As the beginning of President Obama's sixth year in the Oval Office draws near, his public approval rating has plunged, battered by the horrendous launch of the Obamacare website, healthcare.gov, as well as by a succession of extremely disturbing revelations about his administration's handling of the IRS scandal and the aftermath of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Taken together, these developments point to a question that is painful to pose, but essential to consider: Can or should Americans believe anything this president tells them about his policies or actions?
Consider these facts:
• Healthcare.gov was a disaster from day one, but even more serious were Obama's three most important promises concerning Obamacare. He said Americans could keep health insurance policies they liked. He said they would be able to keep the doctors they liked. And he said they would save thousands of dollars on health care costs.
Not long after Obamacare’s launch last fall, millions of Americans began receiving cancellation notices on insurance they wanted to keep. Many also quickly learned their preferred doctors would no longer be able to treat them. And they found that Obamacare would cost them much more than their old policies. Most disturbing, it turned out that top officials in the the Obama administration knew all along that the president’s promises weren’t true, even as he repeated those promises over and over.
• Declassified transcripts of testimony before Congress revealed that the nation’s top military leaders knew within minutes of the Benghazi attack that it was a terrorist action. Then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was told and shortly thereafter met with Obama in the White House.
Yet, somebody in Obama's inner circle concocted the fairy tale about the attack being the spontaneous result of protests against an anti-Muslim parody film produced in America. For weeks afterwards, Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top administration figures repeated the fairy tale over and over.
• When Americans first learned last year that the IRS had illegally targeted Tea Party, conservative and evangelical nonprofits for harassment during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns, Obama said such activities were unacceptable and he promised to get to the bottom of the scandal. But not long afterwards, he began dismissing the IRS matter as a “phony scandal” concocted by Republicans unhappy that he had won re-election.
Then, Attorney General Eric Holder, or somebody reporting to him, appointed Barbara Bosserman, a long-time Obama campaign donor, to head the investigation. So it came as no surprise last week when it was reported that the FBI expects no criminal charges to be filed in the IRS scandal. Politicized justice is no justice at all.
These three controversies are among the most serious and visible, but they are far from exceptions to the rule during Obama’s tenure. The tragedy is that a man elected in large part because of his perceived integrity has turned out to be a political dissembler of the first rank.