Poor Barack Obama. Ending his fifth year as the world’s most powerful man, he is running out of scapegoats and fairy tales. Blaming George W. Bush has lost its punch, and the ObamaCare debacle is shredding the myths he is competent and honest.
Still, before he rides off into that sunset of self-pity and low poll ratings, he ought to invite his remaining friends over for a heart-to-heart. That way he can tell The New York Times that its fanatical support does him no favors.
Instead, it feeds his arrogance and reinforces his belief that he can solve any problem with another speech. The unflattering truth doesn’t stand a chance — until it is too late.
Not that the president would admit any of that, of course, but the Obama Protection Racket, led by the Times, cuts both ways. It is a key reason he has defied political gravity for so long, and also why he is now in deep trouble. As watchdogs became lapdogs, the presidential bubble grew impenetrable, isolating him from ordinary Americans and the trickle-down pain of his policies.
From the broadcast networks to MSNBC and most large papers, Obama got the benefit of every doubt. The double standards were a daily disgrace so routine, they mostly provoked a shrug instead of outrage.
The ObamaCare debacle is the exception that proves the rule. Wall-to-wall complaints are forcing the media to report that the law’s Web site is a lemon and that its rules are causing millions of people to lose insurance plans they liked.
The mainstream media is acting only because the story is too big to ignore. Had it been mildly skeptical sooner, it could have exposed the law’s destructive rules and prevented the disaster.
Yet the Times, especially its editorial page, remains his most devoted cheerleader. The latest example is embarrassing enough to make a Gray Lady blush.
After the president’s repeated promise that “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it” was proven false, the editorial page tried to clean up his mess. On Nov. 2, it charged that Republicans were stoking “consumer fears and confusion” by highlighting reports of people losing insurance.
Then came the coverup: “Mr. Obama clearly misspoke” when he made those promises, the editorial said, before dismissing the problems as an “overblown controversy.”
The “misspoke” defense set off a firestorm, and even the paper’s gentle public editor suggested it was too kind. Naturally, the editors defended their decision not to accuse the president of an outright lie.
Yet even Obama concluded he had to apologize. His recognition of the uproar will result in changes, if only because Senate Democrats are running for their lives.
The episode graphically illustrates how the Times has harmed the nation by reflexively protecting Obama, facts be damned.
Instead of just expressing its own liberal views, the editorial page serves as the propaganda arm of the administration, the Jay Carney of print media. Its daily drumbeat of shrill partisanship leaves it indistinguishable from Dem party hacks who spend their waking hours demonizing Republicans.
The ritual is distressingly clear. Any White House claim that a critic is “political” sends the Times to war. The news pages play along by treating Obama’s every utterance as sacred, thus crowding out the facts that don’t fit his agenda.
This power to shape the narrative is not limited to its own pages. The newspaper’s brand still commands sufficient cachet that stories it downplays — such as the Benghazi terror attack or IRS targeting of conservative groups — quickly disappear from other media as well. And that lets the president off the hook and keeps much of the public in the dark.
At least that was the pattern until now. ObamaCare is such a direct hit on so many people that it could change everything.
If predictions are accurate that tens of millions of families will lose their current insurance policies, Obama and the Democratic lemmings will be seriously damaged.
The lapdogs and cheerleaders won’t get off easy, either. Not when their crime was covering up his.
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Michael Goodwin was an Obama voter in 2008 and is a New York Post columnist.