Panetta: This crisis shows a lack of leadership in the White House

posted at 8:41 am on October 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Leon Panetta spent plenty of time in the Obama administration, first as a surprisingly effective CIA Director and later as Secretary of Defense, until Chuck Hagel took over this year.  Panetta previously worked for Bill Clinton during his first term as OMB director and then chief of staff.  He’s been around a few crises, and it’s safe to say that Panetta has been unimpressed by all of the players in the latest budget fight — but saves up a good portion of the blame for his former boss.  Ruth Marcus relates Panetta’s criticism of Barack Obama’s refusal to engage and the resulting chaos in Washington:

Asked repeatedly whether he was being correctly understood as critical of President Obama, Panetta was careful to assert that “I don’t want to put it all on the president” and that there is “enough blame to go around.” But he did not spare Obama.

“We govern either by leadership or crisis. . . . If leadership is not there, then we govern by crisis,” Panetta said at the start of the session, sponsored by The Wall Street Journal. “Clearly, this town has been governing by crisis after crisis after crisis.”

Which raised the obvious question: What does this say about the president’s leadership? ….

Then, to Obama. “This president — he’s extremely bright, he’s extremely able, he’s somebody who I think certainly understands the issues, asks the right questions, and I think has the right instincts about what needs to be done for the country.”

Next came the “but” — without a name but with a clear message. “You have to engage in the process. This is a town where it’s not enough to feel you have the right answers. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and you’ve got to really engage in the process . . . that’s what governing is all about.”

Kudos to Marcus for giving Panetta’s remarks straight. Unfortunately, some of Marcus’ colleagues didn’t seem as eager to relate Panetta’s criticisms of executive leadership in the Hopenchange Era. Marcus dryly observes that these reporters didn’t seem too unhappy with presidential leadership, or the lack thereof:

To some extent, the reporters in the room seemed more forgiving of the circumstances in which the president finds himself. Jackie Calmes of the New York Times noted that the Panetta-envisioned budget deal was illusory because Republicans refuse to consider new tax revenue. Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times observed that the White House would argue that its previous efforts at schmoozing and deal-making had fizzled.

Jeff Dunetz points out that some Democrats gripe about this, even if reporters aren’t anxious to report it:

Panetta’s comments are nothing new–there were grumblings in his own party about his hands off approach during previous contentious debates such as the stimulus bill, and Obamacare.

I would also suggest that the President’s continued “campaign mode” combined with his hands off approach and lack of leadership is a major contributor to the “meanness” that Panetta was describing above.

This is a President who doesn’t lead…he divides.

Marcus suggests appointing Panetta to lead the negotiations in the future, but it’s not a personnel problem, which is Panetta’s point, although he does suggest delegating the responsibility to someone else if the issue is mostly a personality conflict. Obama has plenty of people around him who could negotiate if Obama wanted negotiations, but Obama publicly refused to negotiate with the House at all.  Jack Lew or Denis McDonough could have worked with Congressional leadership, but that’s not Obama’s view of governance.  His view is that he sets the agenda and that Congress has to follow, which worked fine his first two years when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.  That approach has helped derail Washington ever since Republicans took control of the House.

That’s not leadership.  It’s arrogance and petulance, and Panetta correctly identifies the problems (without naming them explicitly) in this assessment.


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This is a President who doesn’t lead…he divides.

This is the quote that should be etched in stone over the entrance to the Barak Hussein Obama Presidential Library.

Happy Nomad on October 15, 2013 at 8:44 AM

I forget, is it objective or objectionable journalism?

NotCoach on October 15, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times observed that the White House would argue that its previous efforts at schmoozing and deal-making had fizzled.

translation: Hey, we’re all about giving an ‘A’ for effort. Thats what counts.

MikeInBA on October 15, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Affirmative Action President.

conservative pilgrim on October 15, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Everyone gives Obama credit for being so smart, yet he’s never proved it. My guess is Obama knows he’s in way over his head so, if he engages, everyone else will know too.

bflat879 on October 15, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times observed that the White House would argue that its previous efforts at schmoozing and deal-making had fizzled.

translation: Hey, we’re all about giving an ‘A’ for effort. Thats what counts.

MikeInBA on October 15, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Well the lazy stupid coward did take a bunch of left-leaning Republicans out to dinner once. What more should be expect from out “leader?”

Fact of the matter is that the rat-eared bastard doesn’t really have any friends on the Hill and doesn’t particularly like people in general.

Happy Nomad on October 15, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Asked repeatedly whether he was being correctly understood as critical of President Obama,

The incredulity of Marcus is palpable. A Democrat criticizing this President?!?! The horror.

conservative pilgrim on October 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM

“This president — he’s extremely bright, he’s extremely able

Clean and articulate too, I understand.

mankai on October 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Everyone gives Obama credit for being so smart,

bflat879 on October 15, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Everyone in the media maybe.

Happy Nomad on October 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM

He wants to keep congress and the entire nation in chaos so that nobody can shine the light on the Obama404HealthCareDebacle of 2013. Once this is over and O-Care getre coverage? It’s over for Barry. He knows it/

Key West Reader on October 15, 2013 at 8:52 AM

This is a town where it’s not enough to feel you have the right answers.

Feeling you have the right answers is the Democratic Platform in a nutshell.

mankai on October 15, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Our local paper finally reported on the National Parks/Monuments closing. The Million Vet March provoked them to write a story. Surprisingly, the article was objective. The comments are another story.

conservative pilgrim on October 15, 2013 at 8:54 AM

The incredulity of Marcus is palpable. A Democrat criticizing this President?!?! The horror.

conservative pilgrim on October 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM

To be fair, that incredulity appeared to be coming from others in the media, not Marcus. She’s the one who points out that the media wasn’t exactly open to hearing what Panetta had to say.

Ed Morrissey on October 15, 2013 at 8:56 AM

I never knew Panetta was such a racist.

mankai on October 15, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Feelings…whoa whoa whoa…Feelings…

Hey, Leon…

Welcome to the party, pal.

kingsjester on October 15, 2013 at 8:59 AM

This is a President who doesn’t lead…he divides.

Community Commie organizing 101.

antipc on October 15, 2013 at 9:00 AM

To be fair, that incredulity appeared to be coming from others in the media, not Marcus. She’s the one who points out that the media wasn’t exactly open to hearing what Panetta had to say.

Ed Morrissey on October 15, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Just highlights how un-self-aware they are. If they were so objective they would just report what they see or hear, not attempt to carry water for their favored political figures. And when they object to being characterized as biased they are incredulous that anyone laughs at their claim of being objective.

NotCoach on October 15, 2013 at 9:01 AM

“This president — he’s extremely bright, he’s extremely able”

Clean and articulate too, I understand.

mankai on October 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Let’s not forget: “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Gotta give Harry credit, he’s such a charmer.

climbnjump on October 15, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Panetta must feel that he was somehow treated unfairly, which of course is impossible. That would explain his low, cowardly attack on our wonderful, beloved leader.

claudius on October 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

To be fair, that incredulity appeared to be coming from others in the media, not Marcus. She’s the one who points out that the media wasn’t exactly open to hearing what Panetta had to say.

Ed Morrissey on October 15, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Presstitute Organs, Ed.

Steve Eggleston on October 15, 2013 at 9:12 AM

A moment of candor from Panetta. Perhaps he can enlighten us as to who gave the order to kill bin Laden and why the incompetent narcissist had to be dragged in off the golf course and seated in the little boy’s chair in the corner to watch the killing.

Basilsbest on October 15, 2013 at 9:13 AM

By the way, if Obama were so smart and self-aware he would have stayed clear of the White House.

claudius on October 15, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Poor old Leon might want to have “staff” start his car for the next few weeks. Just saying, you don’t go after the king without repercussions.

dirtseller on October 15, 2013 at 9:17 AM

To be fair, that incredulity appeared to be coming from others in the media, not Marcus. She’s the one who points out that the media wasn’t exactly open to hearing what Panetta had to say.

Ed Morrissey on October 15, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Golf clap for Marcus! I was referring to her repeatedly asking Panetta if he was indeed criticizing the President. I read it as “You can’t be serious!”, i.e., no Democrat–in their right mind–criticizes Obama.

conservative pilgrim on October 15, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Asked repeatedly whether he was being correctly understood as critical of President Obama, Panetta was careful to assert …….

Is that not the creepiest thing you’ve read in a while?

Blasphemer.

Ben Hur on October 15, 2013 at 9:20 AM

So did the Republicans craft Obamacare and design the computer program? Pres. I Won and his merry band of Keystone Cops have done a bang up job on our country and the press will not blame them.

Cindy Munford on October 15, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Bloody lapdogs

Lib historians will make sure nothing is Obama’s fault…. those pesky obstructionist gop were the problem during his term

cmsinaz on October 15, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Consequence of liberal affirmative action chickens coming home to roost. This happens in business these days when minorities are promoted past their ability. The affirmative action president, dumber than a box of rocks and out of his depth. The country suffers.

Now, if the GOP could get it’s act together, we might actually be able to get our country back. It doesn’t really say much for the current GOP establishment that they get regularly outmaneuvered and lose publicity battles to a such an imbecile with terrible leadership.

sauldalinsky on October 15, 2013 at 9:33 AM

I groaned when Mitt called prezzy barrycades a nice guy and a good father. How the hell does he or any of us know if he’s a good father. Taking the kiddies on a nice vacay a few times a year doesn’t prove anything. We all know he’s not a nice guy. Just ask any 90yo vet who wants to go see a memorial.

Kissmygrits on October 15, 2013 at 9:34 AM

I never knew Panetta was such a racist.

mankai on October 15, 2013 at 8:56 AM

He used to be a Republican so there you go!

monalisa on October 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Kissmygrits on October 15, 2013 at 9:34 AM

THIS.

Stop talking about who we think this traitor is and start stating facts about what he’s done and what he really stands for. The data is now overwhelmingly evident. He is a traitor and has willfully violated his oath of office. Impeachment and jail for him and his minions.

HomeoftheBrave on October 15, 2013 at 9:42 AM

“This president — he’s extremely bright, he’s extremely able, he’s somebody who I think certainly understands the issues, asks the right questions, and I think has the right instincts about what needs to be done for the country.”

I see/hear this repeatedly and yet I never see a follow up question focusing on specific examples. Certainly the President’s oratory skills do not bear this out.

DaveDief on October 15, 2013 at 9:43 AM

My guess is Obama knows he’s in way over his head so, if he engages, everyone else will know too.

bflat879 on October 15, 2013 at 8:49 AM

This nutshell.

hillsoftx on October 15, 2013 at 9:48 AM

All of the above comments merely showcase the statist, fifth-column status of the media in the United States. Our greatest ally over the years has become our greatest enemy. It’s becoming very clear that the first order of business in regaining our Republic, is to take out the media. Take out the media and the statists have no propaganda machine. How can we organize a grass-roots effort to boycott them all. I know there are enough Americans out there who could affect them and their sponsors in a highly negative way by taking away their revenues.

HomeoftheBrave on October 15, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Panetta is upset that:

Because the Dems wont pass a CR that DEFUNDS Obamacare the government has been and will remain shutdown.

And because the Dems wont pass a CR that DEFUNDS Obamacare the government will go into default.

2 more polls have JUST now been released and they show that it’s EVEN WORSE for Republicans.

From 2011 to today independent voters have averaged between 45% to 46% of total voters. So the fact that several of the most recent polls show that on average only 1 out of 4 independent voters support the Republicans and their handling of the shutdown is devastating proof that the shutdown is seriously hurting the GOP.

When matched against each other, 52 percent of voters say the government is shut down because Republicans won’t vote to open the government unless Obamacare is also dismantled, while just 36 percent say it is shut down because Obama won’t negotiate on reasonable spending cuts or reforms to Obamacare. Independents side with Democrats on this question by an 18-point margin.

http://gqrr.com/images/Blog_posts/documents/2013/Shutdown%20Survey%20Memo%20101113.pdf

And according to the bellow poll 76% of independent voters disapprove of congressional Republicans handling of the negotiations.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds nearly three quarters of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling negotiations over the budget (74 percent), up from 63 percent since the start of the shutdown after hitting 70 percent last week.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/10/14/poll_basically_everyone_now_angry_at_gop_over_shutdown.html

Definition of a clean CR according to Boehner is a CR with no attachments to DEFUND Obamacare.

Clean = no attachments to DEFUND Obamacare

Boehner has admitted he and Reid agreed to a clean cr, that passed the Senate at the Republican demanded spending levels, (BEFORE the shut down), but Boehner then decided NOT to allow a vote, despite that it easily has more than enough votes to pass, because the CR didn’t include an attachment to DEFUND Obamacare.

There are at least 28 Republicans that have gone public to say they will pass the clean cr because: “they’re done trying to force through provisions to delay or DEFUND Obamacare”. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/house-republicans-clean-cr_n_4024755.html

Because Boehner wont allow the clean cr, that already passed the Senate at the Republican spending levels and easily has enough votes to pass Congress, to be put up for a vote the government has been and will remain shutdown.

And because Boehner wont allow the clean cr, that already passed the Senate at the Republican spending levels and easily has enough votes to pass Congress, to be put up for a vote the government will go into default.

JustTheFacts on October 15, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Whenever a Party member mentions Obama, they have to mention how bright or smart he is.

I wonder what the penalty is for not doing so?

Most insecure (among many other things) POTUS, ever?

I can see Obama in the morning, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the smartest of them all.”

This has been an obsession with the left, and everything I have actually seen indicates barely an average level of intelligence and a below average level of competence and leadership skills.

This Obama clown really is in the mold of some third world dictator and all the fools around him, helping the charade, debasing themselves, and abandoning all integrity disgust me. This includes the press.

reaganaut on October 15, 2013 at 9:55 AM

You’ve got to roll up your sleeves

The only thing Jug Ears ever worked at was getting elected to office. He’s there for the perks. “Work” is waaaaaaay down on King Barack I’s list of things to do.

Golf anyone?

GarandFan on October 15, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Why was Panetta talking at all? And why now? I can think of three possible reasons:

1. Trying to remain relevant and in the limelight.
2. Revenge on Barky.
3. Was threatened by Barky and this is a warning that he’ll defend himself.

I would have expected a fourth choice – to boost Shrillary’s candidacy, but apparently that wasn’t an issue (or wasn’t reported).

Panetta undoubtedly knows where a LOT of skeletons are buried (including Benghazi), but Democrat “omerta” makes it unlikely he’ll reveal any.

bofh on October 15, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Whenever I hear Obama being called smart, bright, whatever… I tend to think of an over-indulgent mother praising her spoiled child on the most modest of accomplishments.

Exactly what are his accomplishments? And before you answer that question you should first exclude those made during his term with no effort on his part… no one should claim credit for merely being in the room when something is accomplished – in many cases he can’t even claim to being in the same room. How far did he get on his own, who are those he would have beaten if his goons didn’t kneecap them first, and exactly what is his golf score at this point?

It’s frustrating how any portion of criticism has to first come with a heaping helping of praise… what is this guy, a four year old?

Ukiah on October 15, 2013 at 10:10 AM

White liberals really do ruin everything……

libfreeordie on September 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Resist We Much on October 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Panetta is a competent guy, to have Hagel follow him in that jobs is an insult.

Cindy Munford on October 15, 2013 at 10:12 AM

“We govern either by leadership or crisis. . . . If leadership is not there, then we govern by crisis,” Panetta said at the start of the session, sponsored by The Wall Street Journal. “Clearly, this town has been governing by crisis after crisis after crisis.”

The two great dangers in a leader have to do with this.

The first is the leader who brags of his “crisis management” skills. (Carter and Clinton both did this.) What this usually means is a leader who is so dogmatic or disengaged that he doesn’t bother to look down the road to see developing problems. Because either he’s too dumb to notice same (Carter) or because he thinks it is to his benefit to be seen (baritone plus echo chamber effect here) Managing The Crisis!

The second great danger is a leader who is so convinced of his own superiority, omniscience and general effectiveness in all areas that crises will never occur, because he by his godlike “management” of everything will ensure that the conditions for same never exist to begin with. This was Clinton’s failing. It is also Hillary’s.

The One is an odd mix of the two. He has no “crisis management” skills, but then he has no noticeable skills at all, other than demagoguery, so this probably isn’t surprising. However, he is also convinced that he can solve or even prevent crises due to the awesome power of his personality.

His “reset” in foreign policy as an attempt to prevent crises by the latter method, putting him in the second category; I am so magnificent that no crisis will ever dare to arise.

But when crises do occur, he insists on trying to “micromanage” them as he attempts on everything else when he’s not golfing. It’s as if he sloughs off work except when he perceives a chance to get in front of the cameras, pose, and appear “Presidential”. Considering his narcissism, this probably isn’t surprising, either.

My estimate is that this is a man who ultimately trusts no one, not even his most devoted, fawning acolytes. He tells himself that “great men (like me) are always lonely”, but in reality it is his colossal ego impelling him to act alone, even ignoring the counsel of his advisors. Because if they differ from him, they must be wrong, because he is never wrong.

Such a leader can be counted on to stagger from one “crisis” to another, until he confronts a final one that is utterly beyond his capacity to cope. The usual end result of this is catastrophe. Not least because he will never believe that the situation is more than he can handle, until it’s too late for anyone to salvage it.

Carter’s was the Iran hostage crisis, and by extension Afghanistan. Clinton’s was the succession of crises brought on by his and Hillary’s corrupt nature, ultimately ending with the impeachment that nearly brought down his administration, plus his unwillingness to see the danger al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups presented until it was too late.

The One has yet to meet that ultimate crisis. No, O-Care isn’t it, and hoping it will be is foolish. Presidencies do not fall over bureaucratic over-reaching and administrative f**kups. It wasn’t the Great Society that convinced LBJ not to run for re-election, Nixon wasn’t driven from office by the failure of his wage-price freeze, and Ford didn’t go down to defeat due to “WIN” buttons.

When that crisis arrives, it will probably be international. And in the present environment, people will die due to his inability to deal with it effectively.

Probably a lot of people.

In other words, Fast and Furious was just the seating music, and Benghazi was just the overture. The curtain has yet to go up on the opera itself.

It may look like Gilbert & Sullivan at first, but in the end it is more likely to resemble Faust.

clear ether

eon

eon on October 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Sure are a lot of folks finally questioning the president’s leadership qualities lately. Where were they the first four years? Did they think ramming through the health care debacle was “leadership”? Running around the world giving speeches, was that leadership? I’m trying to figure out just what he’s ever done that makes them think he was capable of being a leader, and why they’re shocked to find that he’s not?

scalleywag on October 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

JustTheFacts on October 15, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Wow! Slate and huffpo. I’m impressed!

Barred on October 15, 2013 at 10:29 AM

It’s almost as if he has, you know, no leadership training or experience whatsoever.

/I just don’t understand it
/

Paul-Cincy on October 15, 2013 at 10:32 AM

If leadership is not there, then we govern by crisis,” Panetta said at the start of the session, sponsored by The Wall Street Journal. “Clearly, this town has been governing by crisis after crisis after crisis.”

I wonder if this is why Bark maintains popularity with so many low-info folks, particularly those who struggle to get keep their own lives on track, either economically or socially (or both).

These folks lurch from one personal/family crisis to the next to the next and always seem to be behind the eight ball (and look outward rather than inward for either solutions or to cast blame.)

There is a lot to be said for the “comfort of the familiar” and they may feel Bark is a kindred soul, just trying and trying and trying to “get by”, but stymied by forces beyond their control.

Bruno Strozek on October 15, 2013 at 10:37 AM

This is a President community agitator who doesn’t lead…he divides.

To a hammer the whole world is a nail.

As to Obama’s supposed brilliance, give me some hard proof and not opinion. Off teleprompter he speaks like a teenager.

jukin3 on October 15, 2013 at 10:39 AM

The REB governs on pure Alinsky, it’s all he knows. Alinsky teaches that you should not talk to your enemies, and you should not negotiate with them, because that humanizes them.

The goal of Alinsky is to dehumanize your opponents.

slickwillie2001 on October 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

That’s not leadership. It’s arrogance and petulance, and Panetta correctly identifies the problems (without naming them explicitly) in this assessment.

Sure are a lot of folks finally questioning the president’s leadership qualities lately. Where were they the first four years? Did they think ramming through the health care debacle was “leadership”? Running around the world giving speeches, was that leadership? I’m trying to figure out just what he’s ever done that makes them think he was capable of being a leader, and why they’re shocked to find that he’s not?

scalleywag on October 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

His own biography reveals his flaws, to those who read it as something other than a personal hagiography.

AesopFan on October 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

The REB governs on pure Alinsky, it’s all he knows. Alinsky teaches that you should not talk to your enemies, and you should not negotiate with them, because that humanizes them.

The goal of Alinsky is to dehumanize your opponents.

slickwillie2001 on October 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

This only works if there are no alternative information sources.
Which means it works pretty good most of the time.
The US used to understand this, with broadcasts of the truth during WW2 that influenced at least some in Germany, and with Radio Free Europe and its kin.

It’s a shame that we have to have a private Radio Free America now.

Our local paper finally reported on the National Parks/Monuments closing. The Million Vet March provoked them to write a story. Surprisingly, the article was objective. The comments are another story.

conservative pilgrim on October 15, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Now that small, local papers have as much access to events as the large nationals, through reports from people who reside in their own markets, I hope we will see more of this opening up of the news blockades. Editors find it easier to go with an objective story (or at least a less biased one) if they have a local source who was actually “there”, preferably with pictures.
Also, since most papers have partisans of all types among their subscribers, they have less incentive to be one-sided (in either direction) because they know exactly who will call the front desk to complain. If the market itself is monolithic, not so much; and nationals have a big enough base to be as one-sided as they choose.

IIRC, a local paper was first with the outrageous imprision of tourists at Yellowstone.

The Left used to like the idea of citizen journalists.

AesopFan on October 15, 2013 at 11:02 AM

“This president — he’s extremely bright, he’s extremely able, he’s somebody who I think certainly understands the issues, asks the right questions, and I think has the right instincts about what needs to be done for the country.”

He’s got it wrong. This president is anything but bright and able. It’s obvious he doesn’t understand the issues and hasn’t a clue what to ask. Because of this, he is destroying this country.

sadatoni on October 15, 2013 at 11:02 AM


In other words, Fast and Furious was just the seating music, and Benghazi was just the overture. The curtain has yet to go up on the opera itself.

It may look like Gilbert & Sullivan at first, but in the end it is more likely to resemble Faust.

eon on October 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM

I haven’t seen this good a short essay since Doc Zero left the Greenroom.

AesopFan on October 15, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Barry Soetoro: Harvard JD – GPA ? . Mitt Romney: Harvard JD/MBA – GPA 3.97. Transparency.

BHO Jonestown on October 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

“This president — he’s extremely bright, he’s extremely able, he’s somebody who I think certainly understands the issues, asks the right questions, and I think has the right instincts about what needs to be done for the country.”

He’s got it wrong. This president is anything but bright and able. It’s obvious he doesn’t understand the issues and hasn’t a clue what to ask. Because of this, he is destroying this country.

sadatoni on October 15, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Panetta is not a dummy. What did he see during his time at the White House that is not visible to anyone on the Right? (except John McCain of course).

It is entirely possible to understand issues intellectually (on one hand, on the other hand), ask questions that encourage subordinates (or superiors) to expound their own ideas, and repeat back what they want to hear about policy direction (the right instincts are always the ones that agree with your own).
Graduate students do this all the time.

It works best in a seminar classroom where the professor and the rest of the students have the same worldview, and none of them know anyone who disagrees on the fundamental issues.

AesopFan on October 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Obama can’t golf and chew gum at the same time.

myiq2xu on October 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM

JustTheFacts on October 15, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Wow! Slate and huffpo. I’m impressed!

Barred on October 15, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Apparently, she thinks repeating the same crap over and over again, while just changing the links, makes it true.

Tokyo Rose still thinks she sucks.

CurtZHP on October 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

This is just Panetta setting himself up for a really good seat in what may be the next Clinton WH. Her whole message will be about her being the only one running with the experience to lead the nation out of the GOP (and a little bit Obama – Senate)created financial and foreign affairs crises.
So this speech was just about him setting the stage for her coming election circus. The Clinton’s play chess while the others play checkers. I do not support them in any way, but I do not underestimate them either. The media will get-in-line eventually.

TrueLiberal on October 15, 2013 at 11:46 AM

“We govern either by leadership or crisis. . . . If leadership is not there, then we govern by crisis,” Panetta said at the start of the session, sponsored by The Wall Street Journal.

Never been a fan of Clinton, or anyone in his administration, but that’s actually a good statement.

And Panetta is probably the least objectionable of them all.

Of course, I note that he waited until he was out of the administration before daring to criticize the president, however mildly.

But maybe he just wanted to be out of the reach of Valerie Jarret first….

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 15, 2013 at 11:46 AM

To some extent, the reporters in the room seemed more forgiving of the circumstances in which the president finds himself. Jackie Calmes of the New York Times noted that the Panetta-envisioned budget deal was illusory because Republicans refuse to consider new tax revenue. Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times observed that the White House would argue that its previous efforts at schmoozing and deal-making had fizzled.

Yeah, there’s a shock.

Leave my boyfriend alone journalism at it’s finest.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Leave my boyfriend alone journalism at it’s finest.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM

its

Of course.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 15, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Everyone gives Obama credit for being so smart, yet he’s never proved it. My guess is Obama knows he’s in way over his head so, if he engages, everyone else will know too.

bflat879 on October 15, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Well, he talks as if he’s smart. He seems to understand when other people say smart things. To expect him to prove how smart he is by his own actions would surely be racist, right?

Panetta was in real danger of being called a racist, so he had to clarify.

Or even worse, being called a Republican.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 15, 2013 at 11:56 AM

JustTheFacts on October 15, 2013 at 9:53 AM

That’s very interesting. Essentially, all sides of Federal govt. must agree to cut a check with taxpayer money (or just keep printing money) in order to pay for any and all spending asked for or required by the Democrats. Essentially One-Party Rule. Okay, got it.

Now, can you provide solid numbers on how we are going to reduce our 17+ Trillion dollar debt, especially when we keep adding spending?

How serious can a debt ceiling be if we keep raising it? We’ve came near it 6-7 times already. If it is a unforgivable sin to hit the debt ceiling, why is it not also bad to keep raising it at our discretion? Doesn’t that indicate that the US has no fiscal responsibility? I can’t do that personally for a loan from a bank or the limit on my credit cards?

Can you provide a comprehensive list of detailed cuts to Federal spending in any and all areas over the last 25 years?

Can your provide certainty that Medicare, Social Security and now ACA/Obamacare will be fully funded and available to all who need it when, say, I hit the requisite ages, i.e within 40 years? And if they aren’t solvent, who do I “take that up with” as it were?

Can you also provide detailed instructions on how to get to this money tree that apparently pays for all of this?

I’ll wait while you gather all those facts for me. And expect to be held accountable for any assertion you make, since you are proving “just the facts” in order to obtain my support.

Saltyron on October 15, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Panetta is upset that:

Because the Dems wont pass a CR that DEFUNDS Obamacare the government has been and will remain shutdown.

blah blah blah cut and paste blah blah blah

JustTheFacts on October 15, 2013 at 9:53 AM

The Panetta is upset segue doesn’t make the rest of it on topic.

Just thought I’d throw that out there, even though I’m sure you’ve moved your cut and paste to another thread by now.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Jack Lew or Denis McDonough could have worked with Congressional leadership, but that’s not Obama’s view of governance.

Yeah, King Putt’s view of governance is calling in Bill Clinton to field questions so he can attend a party.

Maddie on October 15, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Our local paper finally reported on the National Parks/Monuments closing. The Million Vet March provoked them to write a story. Surprisingly, the article was objective. The comments are another story.

conservative pilgrim on October 15, 2013 at 8:54 AM

I’m sorry I clicked on the link!

Maddie on October 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Jack Lew or Denis McDonough could have worked with Congressional leadership, but that’s not Obama’s view of governance.

Yeah, King Putt’s view of governance is calling in Bill Clinton to field questions so he can attend a party.

Maddie on October 15, 2013 at 12:06 PM

As a friend of mine pointed out just this morning, The One has no interest in “governing”. He intends to rule.

There is a very great difference between the two. And rulers are most often the ones who ignore all opinions contrary to their own, even among their advisors.

H. Beam Piper once said that ultimately, a prince’s only judge is himself. While some take this to mean “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, Piper meant that first of all, a prince has to be certain that he is correct in his judgements. And second, he must not fear to act, no matter what others may think of what he does.

If the prince is incapable of the first, or simply assumes that he is always right no matter what, the second almost inevitably leads to disaster.

Davy Crockett probably said it best;

First make sure you’re right, then go ahead.

Simply assuming that you are incapable of being wrong, as The One does, doesn’t cut it.

clear ether

eon

eon on October 15, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Panetta stated the truth for the record. He reported directly to the President, and I doubt he ever received any leadership or guidance from the Commander in Chief.

lea on October 15, 2013 at 1:23 PM

eon on October 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM

I think you nailed it. And now I’m really afraid!

Maddie on October 15, 2013 at 2:14 PM

I’ll give the #$@#)(&* a flat tax increase, 1% across the board, if he gives me Obamacare’s total abolition.

{^_^}

herself on October 15, 2013 at 3:32 PM

I doubt the integrity and thoroughness of this interview.

It did not seem to contain any insight as to the quality of the President’s pant crease.

The Schaef on October 15, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Affirmative Action President.

conservative pilgrim on October 15, 2013 at 8:49 AM

President McNabb.

virgo on October 16, 2013 at 3:02 AM