I don’t pretend to be without a strong preference in tomorrow’s election. I am voting for Mitt Romney and, without apology, I urge everyone to do the same. Nevertheless, trying to be as objective as I can after a week of living Sandy’s aftermath, two things – by themselves, even without the many others well catalogued in this IBD editorial – should disqualify Barack Obama from serving as president, much less from being reelected.
The first is the Benghazi attack. We now know not only that the president was aware that Americans were targets of a lethal, coordinated terrorist attack while it was underway; Catherine Herridge – who, along with Jennifer Griffin and their Fox News colleagues, continues to do extraordinary work covering a story the Obamedia is desperate to bury – has reported that just a few weeks before the fatal jihadist operation that killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the Ambassador directly cabled the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to warn that the consulate in Benghazi could not withstand a “coordinated attack” by terrorists. Such an attack was foreseeable in flashing neon given the prior attacks on the consulate, the prior attack on British diplomats nearby, the cable’s report of jihadist training activity in Benghazi (including by al Qaeda and its local franchise, Ansar al-Sharia), the previous requests by U.S. personnel for enhanced security measures, and everything that was already known at the time of Obama’s ill-conceived, unprovoked war against Qaddafi about Benghazi’s being Libya’s Jihad-Central.
President Obama and his administration recklessly erected a diplomatic installation in a place too dangerous to have one even if there had been U.S. military security. It contracted out what passed for security to Libyans incapable of providing it — and, almost certainly, disinclined to provide it. It had mega-notice that jihadist terror attacks were not only in the offing but had recently occurred, and that September 11 was a day that screamed out for heightened protective measures. The commander-in-chief was aware of the attack as it was occurring – indeed, hours before it ended – had military assets a short distance away and capable of suppressing the enemy, yet failed to take actions that could easily have saved American lives.
Despite all this, the president and his administration outrageously blamed the attack on an obscure video that had nothing to do with what happened. They went so dishonorably far as to cite the video in the presence of the coffins of Americans killed in Benghazi. Not content with that, they launched a mendacious, vindictive prosecution against a man said to be responsible for the video – a man whose only apparent “crime” was to exercise his First Amendment rights in a manner disapproved of by our Islam-pandering president. And for want of a better explanation (gross incompetence doesn’t come close), all this was done in the service of a political agenda to portray Obama’s disastrous Libya policy as a success, the “Arab Spring” as an Obama-driven triumph of democracy rather than an Obama-enabled ascendancy of Islamic supremacism, and Obama counterterrorism as a bin Laden-slaying victory rather than an al Qaeda surging failure.
What happened in Benghazi – the lead-up, the catastrophe of September 11, and the ongoing cover-up – is no longer just a debacle. It is an impeachable offense. Putting Americans in peril and grossly failing to take action to protect Americans under siege – in fact, under siege by an enemy with whom we were and are at war – is the most shocking form of dereliction of duty. Serially lying to the American people about the cause of the attack – in fact, covering up the fact that it was a coordinated terrorist attack in order to conceal the fact that the administration had been warned about the possibility and wages of a coordinated terrorist attack – is an inexcusable betrayal of the president’s oath of office. Benghazi makes Watergate and the Lewinsky scandal look like child’s play. Obama has shunned the highest responsibilities of his office, which are the security of Americans from hostile foreign threats and honesty in dealing with the citizens he serves. He should be removed. The voters can do it tomorrow, but it cannot be done fast enough.
Second, the storm that strafed the East Coast days before the election ought to remind every American to ask: What happened to the $800 billion-plus in stimulus funds? (And I’d note that, at Cato, Thomas Firey puts it at more like $2.5 trillion – and itemizes.) I do not subscribe to the Keynesian conceit that a dollar of government spending results in a dollar-plus of positive economic activity in the private sector, but if you’re going to do it, the constitutional concept of “general welfare” demands no less than that taxpayer money be spent only in a manner that benefits all Americans. (As I’ve argued before, I believe it may only be spent for the purposes enumerated in Article I, but put that aside for now.) Where are the improvements in our infrastructure? Where are the billions that could have been spent on improvements that might have left a region less paralyzed by a weather-related disaster?
In stark contrast, Obama took over $800 billion from us and shoveled it to his base, his cronies, the illusion of “green energy,” and state and municipal governments nearly as poorly run as the federal Leviathan. He has robbed Americans of millions of jobs, present growth, and future prosperity. This is larceny on an unprecedented scale, and we have nothing to show for it but mountainous, exploding debt – debt that will crush our children and their children … if we get that far. It is a profound betrayal of the intergenerational bond that is the foundation of our society.
These two things alone, Benghazi and a death-spiral of spending under the camouflage of “stimulus”, are more than reason enough to deny President Obama a second term. He must be defeated – and then we must, rather than resting, turn to the important task of minimizing the damage he can done before President Romney is sworn-in eleven weeks from now.
Andrew C. McCarthy is the author of the New York Times bestsellersThe Grand Jihad and Willful Blindness. He is a contributing editor at National Review and co-chairs the Center for Law & Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He also writes the Ordered Liberty blog at PJMedia.com.