Back in November, I collected a few instances of the left calling out President Obama for his claims of ignorance on a spate of issues — NSA spying, Obamacare, IRS targeting, Fast and Furious gun trafficking, the AP reporter harassment and Benghazi. That post is below for your enjoyment. But now it’s becoming more and more clear that, in addition to apparently not knowing much about what’s going on with his administration, Obama does not expect to be held to what he or his administration says. The message from Obama is clear: What I say means nothing, and I don’t know anything anyway.
On Obamacare, the president’s administration has repeatedly delayed or changed what were once hard deadlines and clear policies, while also insisting that some deadlines could not be altered. The Heritage Foundation has a rundown of what happened to one of those “unchangeable” deadlines:
“We have no plans to extend the open enrollment period. In fact, we don’t actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period in 2014.” — Health and Human Services (HHS) official Julie Bataille, March 11
“Once that 2014 open enrollment period has been set, they are set permanently.” – HHS official Michael Hash, March 11
“March 31st is the deadline for enrollment. You’ve heard us make that clear.” – Press Secretary Jay Carney, March 21
“There is no delay beyond March 31.” – HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, March 12
There was no delay … until there was. The Washington Post reported [Tuesday] that March 31 is not, in fact, the final word. To get more time, you tell the government that you haven’t been able to sign up yet:
Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.
OK, so everyone knows about the issues with Obamacare. But Obama certainly means what he says when it comes to foreign policy, right?
Over at National Review, Victor Davis Hanson notes,
President Obama’s pivot has now joined his stable of deadlines, red lines, step-over lines, and “I don’t bluff” and “I’m not kidding” assertions. The problem with such rhetoric is not just that it is empty, but that it is predictably empty. If Obama cannot lead, can he at least keep quiet about it?
A Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran is not just unimpressed but encouraged, seeing such sermonizing as an assurance of nothing to follow. Obama’s threats are like a gambler’s involuntary tic, which astute poker players read always as a forewarning of a bluffed empty hand to follow.
What the president says regarding foreign policy has become meaningless. The most infamous foreign policy example to date was Obama’s “red line” on Syria. Here’s what he said in August 2012:
We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation. …
We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.
And when Syria used chemical weapons on its own people at least five times, Obama’s red line meant … nothing. No diplomatic solution. No military action. No … nothing. The Syrian crisis was ultimately avoided when Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened with a deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria. As the lefty New Republic mag declared, “The Syria Solution: Obama Got Played by Putin and Assad.”
Obama has shown time and again that he and his administration cannot be trusted to follow through on what they say. He’s also made a habit of refusing responsibility for what he should know. All this raises the question: Why did he want to be president?
The know-nothing president, Nov. 1, 2013
The bastion of right-wing loonery known as “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” is finding it difficult to buy President Obama’s standard crisis communications line of, “I found out about it when you did.”
This past Monday, Stewart lampooned the president’s claimed ignorance of the looming problems with Obamacare and the NSA spying scandals.
But these are just the latest examples of President Obama’s “I know nothing” crisis strategy. Back in May, Stewart took issue with the line as it was used on the IRS, Fast and Furious gun trafficking, Air Force One Manhattan flyover, and the AP and Benghazi scandals.
America, you have a president who is completely ignorant about the most critical issues facing our country. Or, you have a president who cannot be honest with you. Which do you prefer?