How Americans see President Obama changed in an important way this week. It’s because there is a huge difference between lies and bulls – – t.
Obama says a lot of things that are not true, even nonsensical. But it’s easy to shrug off most of these, because they aren’t really lies. They’re just bulls – – t.
Bulls – – t is airy, meaningless drivel, the stuff that campaigns are made of. Or it’s a misleading oversimplification with hidden qualifiers. Not only do we forgive bulls – – t, we like it. Especially suckers who have far too high an opinion of the importance and efficacy of politicians, people who hope casting a ballot is a way to expunge sin or join a noble crusade. “We are the ones we have been waiting for”? Not a lie. Just bulls – – t.
Even when Obama made seemingly specific promises like, “I want to go line by line through every item in the federal budget and eliminate programs that don’t work,” he left himself wiggle room. He still wants to do that, no doubt. He’s just too busy filling out his March Madness brackets and golfing. Or maybe he just couldn’t find a program that fails by his standards.
While he was saying things like, “I will make sure we renegotiate NAFTA” in an effort to match Hillary Clinton’s equally insincere blather about turning back the clock on the free trade agreement that her husband vigorously promoted and signed, Obama aides were going around telling Canadian officials that this was just “rhetoric” — a nice word for “bulls – – t.”
Obama denounced the individual mandate to purchase health insurance during the primaries to get to Hillary’s left, but his stated reason was that it wouldn’t be fair to force people to buy health insurance if they couldn’t afford it. You could argue he covered himself by including in the law large subsidies — your income can be four times the poverty line ($94,000) and you still qualify for aid.
He said he would close Guantanamo but that was just campaign blather for suckers — an applause line, not a serious policy proposal. As any student of the matter knew, there wasn’t a better alternative, and nobody really cares about Guantanamo detainees anyway. It was just opportunistic Bush-bashing.
This week was something new. It was the week Obama was revealed to be a stone-cold liar.
Some 10 million Americans are going to lose their health insurance as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act.
On June 15, 2009, Obama said, in one of hundreds of similar statements, “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
This wasn’t just bulls – – t. This was a lie.
This was a direct, specific detail that left no wiggle room. It couldn’t be excused as “campaign rhetoric” because he wasn’t running for anything in 2009. It wasn’t a gassy generality. It wasn’t a pie-in-the-sky platitude.
It was credible, concrete and important.
Even devoted members of the Barack Obama fan club are forced to concede that the president wasn’t telling the truth. “I think what he could have made is a more nuanced, accurate statement,” said James Carville. “The administration turns out to have misled the public,” admitted liberal columnist Jonathan Chait, a personal favorite of Obama’s. Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post, who usually retails pro-Obama spin under the label “fact checker,” gave Obama four Pinocchios.
Obama and his minions are pretending they only said “the vast majority of Americans,” (nope), trying to deflect blame to insurance companies (won’t work, because of the “no one will take it away, no matter what” line) or to claim nonexistent caveats were there all along.
This week White House flack Jay Carney absurdly said Obama was “clear about a basic fact . . .” that you could keep your insurance “if it was available.” He sounded like a Publishers Clearinghouse letter saying “you just won 10 million dollars if you have the winning number.”
And it wasn’t what his boss said.
There is no escape. What Obama said wasn’t true and that’s all there is to it. To the American public, he is a different man than he was last week.
People can handle bulls – – t, but not dishonesty. We don’t like that. His approval rating touched an all-time low this week in the NBC/WSJ poll, and that was before his deception became the news of the week. Obama has rebranded himself as a liar, forever. He will carry this new label to his grave.
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Kyle Smith is a columnist for the New York Post.