was “shut up, don’t question it!”… Then, when Obama was elected, it was “He has 10 minutes to catch Bin Laden, or he’s a terrorist himself!”.
God, except for wording, they’re downright predictable.
Just like the Republicans will drop their very successful outreach to women and minorities right after the election.