The Clintons proved that the best way to succeed in politics is to lie often and well. Bill Clinton was a master—he persuaded the nation (for a while) that he “did not have sex with that women—Monica Lewinsky”, that he made catching and killing Osama bin Laden one of his administration’s highest priorities, and that he remembered black churches being burned as a child living in Arkansas (they weren’t). Hillary is an impressive liar as well—she almost certainly lied about the Whitewater and Travelgate scandals, and she got away with many smaller lies as well—for example, she claimed that Chelsea Clinton was jogging around the World Trade Center on 9/11, even though Chelsea was nowhere near the towers. The only lie that the media ever bothered to cover extensively was the absurd story about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia, a falsehood so egregious that even the mainstream media (which was mostly in the tank for Barack Obama at that point anyhow) could not refrain from covering it.
Barack Obama is running on a platform of hope, change, and honesty. When contrasted with the Clintons, Obama does come across as an honest man. He isn’t.
In Barack Obama’s first general election ad, he claimed that he had “passed laws” (referring to Public Law 110-181) that “extended healthcare for wounded troops who’d been neglected.” A worthwhile accomplishment—except it isn’t true. Obama had absolutely nothing to do with that particular piece of legislation —he didn’t write it, or sponsor it, or add to it. He didn’t even vote for it. (He was absent on that vote). Obama’s claim in this ad is a blatant lie. (H/T The Corner)
While campaigning against Hillary Clinton, Obama was adamantly against NAFTA, calling it “devastating” and a “big mistake.” He went so far as to threaten to unilaterally demand a renegotiation of the treaty, ignoring whatever objections Mexico and Canada might have. Obama argued that NAFTA took American jobs and hurt American workers, and that he would not permit it to remain in its current form.
Just kidding. Turns out that campaign trail rhetoric gets “overheated and amplified.” Actually, Obama won’t be engaging in any unilateral negotiations—he says he’s not a unilateral kind of guy. When he said that there is “no doubt” NAFTA needs to be amended, he apparently forgot to add “unless Canada and Mexico really aren’t in favor of it.” Obama was clearly not quite straightforward about his true position on free trade.
A final Obama misrepresentation regards the issue of public financing for his campaign. Last November, and again in February, Obama promised to “aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” When in came time to start pursuing agreements, Obama looked at his fundraising figures and decided to break his pledge. He made no effort to meet with McCain in order to work out an agreement, even though he explicitly promised to do so. The excuse given for his turnaround was a complaint about the “opponents who become masters at gaming this broken system.” Of course, if the system is “broken”, it seems odd that Obama is so intent on preserving the status quo, and refusing public financing (which would limit the amount of money he could get from donations). (Though for the record, I believe that public financing is bad idea—politicians do deserve to have their campaigns underwritten by our tax dollars).
No politician keeps every promise made, but Obama has broken too many promises too quickly. The idea that Obama represents a new kind of politics is a pleasant thought, but not one borne out by reality. Obama represents the same old Washington—only the rhetoric is different.