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Bill Straub: Ugliness joins with falsehoods to come out in open, revealing McConnell’s disdain for Obama


It’s no secret that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has long looked upon former President Barack Obama with the sort of disdain the University of Kentucky faithful hold for Christian Laettner.

Now it’s getting ugly. McConnell, of Louisville, is pulling out the falsehoods. And that sound you hear is the dog whistle growing louder.

McConnell on Monday aimed some pointed barbs at Obama after the former president, in a private teleconference with former aides that was leaked to the public, criticized Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, characterizing it as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”

Moscow Mitch sailed over the absolute accuracy of that analysis to attack Obama for having the audacity to chide his obviously incompetent successor, asserting that the former president – and this is a quote — “should’ve kept his mouth shut.”


The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

“I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you,” McConnell said. “You had your shot. You were there for eight years.”

In other words, McConnell maintains America’s first African-American president should know his place and defer to his betters, regardless of the dark path his successor is ploughing. His harrumphing here apparently doesn’t apply to the sitting president continuously bashing his predecessor – Trump has taken occasion to accuse Obama of everything up to and including kidnapping the Lindberg baby and our boy Mitch has adamantly refused to criticize the president for doing so.

Trump has, for instance, slammed Obama on subjects ranging from the nation’s policy toward Syria to trade negotiations with China to – hilariously — the former president’s frequent trips to the golf course during his tenure in office.

During the G-7 summit in France last year Trump smugly asserted that Russia President Vladimir Putin “outsmarted” Obama by annexing Crimea from Ukraine.
Obama refused over the past many months to take the bait and challenge Trump’s claims, opting to let this sorry administration run its sad course. Recently, the president’s diatribes against his predecessor have grown evermore frantic, coining the term “Obamagate’’ to explain some screwy theory rattling around in his addled head about Obama leading some sort of coup to upend the Trump presidency.

Did McConnell, the man who believes Obama “should’ve kept his mouth shut,” provide similar tsk-tsking over the outrageous and whacky bilge spewing from the president’s pie hole?

Please. Don’t be foolish. To Moscow Mitch it’s always open season on Obama and it’s Obama being uppity when he dares to offer an opinion regardless of how justified.

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said it best: I’m sure Mitch is aware that a grown-ass black man who happens to be a former president has agency to speak his mind on how his successor is managing the crisis, especially since his successor has yet to keep “his mouth shut’’ about him.

“And classless?”

Thy name is Trump.

McConnell’s rant didn’t end there. He went on to essentially blame the former president for the nation’s coronavirus predicament, complaining Obama’s administration for any lack of preparation to handle a pandemic.

“Clearly the Obama Administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this,” McConnell said.

McConnell is wrong here. He is, in fact, telling what in impolite society would be characterized as a lie. It’s a lie because he uttered this garbage knowing it was untrue.

But the veracity of the statement doesn’t matter to Mitch McConnell and, as history has shown over and over again, the concept of truthfulness is something completely foreign to the current president of these United States. The idea is to find a fall guy to blame for the obvious shortcomings in the Trump administration’s reaction to the coronavirus threat which, as of this writing, has resulted in almost 1.4 million domestic cases – more than five times the number of any other country – and 83,150 deaths – the United Kingdom is second with 33,263.

To be clear, what we’re getting from McConnell and Trump is that old reliable blame the black guy.

It’s always worked before. Let’s haul it out one more time.

In fact, despite McConnell’s claim, the Obama administration ended in January 2017 having handed over to the incoming Trump folks a 69-page “Pandemic playbook’’ – a National Security Council document officially titled “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.”

Included in that playbook – on page 9, to be exact – were warnings about “novel influenza viruses” and “coronaviruses” that could require a major response. The playbook offered specific recommendations on technical questions that needed to be asked and answered, decisions on how to address the crisis and which federal agencies were involved. According to CNN, subjects addressed included testing, funding, personal protective equipment, emergency declarations, border control measures, diplomacy, the use of the military, public communication and even mortuary services.

Simply put, that playbook was ignored by the Trump administration. Hence the mess America finds itself in.

“The maddening thing is Obama left them a WH office for pandemics, a literal playbook, a cabinet-level exercise, and a global infrastructure to deal with something like this,’’ former Obama aide Ben Rhodes said in a tweet.

The Trump administration further during the transition was involved with Obama officials in a simulation exercise regarding what should be done during a potential pandemic.

Apparently, the lessons weren’t learned.

But wait, there’s more.

In 2011, Obama sought to bulk up the stockpile of paraphernalia that would be needed in face of a pandemic. Coffers were depleted to a large degree as the nation battled the deadly swine flu in 2009 and 2010. But Republicans, having assumed control of the House that year and maintaining sufficient Senate numbers to filibuster, told the then president to go blow his nose.

According to Pro Publica, “efforts to bulk up the stockpile fell apart in tense standoffs between the Obama White House and congressional Republicans.” Had Congress kept funding at the 2010 level through the end of the Obama administration, the stockpile would have benefited from $321 million more than it ended up getting.”

As a result, The Washington Post reported that 85 million N95 masks deployed from the stockpile during the swine flu crisis were never replaced.

That wasn’t the only time Obama pushed for greater preparation. In November 2014 he asked congress for $6.18 billion in emergency funds to enhance the government’s ability to respond to an outbreak of Ebola while simultaneously establishing “some of the public health infrastructure that we need to deal with potential outbreaks in the future.” He offered a presentation at the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, MD, urging that the U.S. invest in creating an infrastructure for dealing with an “airborne disease that is deadly” that would “allow us to see it quickly, isolate it quickly, respond to it quickly.”

“If and when a new strain of flu, like the Spanish flu, crops up five years from now or a decade from now, we’ve made the investment and we’re further along to be able to catch it,” he said. “It is a smart investment for us to make. It’s not just insurance; it is knowing that down the road we’re going to continue to have problems like this — particularly in a globalized world where you move from one side of the world to the other in a day.”

It fell on deaf Republican ears in congress. Guess who the Senate Republican leader was at the time. That’s right, Addison Mitchell McConnell who vowed to give no ground to Obama for purely political reasons when the latter assumed office in 2009.

The Trump administration took an entirely different tack when it assumed the reins in January 2017. It set about dismantling the team in charge of pandemic response, disbanding the group team in spring 2018. It also sought budget cuts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies. So by late February, according to Snopes, the federal stockpile held just 12 million N95 respirator masks, a small fraction of what government officials claim is needed for a severe pandemic.

It’s no secret McConnell held, and holds, Obama in low regard. Obama maintains all the political qualities Mitch can never claim – he’s photogenic, well-spoken, widely admired, charismatic, and has placed his country before his party. The Obama administration had its ups and downs to a large extent because Republicans refused to offer any cooperation – a Mitch strategy.

Yet he was a good president, and people realize that.

McConnell can’t compete in that arena. He isn’t even well-liked in his home state. So he gnaws away at Obama’s ankles, knowing what he said about leaving the pandemic cupboard bare isn’t true. That’s what it’s come to for Addison Mitchell McConnell.


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4 Comments

  1. First thing Bill Straub I have know for some time that the Democrats would make a push to create problems for our Senior Senator Mitch McConnell not that I fear her abilities to beat the greatest Senator in Kentucky’s history, for she was defeated handedly by Conservative Republican Congressman Andy Barr. This is not a race that Kentucky Citizens will support ultra liberal pro abortion, socialist who will take our second amendment rights away and push for Saul Alinsky radicalization of our schools. Like we see in the endorsement by the National Education Association of full term abortions pursued by the socialists leadership of NEA. The push by the National Democrats and liberal elites of Obama’s swamp with totally corrupt a Joe Biden, administration and are just using her as a attack dog to try and keep Senator Mitch McConnell busy so that they might try to pick up the control of the United States Senate. Sorry Bill Straub and other liberal Kentucky Citizens both Democrats and Republicans and Independents are smarter than that and We know that our Senators have wise Kentucky Judgement and are honest men of Godly Principles and love and prayers and heart and soul for all of us. They have and will continue to bring home the bacon for Kentucky and all of our citizens in a fair and just manner as will President Donald Trump and Mike Pence and team members like Congressman Thomas Massie a man who stands up for our Consitutional Rights and Godly Principles for all citizens red,yellow, brown,black and white born and unborn for they are all preshish in Jesus SIGHT. Now, I love you and I appreciate you and I doubt I can change or convince you, but I will still be praying for your enlightenment and I do know where you are coming from because I had grave concerns about Senator McConnell when he defeated my old friend Senator Walter Dee Huddleston , however after watching Senator Mitch McConnell over the years and covering him for my tv shows , even though I remember one time when he was introduced to speak at the Town Country Restaurant in Park Hills. He began by saying, ” I see John Stephenson is here, probably the most liberal Democrat in Kentucky is here”, which would have been close to the truth if you consider the philosophical principles of the Democratic party in the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s but today. I hardly recognize the socialists and communist bent of the leadership which promises a free lunch to every one. And the anti Godly Principles and the murderous assault on the babies of the World. I do not charge you with these hideous things but how any citizen of either party can except this pathway straight to hell is beyond my comprehension. Some things I do know Donald Trump and Mike Pence and both Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul have been great Leaders for Kentucky and America during the CORONAVIRUS PLAGUE and all of its ramifications. Let’s face it Barack Obama’s team and the Clintons and the gaggle of democratic presidential candidates have embarrassed themselves with their false racism charges against the President and his team.
    From even before The election of Donald Trump, we now know they were plotting the treasonous attacks and you and many of the media were spear throwers shamefully. Thank God the evidence of the unmasked is coming out because we now have a honest Attorney General, William Barr. These radicalization cronies in the justice department and the FBI could not stop the people from voting for Donald Trump and Mike Pence and team members The Swamp lost and so did the phoney media. The people won and I for one citizen who follows these things very closely believe that this team has done a unbelievable phenomenal job containing the CORONAVIRUS PLAGUE and prevented the massive lost of life which could have happened. All this while being attacked by fake news and a illegitimate Mueller investigation, and a treasonous Impeachment process costing millions of dollars and time with BOGUS false charges which were eventually thrown out and voted down. Now we see the walls of lies are falling under the weight of the truth.
    We now see the coup of treason by these gangs of power hungry criminals under the cloth of sheeps clothing. I find it hard to believe that you are writing such untruths about the Senator Mitch McConnell and the President Donald Trump and Mike Pence and team. I watch several different news programs and it is commonplace for total lies to be perpetrated as news and honest reporting. Now we have the “39” being unmasked as the radical treasonous gang of Obama’s and Hillary’s and BIDENS Team.
    So the strategy of the Obama’s team is use the CORONAVIRUS as their game plan and use their liberals in the media to plant the lies about racism and the positive effects of the plan RECCOMENDED by the President’s team. Only the liberal Democrats like Rahm Israel Emanuel and George Stephanopoulos and Chuck Todd can dream up how to use a crisis to the benefit of the liberal elites and your and their power of the press have a obligation to tell the truth and these false attacks are very harmful to our republic. Let the elections take care of themselves, people will sort out what is real and what is horse manure. I di know this fact, I voted for Barack Obama’s first election and never have I been more disappointed in his corrupt leadership and liberal elites Agenda and he had led the country into a World of abysmal economic capitalistic economic failures and not until Donald Trump’s and Mike Pence’s teams took over did we begin to return some equitable support from our allies. Our adversaries only respect power and thanks to Donald Trump’s Presidential team and Mike Pence we have return our National security Team to a secure position. We must return our manufacturing in all areas dealing with Health, Technology advances and defence.
    This cannot be done without a victory by Donald Trump and Mike Pence and Senator Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Republican majority in the Senate and hopefully a victory in returning the House of representatives to the Republican leadership. In short this is the most important decisions America citizens can make at the ballot boxes and I and my wife believe it will be the determination of whether we continue as a republic or we turn to socialism and ungodly Principles and lack of rule of law. WHAT HAS HAPPENED WITH JUDGE SULLIVAN IN THE FLYNN CASE HAS SHOWN AMERICA THAT MOP RULE AND RACISM BY OBAMA’S SWAMP IS MANIPULATION OF THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM.
    THIS IS NO DISRESPECT TO ANY SUPPORTER OF YOUR RIGHTS OR YOUR OPINIONS BUT FOLKS SHOULD HEAR THE OTHER SIDE. FROM SOMEONE WHO TAUGHT THE FIRST BLACK HISTORY COURSE IN A KENTUCKY HIGH SCHOOL AND VOTED FOR JESSIE JACKSON AND BARACK OBAMA AND MANY OTHER MINORITY CAUSES THROUGHOUT MY LIFE. EMAIL js7500000@gmail.com , Facebook and YouTube ,TRAVEL’S John Stephenson former Superintendent of Education for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

  2. Marv Dunn says:

    John, John, take a break. You have just repeated all of Fox News broadcasts for the last week. They do it with more bling!

  3. Richard says:

    Bill, something for you to read while you are in quarantine: The Obama Scandals: The 22 Worst Outrages of the Obama Administration

  4. Joe says:

    I agree 100% with John. Today’s Democrat Party is so far left versus the 60’s and up to the 90’s that they should merge with the Socialist Party USA. Also, please stop calling your party ‘progressive’. The true nature of the Democrat Party these days is totalitarian (regressive) and completely contrary to our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

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