The GOP has been “bamboozling” Americans and running up “wild debts,” the president told an audience in Denver this week.
If you’re going to be a liar in a political campaign and get away with it, there are some ground rules that must be followed.
Now it’s true that if you repeat a lie three times in public, it generally sticks. Especially if you have the help of sycophantic media to trumpet your lie far and wide, comment on what it means to the world, and so forth.
Wording is also important, particularly phrased in the form of a question, such as the ever-popular, “So, senator, is it true you’ve stopped beating your wife?” No matter the answer, your victim is fixed like a bug on a pin.
President Obama’s campaign is skilled at these tactics.
But it seems that Obama and his teleprompter have forgotten another basic rule of successful lying: The lie must be believable.
I think this is the blind spot that may do in the Obama campaign. Three years into his presidency, and while asking for a second term, Obama is still blaming Republicans for our massive debt. Without facts on his side, he expects voters to believe it just because he said it.
For a lie to be believable, it has to stick close to the truth. It is true that the Bush Administration ran up a hefty tab on its own, but most people are capable of remembering that Bush had to deal with a profligate Democrat Congress that carried itself over into Obama’s regime. Even with the House going to the GOP in midterm elections, Obama still has the Senate and considerable pull in the House.
All the programs Obama points to as his great achievements — particularly the failed trillion-dollar stimulus and health care — happened right out of the gate, under a Democrat House and Senate.
It’s also the time when our country’s deficit bloomed like some giant alien ficus out to devour Tokyo.
Yet, it’s precisely the time period the Obama Administration doesn’t want you to count. It was the end of fiscal 2009, therefore in the official White House version of the universe, all that spending by Obama and the Democratic Party was actually being done by President Bush, who by that time was grilling steaks back at the ranch and enjoying retirement.
Any look at the numbers reveals Obama’s corrosive influence on our debts. The 2009 budget deficit was triple 2008’s. The deficit went from 3.1 percent of GDP in 2008 to 9.9 percent in 2009.
Now then, who was president?
Obama has also been telling his audiences that he signed into law more than $2 trillion in spending cuts. Those “cuts” he refers to were mostly of the Washington sort: Instead of raising a program’s budget by $12 billion, you only raise it $10 billion and voila! You’ve “cut” $2 billion.
That sort of math wouldn’t fly in most classrooms.
The other side of that funky equation is the beyond-rosy budget and economic projections used by the Obama Administration, such as the ridiculous guesstimate of 6.26 percent GDP growth for 2012, instead of the 1 to 2 percent we’re currently living through.
The 2010 budget had predicted a cut in the deficit to $533 billion by 2013. Each year, that estimate has grown to the current $912 billion projection. Given the current White House’s love of “fun with numbers,” it’s a safe bet that the reality will be at least double that, perhaps triple or more — not that you’ll ever see it in the papers.
Obama has overseen a more than $4.2 trillion increase in the national debt. That’s more than all presidents from Washington up to the first President Bush — combined.
With such dismal failure to reign in spending, it’s probably no wonder Obama feels he has to lie.
But it’s such a huge lie, it’s no wonder people are seeing through it.