When facing George Foreman, Muhammad Ali mastered the "rope-a-dope," a method of tiring a boxing opponent by pretending to be trapped on the ropes while the opponent expends vital energy on blocked punches. Ali would just smile, taunt, duck, block and move.
When President Obama agreed to a 10-minute Super Bowl interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, it was clear that no one does political "rope-a-dope" better than our president. He deflected questions, taunted Fox News for biased preoccupation with his scandals, and consistently denied any corruption or political motivation for the many already "fully investigated" incidents. It was political theater--smile, taunt, delay, deny and dodge.
As O'Reilly later confessed, no one can make the president answer any questions, but it should never stop us from asking and the media from digging for answers for questions worth answering:
1. There are serious questions regarding the Benghazi attack: Who said no to the requests for added security by the ambassador? Who refused sending additional reinforcements once the attack was in progress? When did you know this was clearly a terrorist attack? If not for political reasons, why did your administration continue to use talking points for weeks that blamed an anti-Islamic video demonstration gone bad when within 12 hours after the attack there was no question that this was an organized terrorist attack?
2. If the IRS targeting of conservative tea party groups and the sharing of their private information with opponents were nothing more than "bone-headed mistakes," why did Lois Lerner claim the fifth to avoid criminal persecution? Are we to accept your "no corruption" claim when the FBI's study is not yet completed and many targeted groups have not even been interviewed? Instead of putting a campaign contributor in charge of the Justice Department investigation, isn't it time for an independent investigator?
3. As a Senator, you called raising the debt limit a "leadership failure," but you now refuse to add spending concessions to any debt limit increase in spite of the fact that half of the 54 debt limit increases since 1978 have required negotiated concessions. Will you turn your debt-limit "leadership failure" into an opportunity to work with the GOP to tackle our deficit nightmare by making needed changes to the unfunded liabilities involved with Social Security, Medicare and government pensions?
4. Since you have used executive orders to change the Affordable Care Act without Congressional approval, why should Congressional Republicans trust that you would follow through with all the provisions of any omnibus immigration bill any more than you have with healthcare reform provisions you did not like? Why not take immigration in steps to build trust?
5. Is it true that if Obamacare registrations do not reach the projected enrollment numbers then taxpayers are required to subsidize insurance companies for the losses they will be incurring? Will you promise Americans that we will not take on any more debt for what has been a disastrous "unaffordable" care act?
6. You've made the gap between the rich and the poor a major focus. You've already raised income taxes on the richest Americans while nearly half of Americans pay no income taxes at all. The majority of working Americans are paying more for healthcare to provide free healthcare for others. Your policies punish achievement by taxing them more while rewarding the less productive through generous tax credits, extended unemployment and disability payments, food stamps, and free or subsidized healthcare. If you get more of what you reward and less of what you punish, explain how your policies can stimulate more economic growth when your policies have produced the most anemic recovery in decades?
7. Americans are very upset about the size of government, tired of out-of-control, automatic spending increases, and frustrated with the failure of you and Congress to pass a real budget. For years, baseline budgeting has allowed automatic annual increases in spending levels. Will you support House efforts to end such automatic increases and require passage of a balanced budget, and if you fail to find agreement, operate under last year's spending levels?
8. You claim that you're responsible and holding people accountable for the problems with the Obamacare rollout, Benghazi, the IRS failures, and the data abuses by NSA. To back up your claims, would you please identify any individuals in your administration who've been indicted or lost their jobs because of your administration's investigations?
9: Your poll numbers are down. If the voters respond by giving the GOP strong gains in the House and Senate, will you, like President Clinton, work with the GOP to stimulate the private sector business growth and encourage the Senate to consider many of the House bills already waiting to be addressed? Will you deliver on your promise to bring a new "non-partisan" approach to your final two years?