The governor of Texas Rick Perry has compared these attempts of Mr. Obama to the notorious attempts of President Nixon to hush up the Watergate scandal.
Mr. Perry, probably, really has the right to say so. The fact itself that the secret services failed this operation works against the popularity of the current US president. It seems to be understood by everybody that the best thing to keep a good reputation after making a mistake is to openly acknowledge it and to apologize for it. But the US administration, for some reason, has chosen the worst scenario – the policy of hushing up the details of this mistake.
The operation, called “Fast and Furious,” was carried out by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was planned that agents of this bureau, under the guise of weapon smugglers, would sell weapons to Mexican criminal groups, and, then, catch them red-handed.
The first part of this plan was successful. A big amount of weapons was really sold to the Mexican mafia. However, it turned out that not all the criminals were caught red-handed. Moreover, the largest part of these weapons remained in the hands of criminals. Two Kalashnikov guns from this lot were found at the place of the murder of US border guard Brian Terry. It was also found out that other weapons from this lot had also been used for a number of murders in Mexico.
An investigation of this case started in the US. However, some details of this case looked so scandalous for certain high-ranking US politicians that they tried to hamper this investigation.
For example, recently, the House of Representatives demanded that the US Attorney General Eric Holder should be charged of lack of respect for the Congress. The reason for that is that Mr. Holder has concealed several documents concerning the failed operation with weapons from the Department of Justice. For some reason, President Obama, instead of ordering to make the documents concealed by Mr. Holder public, ordered to further keep them secret. (It is in the US laws that the president has the right for an individual decision of putting a label of secrecy on any documents.) This decision of Mr. Obama made many people suspect that these documents really hold something which the US authorities prefer not to reveal.
For Republicans, this was another chance to criticize their perpetual opponents, the Democrats. As it has already been mentioned, the governor of Texas Rick Perry compared this story with the Watergate scandal.
The name “Watergate scandal” refers to the notorious scandal of 1972, when the Republican Party was accused of setting eavesdropping devices in rooms occupied by Democrats in the Watergate Hotel in Washington. As a result of that scandal, US President Richard Nixon, a Republican, had to retire.
Rick Perry stresses that the Watergate scandal, for all its ugliness from the moral point of view, was, in fact, a minor accident in comparison with the failure of the operation “Fast and Furious.” This failure may have presented a serious threat for the security of the whole US, Mr. Perry insists.
The failure of the operation was a serious mistake for President Obama’s administration – but the attempts to hush up its details were probably a not lesser mistake. At present, when President Obama’s popularity is catastrophically declining, such mistakes are something what Mr. Obama needs less of all. Such mistakes may make many of those who voted for Barack Obama refrain from voting for him again at the coming presidential elections.
In fact, Mr. Obama has fulfilled very few, if any, of his promises of his first pre-election campaign. In 2008, he promised to bring order into the country’s home policy. Now, when his first (and, probably, the only) presidential term is nearly over, the US has managed to spoil the relations with Pakistan, which used to be probably the US’s most reliable partner in the whole Moslem world.
During his first pre-election campaign, Barack Obama promised to do away with the legacy of the gloomy epoch of George W. Bush – the notorious prisons for POWs. However, the prisons are still functioning. Besides, Mr. Obama is risking to lose the respect of the Hispanic population of the US because of his inability to resist the adoption of stricter laws of control over immigration. Recently, Mr. Obama abolished a number of tough anti-immigrant laws in the Alabama state, but did not abolish the right of the state’s authorities to check documents of people who are suspected of violating the US laws on immigration. However, initially, Mr. Obama promised to totally abolish such checking, saying that this practice runs counter to the US constitution.
But these are not the only reasons for the US citizens to be dissatisfied with President Obama. Many Americans believe that it is the ineffectual policy of the Republican Party, of which Mr. Obama is a member, that has drawn the country into a deep financial crisis. However, the Republicans are now trying to make President Obama a scapegoat for this.
Only a miracle can help Barack Obama to regain his former popularity again. But miracles, as a rule, happen very rarely.