Politicians fudge the truth all the time. And sometimes they flat-out lie. Bill Clinton’s infamous, “I did not have sex with that woman,” is the modern exemplar of presidential mendacity. At least it was until yesterday, when Barack Obama gave John Harwood of CNBC an interview. One response to a question makes President Clinton’s finger-wagging whopper sound like the Gettysburg Address:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: John, I think it’s fair to say that—during the course of my presidency—I have bent over backwards to work with—the Republican party. And have purposely kept my rhetoric down. I think I’m pretty well known for being a calm guy. Sometimes people think I’m too calm.”
The mind boggles. This is a president who did not meet with the Republican minority leader in the Senate until a year and a half into his presidency; who excluded Republicans from any part in the shaping of the ObamaCare legislation, and forced it through on a strictly party-line vote; who excluded Republicans from any input on the stimulus bill; who invited Paul Ryan to a conference on health care and then insulted him to his face when Ryan could not reply; who accused Republicans of wanting only to deny health care to 30 million Americans; who called them “bitter clingers,” and told his supporters to get in their faces.
The only thing President Obama, the most divisive, partisan president in the history of the republic, has ever bent over backwards to do was to get out of a sand trap. He has kept his rhetoric down only to the extent of not advocating violence against Republicans.
I’m not a psychiatrist, so I don’t know whether this is just an utterly cynical remark, made in the knowledge that the lap-dog media will not call him on it, or whether it is an artifact of deep problems in telling reality from fantasy.
History will not treat this man kindly.