Pat Buchanan: Barack Obama is the spectator President
The AP, IRS and Benghazi matters represent a scandal not of presidential wrongdoing, but of presidential indolence, indifference and incompetence in discharging the duties of chief executive.
Yet the President was left completely in the dark. And though he rushed to defend the seizure, he claims he was uninvolved. While the AP issue does not appear to have legs — we know what was done and why — it has badly damaged this President. For his own Justice Department treated the press, which has an exalted opinion of itself and its role, with the same contempt as the IRS treated the Tea Party.
The President was apparently completely in the dark about the urgent requests from Benghazi for more security. Obama was also apparently completely out of the loop during the seven-hour crisis of Sept. 11-12, when Ambassador Stevens was assassinated, calls for help from Benghazi were denied and two heroic ex-Navy SEALs died fighting to defend U.S. personnel from the roof of that CIA installation.
The following week, as the State Department, CIA and National Security Council all worked the "talking points" to make it appear that this preplanned terrorist atrocity was a spontaneous event triggered by an anti-Islamic video, Obama knew nothing of the discussions.
Yet if Rice's credibility was crippled by what she was sent out to parrot, a week after she got the egg all over her face, Obama was himself peddling the same line at the United Nations. Obama, it seems, may have been the last man to know the cover story had collapsed.
Yet, despite Tea Party protests to members of Congress, who made inquiries of the IRS, the discrimination against groups with "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in their names continued, and was extended to groups whose proclaimed mission was to defend the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
But nothing was made public before the election of 2012.
This weekend we learned that the White House counsel was told this April about the IRS misconduct and the investigations, but she did not inform President Obama. He learned about it from news reports.
And that is the best case. For it is difficult to believe the IRS could conduct a full-court press on Obama's opponents, that IRS higher-ups knew about it, years ago, and that Treasury knew about it before the election — but the White House was kept in the dark about a scandal that could have derailed the Obama campaign.
For years, Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other Democrats have slandered and slurred Tea Party people as enemies of progress — smears echoed by their mainstream press allies.
Who demonized the Tea Party people? Who created the climate of contempt? Whoever did gave moral sanction to those IRS agents.
Pat Buchanan is a former Republican and Reform Party candidate for President, an adviser to two Presidents, a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C., and the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?"