Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rope-A-Dope Again

I must review what Rope-A-Dope is, because some folks have forgotten, some never knew, and some are young enough never to have heard of it. Now everyone has heard  of Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest heavyweight boxing champions ever. He invented Rope-A-Dope. When he was up against a good opponent, he would let the opponent force him into the ropes. Then he would cover his head with his gloves and his ribs with his elbows and just bounce off the ropes as he took body punches. This is not a technique for everyone as you must be tough and strong to absorb the beating. Then, once his opponent was arm weary, he would come off the ropes and do the job he came to do. He hit like a sledge hammer and was fast as a scorpion. He would proceed to administer his own beating and win the fight.

Now, in government, sometimes things go wrong. Governing a country as large as the United States is complicated work. People make mistakes. Or as government spokespeople like to say in the passive voice, "mistakes were made". The administration takes responsibility and moves on. As Harry Truman once famously said, "the buck stops here". Often times, if the error was egregious enough, the guilty party would resign out of a sense of honor.

That is mostly true. There is one administration that never makes a mistake. Never errs in judgement. Never takes the wrong path. That, of course is the present administration. After four years in office it has always been someone else's fault. As George W. Bush was the most immediate predecessor and was so thoroughly demonized in the press, he is the preferred target. Then the administration just bounces off the ropes until people get tired of trying to find out who's at fault or another crisis appears. This administration has been blessed with an abundance of new crises allowing the old ones to pass into oblivion. 

The State Department just announced the results of their Benghazi investigation. They have found a "systemic failure" to be at fault. It was caused by "bureaucratic mismanagement". But, remarkably enough, no one was at fault. It seems to me, that if bureaucratic mismanagement is at fault, there must be a bureaucrat that mismanaged. Has the "not me" ghost from the old comic strip now joined the State Department? Or perhaps the conveniently ill and possible presidential candidate Secretary of State is just doing a "duck and cover" until the Benghazi situation is forgotten. (Within minutes after I wrote this paragraph, three State Department officials resigned under pressure. So if it's nobody's fault, why did three people quit?)

Also we have the, just released, report that Undersecretary of Defense, Michael Vickers, is the one that gave classified information to the people making the Bin Laden movie. The man released the name of a member of Seal Team Six. Just how stupid and dangerous is that. But since he is a member of the Obama team it's OK. He'll keep his job and won't even be reprimanded, never mind prosecuted. Remember how the Democrats screamed about Valarie Plame.

Against laws and the promise of openness, Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA had a secret e-mail account under another name for communications that she could not afford to have go public. While Republicans are calling for an explanation, none seems to be forthcoming.

Another good example is "Fast and Furious". After years of lies, some testimony, and page upon page of heavily redacted documentation, only a few fairly low level bureaucrats have been named as responsible. In Rope-A-Dope some lower level  employees may have to take a hit. That's the result of the body blows. But there is never a knock out punch landed. Now we find that another person, a young Mexican woman, has been killed by one of the guns sold across the border with our government's support.

So that's all you have to do to survive politically. Just bounce off the ropes, soak up the body blows, and protect the head. Above all, you must protect the head.

Just a thought: Why have common sense and common courtesy become so uncommon?

Merry Christmas everyone! I'll be back after the holiday.

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