Syria misadventure blows Obama’s cover

Sam Smith

It’s likely that the Republicans – with their cuts in food stamps and other social welfare – will kill more children than Syria has with chemical warfare. .

But these days, this sort of comparison doesn’t matter because the people in the White House and the media have declared Syria our major crisis and the days of, say, Helen Thomas challenging such things are over.

How much of what Obama and aides are saying is pure lies is hard to tell at this point. Ten years back I did a piece for Harper’s written entirely in lies about the Iraq war. When I set out on this project I was amazed at how easy it was, including stuff like this:

The fundamental question was, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer was, absolutely. His regime had large, unaccounted-for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons–including VX, sarin, cyclosarin, and mustard gas, anthrax, botulism, and possibly smallpox. Our conservative estimate was that Iraq then had a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical-weapons agent. That was enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets. We had sources that told us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons–the very weapons the dictator told the world he did not have. And according to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as forty-five minutes after the orders were given. There could be no doubt that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.

It will be sometime before we successfully dissect the verbal remains of the Obama Syrian misadventure, but one thing we know: he is being nowhere near as convincing as Bush and his efforts to overcome it with his misguidedly vaunted verbiage is not being particularly successful.

But then people who consider themselves intellectually superior don’t make particularly good liars. It’s not that they don’t lie; they just know how to do it well.

Part of this is the particular narcissism of the well educated, which often confuses recitation with communication and assumes that those being addressed will share the speakers’ admiration for themselves. The other is a failure to understand that effective fraud is an act of theater as much as one of argument. Which is why Pat Robertson is better at it than John Kerry.

But, says a reader, Barack Obama was so impressive as a presidential candidate.

Admittedly, he had a certain advantage amongst the liberals: he was black, a Harvard Law graduate and looked and acted the part.

But when you review the actual figures there was really nothing particularly astounding about his 2008 victory (unless you believed at the time that a black couldn’t possibly get elected).

In 2008, according to Gallup, 52% of Americans described themselves as Democrats and 42% as Republicans.

Barack Obama got 52.9% of the vote and Romney got 45.7%.

In other words, nothing much surprising happened.

But because of the way the media and the Democrats portrayed the vote, many Americans thought we were headed for a new age.

This not only was not true there was considerable evidence before and during the campaign that it wasn’t. For example, Obama:

– Wrote that conservatives and Bill Clinton were right to destroy social welfare,

– Supported making it harder to file class action suits in state courts

– Voted for a business-friendly “tort reform” bill

– Voted against a 30% interest rate cap on credit cards

– Had the most number of foreign lobbyist contributors in the primaries

– Was even more popular with Pentagon contractors than McCain

– Was most popular of the candidates with K Street lobbyists

– Supported the war on drugs

– Supported Real ID

– Supported the PATRIOT Act

– Supported the death penalty

– Campaigned in to support Joe Lieberman in the primary against liberal Ned Lamont

– Voted for a nuclear energy bill that full funding for Yucca Mountain.

– Came in at 48th in the ranking of senators by the League of Conservation Voters

– Promised to double funding for private charter schools, part of a national effort to undermine public education.

– Supporrted the No Child Left Behind Act

– Expressed a willingness to bomb Iran, expand the Afghn war and invade Pakistan

– Supported Israeli aggression and apartheid.

– Favored turning over Jerusalem to Israel- Opposed gay marriage

– Opposed single payer healthcare

– Said “everything is on the table” with Social Security early in campaign. In May 2008 he indicated opposition to privatizing Social Security, raising the minimum age, or reduce cost of living increases.

Yet the media and Obama’s backers maintained the fiction that because he was a bright good looking liberal black guy everything would be all right.

The truth has been coming home to roost ever since and Syria has perhaps finally blown the cover.

It’s too early to know for sure, but perhaps it’s at least time to stop pretending Obama was someone he never was.

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