George Graham

The Back Stabbers


I would call them rats that desert a sinking ship but I don’t know any rats who bit the hand that fed them and I believe history will show President Obama’s ship of state is weathering the current storm. So I’ll leave it to you to select an appropriate designation for the former Obama aides who are dumping on his presidency.

This is a lousy election, the midterm contest coming up in a few weeks.The campaigns reek of mean spirited bile, and the candidates stoop lower and lower as they grovel for a few more pennies and a few more votes.

And these are lousy times, with the TV wailing incessantly about Ebola and ISIS, while revelations continue to emerge of racist police policies, voter suppression, economic oppression, immigration injustice and political corruption.

But it is not President Obama’s fault.

I am certain he was not involved in the spread of Ebola to America, and I don’t know what he could have done to prevent the Islamic State from emerging as a deadly scourge.

So what if he enjoys a game of golf now and then? How could that possibly motivate Putin to invade the Ukraine and threaten to start World War III?

Obama’s critics are in full voice, of course. And even the current crop of Democratic candidates are scurrying to distance themselves from the President. The media are joyfully reporting the trash talk without bothering to examine its merit – or lack of merit.

In the prevailing dump-on-Obama frenzy, nobody is taking the trouble to examine the sources of the torrent of criticism and test their credibility.

Take that Judas, Leon Panetta, for example, He is not only a discredited CIA spook (cartoon above). He is also an equal opportunity back stabber, trashing whatever president he chooses to serve under – Republican and Democrat alike. He betrayed Nixon when he worked for Nixon. He betrayed Clinton when he worked for Clinton. And now he is betraying Obama after working for him, too.

I’m sure you know Panetta just published a tell-all memoir that condemns President Obama for all kinds of foreign policy blunders, even blaming him for the rise of ISIS.

Panetta is not alone. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates also published a book that looks askance at the President’s record as commander in chief. But who is Robert Gates? Isn’t he the man who executed and presumably concurred in the president’s policies?

I don’t have the space to examine those policies here. But I challenge you to come up with better ones under the conditions facing this President.

How would you have fared with a Congress committed to blocking every one of your initiatives and appointments?

It’s the stonewalling of key administrative appointments that caused the delays and administrative breakdowns contributing to some of the nation’s woes, for example.

Even with this intolerable Congress, America’s first black president has managed to record some remarkable achievements. I am confident that history will vindicate him.

Don’t believe me? Perhaps you’ll believe Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman. In a recent Rolling Stone defense of the president, he writes:

Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected.

Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.

A responsible media would spend more time quoting reliable sources like Paul Krugman and less time regurgitating the bile from disgruntled former employees like Leon Panetta and Robert Graves. But you and I know they probably won’t.

Click for more on Krugman’s article.

Click for more on Obama’s critics.

Click for more on golf criticism.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for