Commentary Magazine


The Obama Administration’s Systematic Deconstruction of Truth

Three years ago this month, Barack Obama made a public promise: “Today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office,” the new president said. The president reiterated his promise here, and here. In fact, Obama was repeating his commitment as late as December 2009, which is terribly inconvenient for those who say the president’s original broken promise can be forgiven because “there was a deeper hole to dig out of than anyone could have envisioned in January 2009.”

In fact, Obama and his team knew how deep the hole was in February 2009. But certainly by December 2009 – 11 months after he had been sworn in – it was clear to all the world just how deep the hole was.

For the record, at the time Obama promised to cut the budget deficit in half by the end of his first term the deficit was $1.4 trillion. Yesterday we learned Obama’s own budget estimates an end-of-term budget deficit of $1.33 trillion. Which means the president not only didn’t break his promise; he shattered it into roughly 700 billion pieces.

That would be bad enough. What makes it worse is the Obama administration is simply denying the promise is broken.

On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace played a video clip of Obama’s promise to cut the deficit in half. He then said to his guest, White House chief of staff Jack Lew, “Mr. Lew, the president isn’t close to keeping his promise to cut the deficit in half.”

Lew didn’t address this in his response. So Wallace tried again. “Would you agree that he didn’t keep the promise?”

To which Lew said, “No.”

Now there are some things that are legitimate matters of interpretation (for example, how effective or ineffective the stimulus package has been). But his is not one of them. That Obama broke his promise is not a matter of opinion; it is a matter of mathematics.

Let’s see if we can help the Obama White House, shall we? To go from a budget deficit of $1.4 trillion to $1.33 trillion is not cutting the deficit in half. And to deny that a promise to do so has been broken is what is sometimes referred to as “dishonest.” Or, if you like, a “lie.”

It is also another example of the post-modernism of the Obama White House. Obama and his aides seem to believe facts mean nothing and “narrative” means everything. In other words, they can make it up as they go along. Now the systematic deconstruction of truth is something that happens fairly frequently in college liberal arts courses across America. But it’s something that is far more unusual to see in an American president.

Obama is basing his re-election on the premise that the American people are as indifferent to truth and facts as he is. I’m guessing he’s wrong, but we’ll know soon enough.