Thursday, October 4, 2012

Failure To Stand Up For the "Law" Comes Back to Bite Obama In Last Night's Presidential Debate

President Barack Obama, by almost all accounts, lost last night's presidential debate--and it was not because of an outstanding performance by Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor did little more than unleash an avalanche of misstatements, contradictions and blatant falsehoods--and Obama let him get away with many of them.

But that's not why the president lost the debate. The reason can be traced to a statement from early January 2009, just a couple of weeks before Obama took office. That's when ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked the president-elect about the possible appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate apparent crimes of the George W. Bush administration. Obama replied by saying that he was inclined to "look forward as opposed to looking backwards," indicating he was willing to give Bush criminals a free pass.

In so many words, Obama said that his administration was not going to be concerned with enforcing the law. It wasn't going to exert much effort to ensure that citizens from all walks of life play by the rules. Obama appeared to take that approach into last night's debate, and it's the reason he got soundly defeated.

Don Siegelman in Alabama, Paul Minor in Mississippi, Cyril Wecht in Pennsylvania, and other victims of Bush-era political prosecutions know what it's like to get chewed up in a court of law where no one abides by the rules. They know the frustration of facing prosecutors, judges, and juries that "go rogue"--making up their own rules as they go along and forcing them down the throats of society. Obama got a slight taste of what that is like last night.

Romney made it clear in the debate's first few minutes that he was not going to follow the ground rules. When Romney started to respond to one of Obama's early points, moderator Jim Lehrer tried to remind him that he did not have time under the rules for a rebuttal. Romney kept right on talking, Lehrer did not take control of the situation, and neither did Obama.

The leader of the free world could have said something like: "Jim, all parties to this debate agreed in advance to the ground rules, and it appears that two of us--you and I--are willing to follow them. Governor Romney, on the other hand, is determined to ignore the rules and do as he pleases. The viewers out there deserve better than that; you and I deserve better than that. Everyday Americans are expected to obey rules, big and small, in all aspects of their lives. Governor Romney should do the same."

Obama, in his first term as president, has little experience with making sure rules are enforced. So it should be no surprise that he failed on that front last night. It gave Romney a debate victory he did not deserve. And it probably tightened a race that Obama should have had wrapped up long ago.

If Obama had given his OK for the U.S. Department of Justice to unmask Bush-era criminals, Democrats probably would have held the House in 2010, giving Obama's policies more support and putting the country on the road to a stronger recovery.

Instead, the president-elect signaled that he would be timid on fundamental matters of right and wrong, and he took the same approach in last night's debate. Because of that, the outcome of November's election is very much in doubt.


Anonymous said...

Really sad, Roger. When has the law ever meant anything to Obama?

legalschnauzer said...

You wonder if Obama received a slight taste of what Don Siegelman and other victims of the Bush Admin have faced. Life is tough when the rules don't apply. Romney turned the debate into a street fight, a free for all, and he won because of it--not on substance, but on an aggressive style that went against the rules.

It's much like that when you go into court against a compromised judge, a crooked prosecutor, a tainted jury--except far worse than what Obama went through.

But you could see the discomfort on the president's face, and I think a large part of that was because Romney wouldn't follow the rules, and no one called him on it.

Anonymous said...

Good points, LS. I kept expecting Obama to say, "If Governor Romney won't follow the rules of this debate, how can we expect him to govern by the rules?"

Anonymous said...

Obama also could have made a point about Romney acting as if he is privileged--that the rules don't apply to him.

It was a perfect chance to make a point about the mindset of the 1 percent, and the president blew it.

Spasmoda said...

I wanted to vomit throughout the whole thing. Terrible performance by Obama.

MagginKat said...

The first few minutes I was angry at Leher but then that turned to both Obama and Romney. Obama for not saying anything to that bully as 'he held him down and cut his hair', and at Romney for being the obnoxious, lying bully. I'm glad that a couple telephone calls interrupted my watching as I think I would have done what Spasmoda said he/she felt like doing.

Anonymous said...

In masculine terms, last night's debacle could be referred to as a" pissing contest" and no one wins.

I feel lost, left on the sinking ship at sea, while watching the captain flee.

Obama started out on a negative note making comments about being sorry his anniversary was being spent at a presidential debate; what a bad choice for a positive approach and opening. Was this his one and only attempt at giving a nod or a mention to women and women's rights? Afterward he seemed disniterested, intimidated, and frankly bored. It has been said that he was worried about the Syrian/Turkey war which seems eminent from yesterday's news. Is that an excuse to try and make a best friend out of the wealthy white man beside him? All the "I'm sure you agree with me Mr. Romney" and all the male posturing made me ill.

I feel like the democrats have rallied around him once again; raising money to throw at his campaign and once again he has let us down with his inability to remember or dare to use Romney's huge gaffes and failings and remarks to our/his advantage.

I feel betrayed once again. I voted for Obama in 2008 and I will vote for him again in order to vote against republican rule in this country. I was encouraging my young college freshman to vote but now it doesn't seem important anymore.

I think Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone should be the next moderator in the debate; he is not afraid to call Mitt Romney out nor Obama. I will not even waste my time to watch the next one though; I will switch over to SouthPark. Oh and one more thing; 2016 Hillary or Elizabeth for President is the ticket to win my support.

Anonymous said...

"... Perhaps the closest the debate came to a moment of truth was when Romney observed, “High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They’ll do fine whether you’re president or I am.” Obama smiled in response .... con't,

O.K., words judges want to hear? Oh absolutely and Obama has lost too much for the "democrats" to be able to "hold on" ....

"... The Romney camp was thrilled with their performance, as liberals blasted Obama for being underwhelming. Romney's campaign spokesman claimed that Governor Romney had won so clearly that “if this was a boxing match, the referee would have stopped it." Obama analysts, for their part, while lamenting the missed opportunity to essentially stop the Romney campaign cold, also pointed out that Obama did not leave any weak spots to be attacked .... RT con't


"... It is no secret that Saakashvili is the “West’s man in the Caucasus” the darling of Hillary Clinton and Obama’s US State Department, NATO headquarters and the Pentagon and the intelligence services of the UK and the US. He is yet another despotic dictator that has murdered, oppressed, strangled, tortured and subjugated his people with the support of the West in exchange for advancing their geopolitical agenda in yet another region far removed from their own borders yet where they want control...

.. As there is no statute of limitations on war crimes, Saakashvili has a lot to worry about and had better stock up on ties...

.. Saakashvili was one of the crowning jewels in NATO’s and the West’s consolidation of power and control after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union...

.. The loss by Mikheil Saakashvili’s party in parliamentary elections in Georgia may spell the end for his regime and a return to democracy in Georgia. It may also spell the warming of relations, soured by Saakashvili, between Russia and Georgia. For the West the elections may be the first step towards his removal from power, the loss of a queen, in their game of geopolitical chess...., con't, By John Robles, October 04, 2012, Voice of Russia and Stop NATO

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 9:12--

Like your assessment. A pissing match, indeed. It seemed Romney and Obama were whizzing all over the place, with very poor aim. And Lehrer couldn't even get unzipped. I think he's still looking for his fly.

Matt Taibbi as debate moderator? I like that idea. Not sure he would want to lower himself to take part in such a charade, but perhaps he could get the circus under control.

Big Mike said...

I thought Obama was supposed to be the superior intellect, the superior public speaker. Where did it go? What happened?

legalschnauzer said...

According to Think Progress, Romney told 27 lies in about 38 minutes of speaking. I would say that's the usual batting average for a Republican.

Still trying to figure out his No. 1 whopper. Perhaps the stuff about $5 trillion in tax cuts?

Anonymous said...

* Jeff Connaughton:

Why Romney Should Attack One of Obama’s Greatest Political Vulnerabilities, Wednesday, October 3, 2012,

"... Why has President Obama so far avoided responsibility for one of the most notorious failures of his administration, deciding not to pursue potential Wall Street crimes? Because Obama’s negative ads – and Mitt Romney’s own foibles — have successfully defined Romney as the candidate for the 1 percent. A recent Esquire/Yahoo! News poll shows that 58 percent think Romney would pursue policies that favor the wealthy, while just 23 percent say the same about Obama.

.. In reality, the willful failure of the Obama administration to investigate Wall Street executives is the political issue that should most frighten the Obama campaign – and I have little doubt it was the prime motivation for the unusual timing of the filing yesterday of a case against JPMorgan/Bear Stearns by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

.. Ignoring potential criminal wrongdoing by his largest 2008 campaign donors discredits the Obama message across the board:

.. He hasn’t always fought the 1% on behalf of the 99%, and he’s the main reason Wall Street plays by different rules than Main Street.

.. If an already dispirited Obama base – those who by the millions originally sympathized with the anger that drove the Occupy Wall Street movement – were constantly reminded by the Romney campaign of this odious Obama failure, some of them might stay home in November.

.. And it might be a tipping point for independents.

.. A recent Labaton Sucharow survey found that 61% of Americans will significantly factor a candidate’s commitment to rooting out corporate wrongdoing in their voting decision in November.

.. Our political system desperately needs this debate. In February 2009, before a Senate committee, then deputy FBI Director John Pistole testified that the fraud in the financial crisis “dwarfs” that of the Savings & Loan crisis of the late 1980s, when hundreds of S&L executives were jugged.

.. Yet the Obama Justice Department didn’t indict a single Wall Street executive.

.. Regardless, with a brazenness that is shocking to those who are paying attention, Attorney General Eric Holder, in a February 2012 speech at Columbia University, asserted that in the last two years the department had indicted more than 2,100 people for mortgage fraud and that the administration’s “record of success has been nothing less than historic.”

.. Trumpeting prison sentences for small-fry mortgage brokers ignores the central question:

... Did the Justice Department make a timely, purposeful, and concerted effort to investigate Wall Street executives?

.. The President essentially admitted that the answer is no, when he appointed Schneiderman to co-chair a second task force to investigate Wall Street mortgage fraud.

jeffrey spruill said...

Here's Obama's gift to the "rule of law."

Neil H. MacBride- U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Va. who clerked for the Federal judge that split the statute the feds had charged me with into separate offenses violating the 5th Amendment Grand Jury Clause.
Mr. MacBride also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Henry C. Morgan, Jr., United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk.

Robby Scott Hill said...

The truth hurts Roger. Team Obama certainly needs to heed your advice if they are lucky enough to get a second term.

Bev said...

Crime is worse than covering up the crime.

But, if by covering up the crime, you allow the criminals to rule….well….

I worry about Obama when I see articles like this:

As rightist terror surges, Obama’s DHS shuts down its rightist terrorism unit

Daryl Johnson: I tried to warn them

I wrote the infamous report that led Homeland Security to gut its right-wing terrorism unit

By Daryl Johnson


Why would that be? Who is Obama helping? Who would they run into?


Read a few articles (also needing verification by historians, journalists, professors) by Dan at

He says Romney has hired the Bush 911 “national security” people.


And, the problem about that would be:

AA Exposes Bush’s ‘Big Lie’: Flight 11 DID NOT FLY on 911!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

American Airlines is the source for information that AA Flights 11 (North Tower) and 77 (Pentagon) did not fly on 911. If neither flew on 911, the Bush ‘theory’ is a lie. If the Bush ‘theory’ is a lie, there remains only one explanation and that is: 911 was an inside job given a green-light by Bush himself.

These flights are critical to the the government’s crumbling cover up! Conan Doyle, the brilliant creator of the character Sherlock Holmes, said: “When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains however implausible must be the truth!” Bush’s official conspiracy theory of 911 is not only impossible, it’s absurd and insulting to intelligent people!

The Bush Conspiracy Theory is impossible! And it’s a Lie.


Darryl Robert Schoon

Excerpt from Light In A Dark Place, 2nd ed. 2012)

9/11 & Gold, Money and Power

With the rise of central banking, gold as money began a three century decline. Gold as power, however, continued on as usual.

In 1971, when the US cut the ties between money and gold, gold as money ceased to exist. Gold as power, however, continued. But because gold is power there is little real information on the connection between the two; and that information is often misleading as the powerful prefer secrecy and the true movements of gold are no exception.


.. a vast international criminal conspiracy at the heart of the American government … [beginning] with the criminal prosecution of former Reagan intelligence coordinator, Lee Wanta…Charges allege that the 9/11 attacks were planned and executed in order to cover financial crimes.


Also at

Bev said...

Still Evil after All These Years: The Franklin Scandal and Pedophilia in High Places

By Charles M. Young
Posted by Dave Lindorff


On one such foray in 2002, he stumbled on a scandal that I had never heard of. The scandal centered around the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, which was created to serve a poor black neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. During the 70s and 80s, its manager, a man named Larry King (not the talk show host), ran the Franklin as a Ponzi scheme and looted over $40 million, which he spent on an opulent lifestyle and Republican fundraising. King sang the National Anthem at the Republican convention in 1984 and served on several committees of the National Black Republican Council. He had a townhouse in Washington, DC, where he threw parties with many prominent guests. In August 1988, he threw a $100,000 party at the Republican convention, and appeared in a video in which he and Jack Kemp urged blacks to vote for George H. W. Bush. In November 1988, his Ponzi scheme crashed and the Franklin was shut down by the National Credit Union Association and the FBI.

All run-of-the-mill scandal stuff, and uncontroversial in the basic facts, except that as King was climbing into the upper levels of the national Republican hierarchy, Omaha was boiling over with rumors that he was also running a pedophile ring, pandering children out to rich and powerful men in Omaha, even flying the children to Washington, Los Angeles and New York for orgiastic, abusive parties with even richer and more powerful men.


The FBI has had a reputation for dirty tricks and blackmail for its entire history. The revelations about COINTELPRO, the campaign of harassment against the left during the 60s, were shocking to anyone with a concern for freedom of speech. If it became known that the FBI covered up a pedophile ring of the rich and powerful, I think most Americans would react as they reacted to the Penn State scandal, and the FBI would be drastically reorganized. Minimally, a number of agents in the Omaha office in the late 80s and 90s are guilty of the worst sort of malfeasance.

If it’s bad for quack psychotherapists “implant” false memories in their patients, how much worse is it when the FBI does the implanting with threats, beatings and perjury trials?

The Omaha World-Herald was the foremost local cheerleader for persecuting teenagers instead of investigating their claims. One of its own columnists, Peter Citron, had a long history of arrests for pedophilia and child porn and was implicated by two witnesses at Larry King’s sex parties. The long-time publisher of the World-Herald, Harold Anderson, was a big supporter of Larry King and had raised money for the Franklin. During the 18 years that King presided over the Franklin, the newspaper never noticed that King was living a hugely expensive lifestyle when he was supposedly making $17,000 a year in salary. The World-Herald Company is co-owner of Election Software and Systems, which counts half the election ballots in the United States.

Americans have plenty of obvious reasons to hate the rich and powerful. Wars for oil, rampant pollution, the destruction of individual rights, the constant lying about everything. It’s all on the front page, and it’s like old furniture in the living room. It’s hard for most people to notice. Boutique evil of the Gerry Sandusky sort affects fewer victims, but is more easily understood once the initial denial breaks down. If the denial of the Franklin Credit Union scandal ever breaks down, the consequences will reverberate far higher than happened at Penn State. Except for all those who died in suspicious accidents and suicides, the witnesses are still out there. Some might even talk about it. They talked to Nick Bryant.

Until the paperback version of The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse and Betrayal comes out in October, you can read more at