No President in memory has been so immune to the consequences of being caught blatantly lying to the American people as President Barack Obama. There have been uses for this fact, of course, for those willing to use it. It has provided a valuable tool for those interested in knowing what politicians, pundits and journalists have at least fumes of integrity and trustworthiness in their professional character, a useful litmus test, as when Susan Rice dutifully went on five Sunday morning talking-head TV shows and spread a version of the CIA’s talking points on the Benghazi attack that was intentionally misleading. That incident exposed the untrustworthy character of Rice, now National Security advisor; White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer, virtually the entire crew at MSNBC (naturally), official White House liar Jay Carney, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the President himself, among others. Meanwhile, some unlikely figures, like old-lib CBS “Fave the Nation” host Bob Schieffer, shined by refusing to abet the cover-up.
The unfolding IRS scandal—yes, it is still unfolding— has similarly been an excellent test, as those we should never trust again have adopted the administration’s official lie—a contradiction of its own statements and testimony—that there is in fact no scandal, and that a few inept and rogue agents screwed up, though the evidence of systemic corruption, illegal political use of IRS power and an ongoing cover-up is persuasive and becoming more so.
Neither of these sagas, however, as well as others like the NSA spying scandal and the various excesses and incompetencies of Eric Holder’s disgraceful Justice Department, have managed to permeate the awareness of the average members of the public, especially those who have been supporters of the President or his party. Benghazi is still obscure to most of the public, and is too far away; the fact that the I.R.S. targeted tea party groups doesn’t alarm those who aren’t Republicans or ethicists as much as it should; and the news media, which is almost entirely run by members of the political left, has continued to soft-pedal facts and revelations that would have had all of them imitating Woodward and Bernstein were a President of another party, or shamefully, another race, involved. Such integrity tests are not helpful to observers who don’t want to use them, who don’t know enough about the subjects involved to know they exist, who don’t mind being lied to, or are happy to be led by those who lie, as long as they do it with style and inspiring speeches.
I wonder if the now undeniable lie about the Affordable Care Act will be different. Continue reading