Dishonest or discombobulated? With Obama, take your pick
Is President Obama a pathological liar, or just incredibly stupid? Those are the only two choices. Either Mr. Obama repeatedly says things he knows are false, or he is completely unable to comprehend information to discern the truth. There is no third option.
Take his statement during the debate over the Affordable Care Act. He traveled the country for nearly a year, saying over and over and over, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” But that turned out to be completely false.
In fact, PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, independent fact-checking watchdog, deemed the campaign catch phrase its “Lie of the Year” for 2013.
Now, here’s the thing: Either the president decided that he needed to lie — repeatedly — to get Obamacare through Congress, or he had no idea that the new law would, by definition, render millions of health care policies insufficient, thus ending them.
The latter option is the interesting one. Could the president, the highest elected official in the land, really not know what was in the bill he was pushing Congress to pass? Did no one ever tell him, “Uh, sir, it says right there on page 687 that all health care plans that fail to meet the new standards will be discontinued”?
But that was three years ago. Let’s skip ahead to now.
The president sends his White House spokesman out to say he has “full confidence” in the director of the Secret Service, even though the presidential protection squad let an armed intruder run through the White House and a gun-packing felon stand right next the president in an elevator. Seven hours later, she is gone, fired. Another example: Mr. Obama says a group of terrorist stomping across Iraq and Syria, killing children, raping women, slaughtering “infidels,” is nothing but a bunch of wannabes, little more than a “JV” team trying to play above their heads. Weeks later, the Islamic State extremists are beheading Americans and threatening to attack the United States, prompting a worldwide scramble to contain the threat.
Then this month, the president says the chances of Ebola making its way from Africa to America are “extremely low.”
“We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States. In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home,” he said Sept. 16.
Weeks later, a man flies into Dallas from Liberia. In the hospital, doctors misdiagnose him and, giving him antibiotics, send him home. Days later, the man tests positive for Ebola. And less than a week after that, hundreds are quarantined.
Were all those lies? Did the president know he was about to fire his Secret Service director, that the Islamic State was a major threat, that Ebola would land in America within weeks, and lie? Or did he really have no clue — no clue how bad his Secret Service director was, no clue how dangerous Islamic State was, no clue how viral Ebola would be?
Again, the fascinating scenario is the latter one: He just didn’t know. Mr. Obama went to Harvard (and Harvard grads will always let you know they went to Harvard). But the president often acts like a community college dropout, seems not to know what is so clearly coming down the pike: that the presidential protection head has got to be fired, that Islamic State is no “JV” club, that Ebola is a true pandemic threat.
When candidate Obama was running for president in 2007, critics complained that he didn’t have any real-life experience running ... well, anything. Not a state, not a major company, not even a small business. His credentials for America’s top job were slim: college professor, community organizer, state legislator, three years in the U.S. Senate.
His opponent in 2007, Hillary Rodham Clinton, warned that he simply wouldn’t know what to do when that 3 a.m. emergency phone call came in, demanding that he make the right decision right away. And it turns out she was absolutely right.
But it’s all much worse. On foreign policy, Mr. Obama campaigned that he would talk with the world’s worst despots, boasted about a “reset” with Russia, gave speeches with soaring rhetoric about how the world would be a better place if America took a back seat, let others be in charge for a while.
Were those lies or just stupidity? Who knows. But here’s what we know. Six years later, Iran is unchecked, Russia is again invading countries and seizing territory, the Middle East is exploding, northern Africa is in turmoil, and the United States is begging the United Nations to take over.
So it’s not at all unreasonable to wonder whether the president is a pathological liar, or just truly incompetent. All signs point to incompetence. Now don’t you wish he was just a liar?
Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@ gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.