The Romney-Republican campaign against President Obama has turned to a relentless pounding of hateful jabs at the President’s response on Benghazi. This is not a strategic debate, it is nasty poking. As such, in the spirit that it is being rendered, it is harmful to America.
Congressman Darrell Issa is a designated attack dog, exploiting his position in Congress to harass a sitting President and that is wrong.
Congressman Darrell Issa attacked the President for not having more security for Ambassador Chris Stevens. First, there is a chain of command for that responsibility and the people in the State Department were pursuing a low profile approach at staffing a temporary consulate in which Stevens worked. That may have been too risky and a bad idea in hindsight. However, that incident does not speak to the broader strategy to reduce Muslim rage in the Middle East that the President spoke about when he addressed the United Nations several weeks ago.
The discussion belongs at that level. Consulate security is a tactical subject by contrast that involves both the State Department and military.
Now, as for Darrell Issa, if people investigated this big mouth Congressman they would discover a character unbecoming the stature of an elected representative. In his lifetime, he has been charged with auto theft and carrying a concealed weapon while driving the wrong way on a one way street. He exaggerated about his “military” career. In time, he conned his way beyond his personal problems to barge into office by appealing to the lowest common denominator of the California electorate that he represents. In some respect, he is a bully like Mitt Romney.
Sure, he was a successful entrepreneur, manufacturing auto theft car alarms. Ironic huh? He led the recall against California Governor Gray Davis and helped Arnold Schwarzenegger into office as governor. If you like that character, well that is his bedfellow.
One view: His record is onerous, a marginal criminal and skating close to being a con man. (Spokesman bully for the Romney-Republican regime) Another view: He is a patriotic Lebanese-American entrepreneur Republican and conservative who pulled himself up by the bootstraps and into public service. What is your take?
“Issa dropped out of high school, and on his 17th birthday he enlisted for three years in the Army. He became an Explosive Ordnance Disposal(EOD) technician, trained to defuse bombs, having been inspired by a movie about such soldiers during World War II. He claimed his unit provided security for President Richard Nixon, sweeping stadiums for bombs prior to games in the 1971 World Series, and that he received the highest approval ratings during his service. However, a 1998 investigation by the San Francisco Examiner found these claims were not true, since Nixon had not attended any of that year’s World Series games. The investigation also discovered that Issa was actually transferred to a supply depot after he received an unsatisfactory evaluation. According to Issa, the Examiner reporter had misunderstood an anecdote he had related. A fellow soldier, Jay Bergey, claimed that Issa stole his Dodge Charger in 1971, when they were serving together. The day after he confronted Issa, the car was found abandoned on a nearby expressway. Asked about this in 2011, Issa denied it and suggested it was possible that other soldiers stole the car or that Bergey, who he claims had a drinking problem, had abandoned it himself while intoxicated.”
After receiving a hardship discharge in 1972, following his father’s heart attack, Issa earned his General Educational Development (GED) certificate and began taking classes at Siena Heights University, a small Catholic college in Adrian, Michigan. He continued his military service by joining in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).” Twice that year he was arrested. In the first incident he was indicted by a grand jury for an alleged theft of a Maserati, but prosecutors dropped the charge shortly thereafter. In the second incident, he was stopped for driving the wrong way on a one-way street, and a police officer noticed a firearm in his glove compartment. Issa was charged with carrying a concealed weapon; he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of possession of an unregistered firearm, and was sentenced to six months’ probation and a small fine.
Issa graduated and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He served in a non-combat administrative capacity from 1976 to 1980. In September 1980, while deployed with the 1/77th Armor at Fort Ord, he received high marks on a routine evaluation. Lt. Col. Wesley Clark stated, “This officer’s performance far exceeded that of any other reserve officer who has worked in the battalion.” The standardized report also stated that Issa had “unlimited potential” with a note to “promote ahead of [his] contemporaries.””
There is room for criticism in the right place and forum.
“Republicans hit Obama from all sides on Benghazi response
By Julian Pecquet and Jordy Yager – 10/20/12 06:00 AM ET
Republicans are hitting President Obama from all sides over his handling of the attack in Libya as he prepares to go head-to-head with Mitt Romney in Monday night’s foreign policy debate.
Bolstering the criticism of his Senate colleagues, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) took direct aim at the president in a sharply worded letter Friday demanding to know why the administration drew down the U.S. security presence in Libya amid a surge in violence.
“Americans … deserve a complete explanation about your administration’s decision to accelerate a normalized presence in Libya at what now appears to be at the cost of endangering lives,” Issa wrote. “These critical foreign policy decisions are not made by low or mid-level career officials — they are typically made through a structured and well-reasoned process that includes the National Security Council at the White House.
“The ultimate responsibility rests with you as the President of the United States,” Issa wrote.
Meanwhile, Senate hawks John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have flooded the TV airwaves to slam the administration’s shifting account of the attack that killed four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Romney’s foreign policy surrogate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), is expected to carry the criticism forward during his three scheduled appearances on Sunday news shows.
And on Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s seven Republicans — including Rubio — demanded to know who leaked information about possible retaliation for the Libya assault.
“It seems counterintuitive to broadcast our intent to take action,” they wrote to Obama, “as that would certainly give those responsible for this terrorist attack a chance to take evasive measures.”
Romney and his allies have blasted the Obama administration for initially blaming the Libya attack on a video about Islam, saying it was obvious from the get-go that terrorists had targeted the U.S. on the anniversary of 9/11.
They have also seized on the testimony of State Department officials who said requests for added security in Libya had been denied by the Obama administration in the run-up to the attacks.
Democrats say Republicans are making a cynical attempt to use the slaying of a U.S. ambassador to undermine Obama’s foreign policy record less than three weeks before the election.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, issued a scathing reply to Issa’s letter to Obama on Friday.
“It seems obvious that your goal in sending a public letter at this time is to release the most negative and distorted view possible of the attack in Benghazi ahead of the Presidential debate on Monday evening,” wrote Cummings. “This is particularly disturbing given requests by Ambassador Stevens’ family not to politicize his death as part of the campaign.”
Polls suggest the Libya assault has hurt the president with voters. A Pew poll released Thursday found that Obama’s lead on foreign policy has shrunk over the past month from a 15-point advantage over Romney to a lead of just four points.