Issue One: White House woes

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Benighted column

Regarding "The Loss of Trust: These Overlapping Scandals Drain Obama's Authority" (May 20 column): Why is it that the seemingly erudite columnist George F. Will so routinely resorts to spurious arguments and characterizations to advance his political agenda?

Among other things, he cites tactics used by President Barack Obama to get elected. First he cites the misrepresentation of the Benghazi attack, which was corrected after three days and occurred two months before the election. He also ascribed Nixon lawyer John Dean's quote about using "federal machinery to screw our political enemies" to the Obama White House, which as far as we know was unaware that the IRS targeted conservative groups until last month, five months after the election.

Finally, he compares Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' solicitation of funds from health care corporations for nonprofits to educate the public on the details of the Affordable Care Act, the law of the land, with Iran-Contra because Congress refused to appropriate federal money for this purpose. Iran-Contra involved a secret conspiracy to fund the Contras in violation of a law specifically prohibiting financial support for the Contras, whose death squads had allegedly murdered priests and nuns among others, by selling arms to Iran, which had just held American diplomats hostage for more than one year. That clearly illegal conspiracy was hatched and implemented by the White House with President Reagan's written authorization.

I did say seemingly erudite, didn't I?

MICHAEL JOYCE
Upper St. Clair


Beware backlash

Columnist Ruth Ann Dailey suggests it might be better for Republican campaign strategists not to dwell on the Benghazi issue until the 2016 presidential race ("Don't Get Giddy With Obama Scandal Fever," May 20): "If any single person must shoulder blame for those needless American deaths, it is Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose State Department refused Ambassador Chris Stevens' requests for additional security." This seems to assume Ms. Clinton will be the Democratic candidate.

But one problem partisan pundits have when they exercise selective amnesia is that it can produce unintended backlash -- in this case drawing attention to the fact congressional obstructionists like the ardent watchdog Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., voted against increasing much-needed funding for the State Department. Could this have been another factor that compromised diplomatic security?

When it comes to bearing blame, plenty of shoulders out there can do some heavy lifting.

JIM HOHMAN
Shadyside


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