Friday, October 19, 2012

Obama Comments on Diplomats Reveal a Lot About His Responsibilities, His Oath, and His View of the Presidency

Concerning the second presidential debate, Duncan writes, rightly, that
People may be getting Benghazi fatigue but here's something that I haven't heard anyone pick up on...or I'm missing a lot of analysis.

Here's the first part of Obama's debate answer to the question on Benghazi.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me, first of all, talk about our diplomats, because they serve all around the world and do an incredible job in a very dangerous situation.
And these aren’t just representatives of the United States; they’re my representatives. I send them there, oftentimes into harm’s way [my emphasis]. I know these folks, and I know their families.
So nobody’s more concerned about their safety and security than I am.
So, here we have Obama admitting that the "buck stops here." He is responsible for the safety of our diplomats and their staff because he sends them to their assignments. Why then is the media letting Hilary take the fall (a rhetorical question)? She's only second in command in foreign affairs. We have it in his own words; Obama is the boss and nobody is more concerned about their safety than he is.
But I would add that there is another, perhaps even more fundamental, aspect to the situation:

The diplomats are not Obama's diplomats, just like the secretaries (of state, defense, etc) are not Obama's secretaries (an issue that came up earlier during the Obama administration) and the members of the U.S. military are not Obama's soldiers; they serve the United States, and the United States only (as well as her people), in the same way that… Barack Obama himself is supposed to serve the United States. He is the people's servant, not their lord and master.

This is why the oath of all of the above — not least the (incoming) president himself — is not to the president, but to the U.S. Constitution.