Obama Administration Folding Too Quickly to GOP Pressure

Does the Obama administration have a spine?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    President Obama continues a whirlwind week of public diplomacy.

    Okay, full disclosure. The writer of this article is from the conservative part of the political firmament.  However, he's struck by what seems like a relative lack of backbone in the Obama administration.  As far as my side of the ideological divide goes, hey, great. We'll push as much as we can to either get what we want or make sure that the left doesn't get what it wants. 

    However, were this writer a Democrat, he might start getting a bit distraught over how quickly the Obama team caves on both principle and defense of its own supporters and colleagues. 

    The latest example of this is the resignation accepted on Thursday of Yosi Sergeant, communications director of the National Endowment of the Arts.  Sergant was exposed by the conservative Big Government site (same one responsible for the distribution of the ACORN videos) as having encouraged NEA grant applicants on a conference call to overly politicize their work:

    "I would encourage you to pick something, whether it’s health care, education, the environment, you know, there’s four key areas that the corporation has identified as the areas of service," Sergant told artists on the call, which he reportedly invited some of them to attend. "My ask would be to apply artistic, you know, your artistic creative communities utilities and bring them to the table," he said.

    Conservative denounced Sergeant's statements as being out of bounds.  The NEA originally stood by their communications director; then, today, the ax was announced. 

    This, of course, comes a few weeks after the Van Jones defenestration.  He, of course, had his signature on his a 9/11 "Truther" document, so there was little hope for him. 

    What was Sergant's offense? Being somewhat political.  Shocking!! The NEA has been a hot-point for those on the right for decades. Frankly, we don't think government should be funding the arts.  But, hey, even with a twelve-year GOP congressional majority, Republicans couldn't get rid of the NEA.  So it's still around. The country is stuck with it.

    Given that, why was Sergant's action a firing offense? 

    Shouldn't liberals be asking, why doesn't the administration stand up for someone who's offense was actually figuring out a way to "creatively" advance the administration's objectives?  He went too far? Fine. Take him aside, give him the professional version of sending him to his room without his supper and move on. 

    Realistically speaking, if a political base doesn't believe that a politician or an administration is willing to stand up for that base's principles -- and the people in the administration trying to effect those principles -- the base will lose heart and confidence.  Meanwhile, the opposition -- yep, us nasty conservatives -- will take heart in having gotten another scalp from this administration.   

    To the extent that politics is a type of warfare, elected leaders have to show cover for their "soldiers" on the battlefield. If the Obama administration doesn't show a greater willingness to fight for its troops, it might start seeing some desertions. 

    New York writer Robert A. George blogs at Ragged Thots. Follow him on Twitter