I am impressed.   How does he do it?  After the VA scandal, the prisoner “transfer” for a deserter, the unilateral war on American energy and the stubborn stench of lingering bumbled crises (Benghazi, the ACA rollout, unemployment, an so on), Obama still stands tall, even as he dishes out rationales and excuses that mystify.  On the VA debacle, he said with a straight face:

In terms of responsibility, as I’ve said before, this is my administration; I always take responsibility for whatever happens, and this is an area that I have a particular concern with.

This predates my presidency.

He does it right out in the open.

“It’s my responsibility.  I blame Bush.”

I feel like I’m watching a hamfisted magician fumble trick after trick, yet the audience jumps to its feet and roars with approval and applause. How does he do it?

And now, with the Bergdahl story getting riper than an outhouse in August, each new piece of information adds yet another furrow to foreheads already crinkled in bewilderment.

Okay, he wasn’t captured. Actually, it kind of looks like he left a note behind clearly stating, among other things, that he was leaving his post. And even as the administration and senior military brass chuff about “leaving no man behind,” the fact is that we didn’t. He ran off deliberately seeking his captors. This was known, but somehow undisclosed, until his bunkies started speaking up. The loyalist media’s current defense against this pretty distressing development so far has been an indignant claim that these soldiers are all part of a Republican plot, as GOP congressfolk have facilitated their access to not-so-loyal media outlets.

In fact, the media’s dismay over the details of this disastrous deal is so deep that it is tripping over its own feet; today’s New York Times published a front page story that admirably described with cold-blooded detachment how the objective of the negotiations was to engage the Taliban in larger and far-reaching discussions. But, over time, the administration continued to reduce and reduce expectations about the scope and breadth of such talks, until finally, it was forced to conclude that there was no possibility of any kind for any palaver outside of Bergdahl’s release and the “transfer” of five murderous Taliban chiefs to Qatar. But in the same paper, the lead editorial states:

In addition to returning Sergeant Bergdahl safely, the deal could have another positive effect if it helps smooth the way for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Apparently, the only thing this deal is going to smooth are the ruffled feathers of jihadi apologists, but the Times can’t seem to get its own story straight.

But not to worry. The released terrorists will pose no further threat to the US. The Qatari folks have assured us that they will be confined to Qatar for a year. Here we are compelled to read something into this statement, which appears to imply that spending a year in Qatar will take the starch out of even the most fanatical jihadist, but somehow we mistrust this inference.  We’re pretty sure that a week in Afghanistan is worse than a year in Qatar, however deplorable Qatar may be, and we wonder at the reasoning behind this “transfer.”

And, as always, the small details: while in captivity PFC Bergdahl was promoted to sergeant.

What?

How did that recommendation read? “For desertion of his post, as well as offering aid and comfort to the enemy, we strongly favor promoting PFC Bergdahl to Sergeant?” Hell, if he had fragged his whole platoon while they were sleeping, he might have made colonel.

A pig’s breakfast like this deserves a slambang finish, and we got one. As the press conference Obama gave with Bergdahl’s parents, the father concluded his remarks with some words guaranteed to make any American proud: ““Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahm.” This translates to “In the name of Allah, most gracious, most compassionate.” Obama beamed. How fitting, he must have thought, that we should conclude this majestic clusterfuck with such stirring evidence of our own inclusiveness.  Odd, though, that this is the phrase commonly uttered by suicide bombers before they self-immolate.

But there are skeptics. Some have bruited the possibility that Obama pushed this deal forward — in spite of its leaky logic — in order to drive the whole VA cesspool off the front pages. It’s as good an explanation as any, and admirable for its understanding and acceptance of the deepness of the presidential cynicism.

And the voters? Will they remember any of this four weeks from now? Possibly not, because there will most likely be a new mare’s nest to untangle, still off oour radar, but looming like a thunderstorm beyond the horizon, waiting for the foul winds to blow it our way. But while on the subject of voters, we might extend a note of sympathy for them. Read here about one of them, courtesy of Bill Quick at the Daily Pundit:

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

Poignant, isn’t it?  She’s probably an honest, hardworking and virtuous citizen.  People she trusted told her she could have the unicorns and the cotton candy and it wouldn’t cost her.  She believed them.  She did what all that is best in us told her to do, because she thought she could trust people who weren’t artists.  Maybe she should have known better — but people who did know better lied to her, and now it’s time to pay the piper.  And the piper doesn’t collect from politicians.  He collects from those stupid enough to trust them.

Hence, the magic of Obama. They called Reagan the Teflon president. We should call this one Mandrake.