Obama a Very Smooth Liar

It isn't quite
fair to call Barack Obama a liar. During the campaign he carefully
avoided committing to much of anything important that he might have to
take back later. For now, I won't quibble with The St. Petersburg
Times's Obamameter, which so far has the president keeping 30 promises
and breaking only six.

It isn't quite
fair to call Barack Obama a liar. During the campaign he carefully
avoided committing to much of anything important that he might have to
take back later. For now, I won't quibble with The St. Petersburg
Times's Obamameter, which so far has the president keeping 30 promises
and breaking only six.

And yet, broadly speaking, Obama has
been lying on a pretty impressive scale. You just have to get past his
grandiloquent rhetoric -- usually empty of substance -- to get a handle
on it. I offer a short, incomplete list, which I'm sure others could
easily enlarge.

  • Obama portrayed himself as the peace
    candidate, or at least the anti-war candidate. He is not a peace
    president, nor is he stopping any wars. True, he promised military
    escalation in Afghanistan (to blunt John McCain's accusations of
    wimpishness), but well-meaning folks believed their new hero would
    genuinely move to end the occupation of Iraq and seriously try to
    negotiate with the Taliban. Instead, he has not only increased the
    number of troops and attacks against the Afghan insurgency, he has also
    expanded on George Bush's cross-border raids into Pakistan, which have
    killed many civilians. The way things are going, Pakistan could become
    the new Cambodia and Obama the new Nixon.

    In Iraq, Obama has
    promised to withdraw all the troops . . . unless, which means that
    we're not leaving. Whether it's 50,000 troops remaining at the
    "invitation" of the so-called government of Iraq, or just enough to man
    the 14 permanent military bases, or some combination of U.S. military
    personnel and private mercenaries that exceeds 50,000 soldiers, our
    army will almost certainly stay in Iraq past the stated deadline of
    Jan. 1, 2012.

  • Obama said he wanted to reform Washington and
    "fix" its "broken" system of corrupt lobbying. But Obama is neither a
    reformer nor a skilled legislative mechanic. Hatched from the Daley
    Machine in one-party Chicago, Obama wouldn't be president today if he
    rocked boats. Witness the appointment of Roland Burris by the corrupt
    former Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill Obama's Senate seat: not a word of
    public protest from the new administration because Burris is a made man
    in the Chicago Democratic organization. So what if "Tombstone Roland"
    can be heard on the U.S. attorney's wiretaps of Blagojevich, dancing
    around the delicate question of how to raise money for Blago without
    appearing to be buying his seat.

    As for pork-barrel politics,
    Obama named one of its greatest champions, Chicago's own Rahm Emanuel,
    as his chief of staff, and the new budget (as well as the "stimulus"
    package) is loaded with pork. Meanwhile, have you heard anything
    serious about campaign-finance reform from Obama? Not very likely from
    someone who refused public financing and still has about $10 million
    left over from record receipts of $745.7 million. It's just a detail, I
    know, but Obama's naming of former Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn III
    as deputy secretary of defense seems to be at odds with the president's
    alleged crusade against special interests and the "revolving door"
    between private business and government. He has also "sold"
    ambassadorships to campaign donors. The biggest plum, London, is slated
    for Lou Susman, a Chicagoan and former Citigroup executive who bundled
    $239,000. Paris has been reserved for Charles Rivkin, who raised about
    $500,000 for Obama.

  • Obama, with his Arabic middle name and
    his big Cairo speech, wants people to think that he is the Muslim
    world's new best friend. Well, the photograph of a cheery Obama with
    Saudi King Abdullah and a smiling Emanuel with Saudi Foreign Minister
    Saud al-Faisal, proves the contrary. The Saudi royal family hates the
    idea of representative government for ordinary Muslims and is cruelly
    indifferent to the fate of the Palestinians. A democratic, independent,
    partly secular Palestine could only make the Saudi oligarchy look bad.
    Thus, the House of Saud is perfectly happy with the status quo, and so,
    evidently, is Obama.

    Without Saudi pressure, there will be no
    resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since Saudi oil is the
    only lever that would cause America to press Israel into making real
    concessions. Indeed, the president doesn't mean for one minute to force
    Israel into anything more than symbolic withdrawals of its illegal
    settlements on the West Bank. Meanwhile, the Saudi elite continues to
    play its double game, paying protection money to extremist Islam and
    granting pensions to the relatives of suicide bombers. It's just
    politics, say Barack and Rahm, grinning ear-to-ear with their sleazy
    new friends from Riyahd. Just keep the oil pumping around election time
    and all will be well.

  • Obama makes like he's a friend of
    organized labor, at least he did during the Ohio primary when he needed
    to beat Hillary Clinton. At the time, he put out a flier headlined
    "Only Barack Obama fought NAFTA and other bad trade deals" and charged
    that "a little more than a year ago, Hillary Clinton thought NAFTA was
    a 'boon' to the economy." In a debate with Clinton on Feb. 26, 2008, he
    said, "I will make sure that we renegotiate [NAFTA] in the same way
    that Senator Clinton talked about" and "use the hammer of a potential
    opt-out as leverage" to get "labor and environmental standards that are

    But two months ago, U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk said
    such a blunt instrument was no longer necessary and that the leaders of
    Canada, the U.S. and Mexico were now "of the mind that we should be
    looking for opportunities to strengthen [the North American Free Trade
    Agreement]." And, of course, there is no discussion at all about
    renegotiating Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, a "bad trade
    deal" that has done even greater harm to American workers and unions
    than has NAFTA.

Meanwhile, as I noted in my April 15 column,
"Wall Street sharks circle the UAW," Obama and his banker friend Steven
Rattner are liquidating the United Auto Workers even as they liquidate
the American auto industry. Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's
pseudo-secretary of labor, said as much. "The only practical purpose I
can imagine for the bailout is to slow the decline of GM to create
enough time for its workers, suppliers, dealers and communities to
adjust to its eventual demise," he wrote last month in the Financial
Times -- no surprise, considering that Obama's chief economic adviser
remains Lawrence Summers, a champion of deregulation and "free-market"
economics in the Clinton administration and very much the enemy of
labor unions.

Yes, of course it's nice to have a president who
speaks in complete sentences. But that they're coherent doesn't make
them honest.

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