Here’s a little test to tell whether someone is unfit to be president of the United States:
Suppose the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has just been ravaged in an attack on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 that has resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
Suppose U.S. intelligence operations claim this occurred because of a spontaneous demonstration about a YouTube video that somehow spun out of control.
Suppose the U.S. State Department claims that no such demonstration occurred and that the attack and murders were the result of a well-coordinated terrorist attack.
Suppose the Libyan government claims that this was a pre-planned operation conducted by terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida.
Suppose that other American diplomatic missions in other countries are also under siege.
A) Promptly summon top intelligence and diplomatic officials to meet with you at the White House so that you might better determine which of these reports is more reliable.
B) Proceed very slowly; let some lower-level administration officials begin looking into what happened; let it be known that you are willing to wait weeks, perhaps months, to discover the facts about what when wrong; and instead of letting the crisis disrupt your schedule, head off to Los Vegas for a campaign fundraiser.
It should be obvious that anyone who would choose option B over option A is unfit to be president of the United States.
Yet it appears that this is the option President Obama chose. If he also promptly summoned both intelligence and diplomatic officials to the White House and made them present their conflicting claims to his face in the Oval Office, surely the Obama administration would have let the news media know.
Instead, the administration spouts platitudes about bringing the killers to justice and getting to the bottom of things sometime after Election Day while blaming the intelligence community and the State Department for messing up, without recognizing that in doing so it is admitting to a massive failure of intelligence on its watch and suggesting that the secretary of state deserves to be fired.
The narrative of an honest news media would be that what happened in Benghazi and the manner in which President Obama has acted in response to it is scandalous; that Benghazi has been a test of leadership and that Barack Obama has failed that test.
Of course, our media is not honest. But it still won’t be able to convince voters that Obama’s handling of the Benghazi crisis was anything other than woefully incompetent.
Fred J. Eckert, author of the book, That’s a Crock, Barack, is a former conservative Republican Congressman from New York and twice served as a U.S. ambassador (to the U.N. and to Fiji) under President Reagan, who called him “a good friend and valuable advisor.” He’s retired and lives with his wife in Raleigh, N.C.