The Myriad Contradictions of Barack H. Obama
We the American citizenry seem to expect our political leaders to lie to us. Pathetically, we’ve now reached the point of having no shock or dismay over a politician being caught in a blatant lie. “They all do it” is now as good an explanation as seems to be required.
This is a shame. We the American people hire these individuals to represent us. We take very good care of them, compensate them well, pay their travel expenses to see the world, and shower them with a host of perks we ourselves do not enjoy...and then have little or no outrage when our highly compensated employees look us in the eye and lie to our faces.
Of course, all lies are not created equal. In the case of our current president, the list and extent of untruths told the America people is extraordinary even by political standards. These aren’t just “little white lies”; he’s told full-on whoppers directly into cameras. And we seem not to care; we hold a 5-year-old child in charge of nothing to a higher expectation of truth and integrity than what we expect of the leader of the free world.
Here is a partial listing of the most egregious of the “say-one-thing-do-the-exact-opposites” we’ve seen in the last half-decade or so from our Oval Office:
Fundamentally transform America
On January 15, 2009, five days prior to his first swearing in, President Obama stood before a massively enthusiastic crowd and proclaimed, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
On Super Bowl Sunday 2014, President Obama granted a rare live interview to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. Mr. O’Reilly read the following question from a letter sent in by a viewer: “Mr. President, why do you think it’s necessary to fundamentally transform the nation...?” The president’s response? “I don’t think we have to fundamentally transform the nation.”
Implementation of Obamacare
In September of 2013, the president made an emphatic declaration about delaying the health care law:
“Delay the law [ACA] – that’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.” This sentiment was echoed by then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during congressional testimony when she insisted, “Delay of the healthcare law is not an option.”
At most recent count, despite the president not having the statutory authority to allow for this, ObamaCare deadlines and implementations have been delayed by the White House and/or Dept. of HHS at least 38 times.
The most transparent administration in history
One of President Obama's major campaign promises was making government more open and accountable. Included in this promise was a noble attempt to cease the congressional habit of rushing bills through the House and Senate without giving people much opportunity to know what the bills would do. In 2008 and 2009, Obama's campaign website, barackobama.com, boldly placed the following statement on its “Blue Print for Change" page: “Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days."
According to congressional records, the very first bill Obama signed into law as president, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, passed the senate January 22, 2009, passed the House on January 27, and was signed by the president just two days later on January 29. The legislation was never posted to the White House website.
His second bill, an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, he signed February 4, 2009, a matter of mere hours after it was finalized in Congress. The president signed the “Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 on May 22, 2009 – only two days after the bill was finalized in Congress. And of course, there’s the now infamous “Affordable Care Act.” With associated regulations, the ACA is nearly 11,000 pages, none of which was ever posted to any website. The bill was signed almost instantaneously after it passed the Senate on Christmas Eve 2010. There is no way to list all of the bills that have failed to be held to Obama's stated standard.
ACA is not a tax
Prior to its passing, the president toured the nation and stated in live speeches and television interviews that ObamaCare is not a tax, at one point getting very testy with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos over the very notion that his law constitutes a tax increase. Then, when the law meandered its way through the court system and ultimately landed with the Supreme Court of the United States, the president had very high-powered lawyers argue (successfully) that the “individual mandate” portion of the health care law was a tax. About-face! And not just any tax – the largest tax increase ever levied on the American people.
ACA negotiations in front of CSPAN cameras
“Honesty and transparency will be the hallmarks of this presidency.” Sounded good in August of 2008, when candidate Obama made the declaration that CSPAN cameras would be in the room to record the crafting of this open, honest, and transparent piece of legislation – so that “people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or insurance companies.”
That’s a great campaign promise. Obama then proceeded to have the CSPAN cameras removed from the room. A few “Cornhusker kickbacks” later, we had ourselves a law. And now, five years post, we’re finding out who was arguing on behalf of the drug and insurance companies as we’re learning about the billions upon billions of public funds being used for corporate bailouts.
Gas is just too darned expensive
Railing about the cost of gasoline was a good vote-getter in 2008, and candidate Obama got after it with gusto. Giving a prepared speech (does he give any other kind?), the candidate spoke in front of a backdrop of gas pumps and declared that high gas prices constitute a “huge problem, bordering on a crisis” for most of America. What were those crisis-level prices? He elaborated, “Here in Indiana, gas costs $3.60 a gallon. Across the country gas costs more than at any time in almost 30 years.”
Today, with every twenty-four hours that passes, we extend our record for number of days above $3.00 per gallon (national average) gas prices and see virtually no action from the president in terms of attempts to curb this historic price run. In fact, we see quite the opposite. Our President was found in contempt of court for illegally blocking drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and he perpetually stalls the Keystone XL pipeline project despite the fact that it would mean tens of thousands of jobs.
Governing by executive order
Candidate Obama had nothing but loathing for his predecessor's actions done by executive order. He blasted George W. Bush for what he called “secrecy and concentrations of power in the Oval Office.”
Boy, did that tune ever change in the president’s most recent State of the Union Address, in which he openly boasted how he will be using executive orders as often as possible to implement his agenda. One promise he has faithfully kept.
Debt is immoral
Candidate Obama lit George W. Bush like a Christmas tree over the accumulation of debt, calling the former president irresponsible and unpatriotic. One cannot help but to wonder what the president must be calling himself these days now that he has added more than $6.6 trillion of debt to our country since taking office in 2009.
Against gay marriage
Of course, we all now know about “the evolution.” Candidate Obama proclaimed in multiple venues that he was “not a supporter of gay marriage.” Is there really any point in citing evidence of actions and statements to the contrary? We have a president who personally picks up the phone to call and congratulate citizens on publicly proclaiming their (homo-)sexuality.
If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor
As a part of selling the health care law, we were told by our president that the ACA would cost $900 billion. On 36 recorded occasions, the president looked us in the eye and told us "If you like your plan you can keep your plan." "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor." That's how he sold it.
Before deciding to stop estimating the ACA costs altogether, the most recent Congressional Budget Office numbers put the expense of the ACA at $2.6 trillion, and the president was forced to go on national television to retract and apologize for his lie. Over 5 million people have had their plans canceled, and we now know that he was aware that “keep your doctor” wasn't factual at the time he was saying it. He was lying.
And there are many others. The President once claimed, “I can’t pick and choose the laws I enforce,” then instructed his attorney general not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and has summarily not been enforcing U.S. immigration law. He issued a "red line" warning to Syria, then claiming in a subsequent press conference that “I didn’t draw a red line.” On and on and on this goes.
Is it too much to ask for my president to simply tell the truth? Is it too much to ask for Americans the nation over to want the same?