As if we really needed further evidence that running a campaign is different from running a country, the Obama White House served up a perfect storm of unjust job losses this week, only one of which received much attention. The level of ineptness and dysfunctionality boggles the mind.
By now, everyone has heard the story of Shirley Sherrod, the USDA employee who was contacted on her cell phone while she was on the road for her job and told she was to resign. The request order was a hasty overreaction to a doctored video and came without the caution of investigation that should have preceded it. Judging from remarks from Ms. Sherrod in the aftermath, for her this is a bell that cannot be unrung. Things will not be the same for her even if she is offered and accepts her job back. It is hard to believe that a DC insider like Secretary Vilsack did not know the nature of source of that video, Andrew Breitbart, when political activists of every stripe and range on the spectrum do. That investigation was called for should have been obvious. That the hand should have been stayed for awhile until the truth could be uncovered is very clear in hindsight.
But if hasty action robbed Ms. Sherrod of her career of more than 30 years, it is INACTION by the White House that, the very next day, deprived Lt. Dan Choi of the military career he loved. Lt. Choi, who is a graduate of West Point and fluent in Arabic, is openly gay and was discharged on the basis of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a law that Obama keeps saying he will repeal. We keep waiting , Mr. President. Why is there still no moratorium on these discharges? Why no executive order rescinding this law that you say is unfair and discriminatory? Why no swift, sure action on this, while the action against Ms. Sherrod was so speedy?
Finally, and also relatively quietly, Gen. Stanley McChrystal retired from the military at the end of the week. Had it not been for a few careless remarks, he would still be running the Afghanistan campaign, but it appears the Obama White House is too thin-skinned to take a few wisecracks for what they were. When he was recalled from Afghanistan by the White House, the media speculated that McChrystal would be Obama’s MacArthur. Hardly. McChrystal crossed no borders except perhaps those of prudence and disobeyed no orders. The White House has no sense of humor.
So the folks who gave you the “perfect campaign” in contrast to the one called “dysfunctional” by unnamed “insiders” who sang to the authors of Game Change now present us with a dysfunctional White House. And the woman who ran the “dysfunctional” campaign … she’s doing very nicely running a highly active and efficient State Department which she is in the process of reorganizing.
If you want to know what Hillary Clinton would have done as POTUS, just look at her record at DOS. By June 1, 2009, she had granted domestic benefits to partners of gay State Department employees. If she had been POTUS, she would have rescinded DADT by executive order on that date. She initiated her Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) just a little over a year ago. Were she POTUS, she would have ordered a review like that in every department. Judging from the news of the past week regarding the incredible mess our intelligence and security agencies are in, it is shocking that the current and actual POTUS does not take that example and ORDER this at least for DHS which is so obviously a mess. It has NEVER been an organized department. The Bush White House created it as an umbrella and no one ever organized it. The current secretary and the president appear as clueless about what to do as W was!
Lastly, a President Hillary Clinton would not have established an atmosphere in the White House that would have acted incisively without investigating first. That is why the domestic benefits did not come immediately. She investigated first. She would never preside over a White House that would pull an honest government worker to the side of the road while on the job, and tell her to resign. And Gen. McChrystal? Well, he might never have made remarks like that under Commander-in-Chief Hillary Clinton, but if he had, she might have called him in for a talk and probably would have ended up exchanging smart, funny remarks with him. If Hillary Clinton were president, these three people would still be employed in the jobs and careers they loved.