06.08.14 Obama the incompetent (again)

Earlier this week, (moderately) conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks articulately defended President Obama’s decision to swap Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay for US Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had ben held captive in Afghanistan for several years. Brooks makes that case that it doesn’t matter whether Brgdahl was AWOL, now sympathizes with the Taliban, or has a father with a long beard. All that matters is that the US doesn’t leave its soldiers in enemy hands, an admirable principle.

The fact that a Republican makes this point highlights the disgusting hypocrisy pervasive in the GOP, which clamored for Bergdahl’s release until Obama secured it and is now nearly uniformly opposed to it.

Unfortunately, it was not sufficient for Barack Obama to do the right thing. No, he had to make a political stunt out of it, by holding a Rose Garden ceremony that backfired, handing his enemies more rope to hang him with. Obama’s political incompetence and tone-deafness were also not helped in the least by over-the-top praise for Bergdahl from UN Ambassador Susan Rice, of Benghazi talking-points fame.

Bergdahl is an ambivalent figure. We don’t know (at least not yet) whether he really abandoned his comrades. So, a smart political leader would have quietly secured his release and then let the chips fall where they may. But Obama is the opposite of competent. He seems to live for handing opponents all the amunition they need to destroy him. If Obama’s reputation were all that was at stake, I’d chuckle with schadenfreude as the sharks chewed him to pieces. But when the GOP takes the senate this fall, the rest of us will pay for another unforced Obama error.

I have written before about Obama’s incompetence. I’m still no closer to accepting it and shrugging it off.

©2014 Keith Berner


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