OP-ED: The Wrong Year for Democrats to Miss So Many Chances

By Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick

 One of my favorite quotes by the easily quotable late Israeli statesman Abba Eban was his reference to his foe the PLO’s Yasser Arafat.  Eban summed up so much with: “Arafat never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity!”

The same might be said for whoever among current Democratic Party strategists is failing to take advantage of potentially impressive questions that could put the Republicans at least on the defensive, even in areas where they have made some good headlines for themselves.

And those kinds of oversights are frankly inexcusable in one  of the most combative election years in a long time, one that could snatch the U.S. Senate Democratic majority by the Republicans.

Here are just a  couple of areas Democrats have waited far too long to  hit on:

Snowden:  This man was cleared by an outfit run by a bunch of former Capitol Hill staffers who have reportedly collected more than $250 million bucks from the taxpayers conducting sensitive clearances.  The outfit has yet to be targeted with sharp questions about their potential screwup with Snowden and maybe tons of other clearances that could be questionable.  Why have they missed this juicy opportunity?

Also re:  Snowden who had worked for the major consulting outfit Booz Allen whose work relies heavily on federal contracts.  Not one indication the Democrats want them publicly probed for their relationship with Snowden and others with super top secret clearances.

The VA Hospital Scandal:  Knowledgeable people on the Hill have known for years, all the way back to the Vietnam disaster, that returning troops’ mental and physical traumas in massive numbers were getting worse than short shrift in these hugely expensive facilities.  While handling by the Obama administration of the whole scandal has been clumsy, like the wars that created these tons of problems, the mismanagement hardly began with this administration.

All the way back to around 2003, the Baltimore Sunpapers carried a headline “Army’s Suicide Rate Has Outside Experts Alarmed.”  By 2010, in a piece titled Troops’ Mental Health Is Off The Nation’s Radar, I reported 160 active-duty Army suicides just in the year from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009.

While Democrats and the President are being bashed in the media and the Halls of Congress, why has the party failed utterly to face the Republicans with the fact they were AWOL long before now?  Even worse, the Dems have missed the chance to ask just why veteran groups made much less fuss on the subject for years until the current Congressional election stage productions.

Benghazi: No question what occurred in that Libyan enclave was bloody and tragic.  The Republicans have been able to make mincemeat of the klutzy handling by the Democrats.  Seems much of the shouting matches have centered on why either the administration allegedly failed to respond to calls for support or seemed unaware of the inherent dangers.  Democrats, on the other hand, seemed to forget President Ronald Reagan got off scot free when he sent 240 unarmed and unguarded United States Marines to their deaths in 1983 despite lengthy warnings from key staff here and there and even warnings by the late UK leader Maggie Thatcher.

For that tragedy, the President merely hired a retired Admiral to do an investigation, overlooking any call for a Congressional probe and its attendant heavy media review as the current situation has evolved.  Even more puzzling, the Admiral concluded the blame rested on Marine Corps commanders, Reagan gallantly said it ultimately was his responsibility, and it all faded into the next international and political situation.

How did the Democrats drop that ball as well, and mostly why?

These are only a  couple of major confusing questions yet to be raised at a time when power bases for both parties are more than a little up in the air.

And the real question for Democratic silence is:  Why?!

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Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications, including huntingtonnews.net. Honick can be reached at joehonick@gmail.com.

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