Armstrong Williams

President Obama has an image problem. Granted, the sin that stained the Obama Brand was largely one of omission, not commission, but it’s something the president needs to quickly repair if the administration is to keep its momentum. To Mr. Obama, Tom Daschle was more than a cabinet pick, he was a friend and mentor. Perhaps that explains why the president was temporarily blinded by his loyalty to the former majority leader when he insisted Daschle was the right man for the job even in the wake of a similar scandal with his Treasury nominee. A loyalty that Mr. Daschle clearly did not see fit to reciprocate to his potential boss. Still today, many speculate the Senate would have confirmed Daschle. So why did the White House walk away when it did, leaving Mr. Obama to repentantly cry, “I screwed up…”?

Suspend for a moment the temptation to dwell on Tom Daschle the politico and focus instead on the process and climate surrounding Tax-gate. To the average American, Mr. Daschle, Tim Geithner, Nancy Kellifer, and any one else who cheats on his/her taxes is a thief. What would possibly lead them to believe they wouldn’t have to perform an act normal Americans confront and dutifully complete every year?? As one of my readers summed it up, “If I ever ‘forgot’ to pay over $120,000 in taxes, I would be in jail, not in the Cabinet!” Interestingly, these are individuals who believe government holds the answers to our problems today, and if we just sacrificed more of our tax dollars, we could help finance the Left’s Solution Factory.

Allowing this to fester for even a few days has caused many to question if Mr. Obama is dumbing down his integrity. It doesn’t make any sense – why allow the man who would be in charge of the government’s tax collecting agency to slip through the process, and not the others? What kind of selective ethical protocol is Mr. Obama applying here? Tom Dashcle will return to his posh lobbying career, and Tim Geithner will quietly go about his business, but the White House’s credibility is now damaged goods. That could take months to repair.

One doesn’t need to look too far back in history to learn this valuable lesson. For two consecutive election cycles, Republicans suffered humiliating losses because they couldn’t grasp the weight of their corruptive ways and the bitterness it left with voters. Obama’s team helped to blur that line last week, and today, the administration has lost the moral high ground.

Armstrong Williams

Armstrong Williams is a widely-syndicated columnist, CEO of the Graham Williams Group, and hosts the Armstrong Williams Show. He is the author of Reawakening Virtues.
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