Why did George H.W. Bush lose to Bill Clinton in 1992? Doubtless you could adduce several reasons, including “it’s the economy, stupid.” But there was also the matter of a broken promise: “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Enterprising observers have compiled an illuminating collage of President Obama promising not to negotiate health care “reform” “behind closed doors.” He would bring “all parties together,” he said in one of his exhibitions of campaign foreplay, “broadcasting those negotiations on CSPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are.” During the campaign, CSPAN was his mantra: the objective correlative of his promise to make his administration the most “open and transparent” ever. It was Andrew Breitbart, I believe, who first connected these dots:
In fact, as the contrast between candidate Obama’s repeated invocation of CSPAN and President Obama’s repeated recourse to secrecy reveals, the only thing “transparent” about this administration is its dishonesty, which, like Falstaff’s, “is gross as a mountain, open palpable.” Even the circumspect Brian Lamb, CEO of CSPAN, was moved to lament Obama’s poaching on the prestige of the network to further the Democratic political agenda.
Left and right, the public has reacted badly to this blatant failure to honor a campaign promise that was made not once, not twice, but at least eight times. The President’ Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, has made a bad situation worse by his hostile tergiversations.
“I covered that yesterday,” he said, but a look at his comments then shows that he didn’t.
What does it all mean? For one thing, it means that Obama’s deficit spending extends to the spiritual exchequer of political credibility. Economists tell us the United States will be in hock some $12 trillion by the time Obama gets done with us. How overdrawn will he be in the public trust department? Rightly or wrongly, the epithet “tricky Dick” clung like a limpet to Richard Nixon. What nickname will Obama earn? “Blaguing Barack”? “Hustling Hussein”? “Obfuscating Obama”?