The presidency of Richard Nixon was destroyed, and that of Bill Clinton nearly ruined, by scandals that erupted over lies they told. But no president ever before has lied as frequently, as flagrantly or as foolishly as has Barack Obama.
The president was in Cushing, Okla., March 22 to pretend he was for the Keystone XL pipeline he blocked in January, and to feign support for domestic production of oil and natural gas, which his administration hinders in every way it can.
Posing in front of stacks of pipe, Mr. Obama said: "Today, I'm directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority."
Not the whole pipeline, which was to run from Alberta's tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Just its southern end, over which Mr. Obama has little control. He still won't permit the pipeline to cross the Canadian-U.S. border.
Drilling can't bring down gasoline prices, Mr. Obama said, because "we only produce 2 percent of the world's oil." The actual figure is 6.5 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Mr. Obama flubbed a deception he employs often. What he meant to say was that America possesses only 2 percent of the world's proven reserves of petroleum. What he doesn't say is that "proven reserves" measure oil recoverable in known reservoirs under "existing economic and operating conditions." Drill in more locations and employ new techniques and we have 60 times our proven reserves in "technically recoverable oil," the EIA says.
The Keystone speech did not go over well. Referring to the president's support for only part of the XL pipeline, Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., said he was "highlighting a waffle," keeping the issue alive while pleasing no one. "I think it's the most idiotic political move I've ever seen."
"The president wants to reject the pipeline, and yet take credit for approving it," said the president of the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank in Houston.
Environmentalists who cheered when Mr. Obama blocked Keystone in January expressed alarm.
In Golden, Colo., two days earlier, the president said it was Congress and the Chinese, not he, who are to blame for the failure of Solyndra, a solar firm which went bankrupt after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees. "This was not our program per se," he said.
Mr. Obama made Solyndra the poster boy for his massive "investment" in green energy. Solyndra's owner was a frequent guest at the White House, which approved the loan to Solyndra despite concerns raised by financial experts and the Office of Management and Budget.
With YouTube around, it's hard to drop a whopper that big down the memory hole. An ad is up which juxtaposes the president in 2010 taking credit for Solyndra's "success" with his remarks in Golden.
Mr. Obama lies most often about energy, but not only about energy.
Obamacare will cost taxpayers a lot more than he said it would. It raises, not lowers, health insurance premiums. You might not be able to keep your doctor or private health insurance plan. The individual mandate isn't a tax, Mr. Obama said. His lawyers told the Supreme Court that, in essence, it is.
The president was overheard Monday making a politically embarrassing request of Russia's president. In trying to explain it away, Mr. Obama claimed he'd been talking about nuclear weapons stockpiles when in fact he'd been talking about missile defense.
"The Taliban's momentum has been broken," the president said in the State of the Union address Jan. 24. The Taliban consider victory "inevitable" once coalition troops withdraw, according to interviews with Taliban prisoners cited in a NATO report.
Lobbyists "won't find a job in my White House," candidate Obama promised, then filled his administration with former lobbyists.
"My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government," he said. No recent president has done more to hide things from press and public, say critics such as Katherine Meyer, a lawyer who's been filing freedom-of-information cases since 1978, according to a report in Politico.
When Mr. Obama departed from the truth in the past, journalists were reluctant to call him on it. Now, as he races about the country, trying, frantically, to fool the people one more time, the lies are coming faster than his friends in the news media can cover them up.
"Americans aren't stupid," Mr. Obama said. We'll find out Nov. 6.jackkelly
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412 263-1476).