Without credibility and trust nothing of substance will get done in Washington. How can important issues like immigration reform, tax reform or balancing the budget be addressed and solved when the President is widely viewed as someone who says anything to win the day and then later blame those who were foolish enough to believe him?
by Michael Goodwin
When I first saw the headline saying Bill Clinton was advising President Obama to “honor his commitment,” I had to laugh. The idea of Monica Lewinsky’s boyfriend as moral referee always cracks me up.
Then I got to wondering. Which commitment was Clinton talking about?
Is it the one Obama made to the Israeli people, that he had their backs and would never let Iran get a nuclear weapon? Or was it his promise to enforce a “red line” in Syria?
Or maybe it was Obama’s promise to “never rest” until we caught the terrorists who killed our ambassador and three other Americans in Libya?
Or was Clinton talking about the many times the president said he would “never rest” until every American who wanted a job had one?
Or maybe he was talking about the pledge to change the tone in Washington? Or to go through the budget “line by line” and cross out the waste driving up the deficit?
You get the picture — any of those whoppers would qualify. But, of course, Clinton was talking about the broken promise of the moment, the one where Obama vowed that “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.”
It ranks as one of the biggest presidential lies of modern times, all the more so because Obama repeated it 30 times. The fallout of millions being forced from their policies, an experience exacerbated by the hapless Web site, has created a crisis of confidence so vast, it threatens to swallow the second term.
So Clinton, who falsely swore he never had sex with that woman, spoke from experience when he told an interviewer, “The president should honor his commitment to those people and let them keep what they got.”
He knows the Big Lie is shredding Obama’s ace in the hole — his personal credibility. The key to Obama’s political success is that his job-approval ratings generally have been higher than the public’s view of his policies.
From the economy to health care to foreign policy, voters were mostly negative on the policies. But when it came to Obama himself, more Americans, often a majority, said they liked him, trusted him and believed he had their interests at heart.
ObamaCare is breaking that bond — and creating a domino effect. The public is turning ever harder against his policies, with only 31 percent now supporting him on the economy and 32 percent on immigration in the latest Pew poll.
Most important, they are also giving a thumbs-down on his overall performance. Pew finds that only 41 percent approve of his handling of the presidency, down 14 points since December, while 53 percent disapprove. And Quinnipiac late Tuesday found he’s hit a new low with 39 percent approval, while a majority said he’s not honest.
No president can lead from such a deep, discredited hole. And his ratings are likely to keep sinking because, once the Web site is fixed, millions more “shoppers” will get sticker shocks from the new policies ObamaCare requires. And next year comes the employer mandate, which will shake up the policies and prices of millions of others.
So Clinton’s advice that Obama “let them keep what they got,” is, in a vacuum, a perfectly logical escape route.
But even if it were possible, the reversal would be a dagger in the heart of ObamaCare. The whole Rube Goldberg scheme depends on using insurance policies to distribute wealth from healthy young Americans to older, sicker ones. Letting people keep the policies they have effectively repeals the president’s signature achievement.
Clinton’s advice, then, won’t fly. But if he, or anybody else, has another idea about how Obama can wriggle out of the mess he created, they should speak up very quickly. Otherwise, it will be too late to make a difference.
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Michael Goodwin was an Obama voter in 2008 and is a New York Post columnist.