Tue 20 May, 2014 10:01 am
Obama's Fake Outrage, Fake Tirelessness, Fake Pay Cut . . .
The Obama administration is dangerously depleting our nation's reserves of speechwriting clichés.
For example, when some terrible mess blows up on the president's watch, what does he say? Come on. You know it.
No one is madder than him.
After White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough assured the public, "nobody is more outraged about this problem right now" than President Obama -- an outrage that has yet to be expressed in anything more than pro forma public statements -- Reid Epstein decided to look up how often the president assured all of us he was angry -- or perhaps more angry than anyone else! -- about failures of his administration or other setbacks.
It's quite a list:
October 2013: "Nobody's madder than me about the fact that the website isn't working as well as it should."
The IRS scandal, May 2013: "Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it."
April 2012, the Secret Service prostitution scandal: "If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I'll be angry."
May 2010, the BP oil spill: "And I know that doesn't lessen the enormous sense of anger and frustration felt by people on the Gulf and so many Americans. Every day I see this leak continue I am angry and frustrated as well."
March 2009, the AIG bonuses guaranteed in TARP: "I don't want to quell anger," he said. "I think people are right to be angry. I'm angry."
He forgot one, though, when Obama was "apoplectic":
President Barack Obama is "apoplectic" about lavish spending at the GSA, one of his top advisers said Sunday.
"On the GSA issue, he was I think it's fair to say apoplectic," said David Axelrod, said on NBC's Meet the Press. "Because we made a big effort to cut waste, inefficiency, fraud against government, saved tens of billions of dollars doing it on just this very kind of thing. And so this was very enraging to him, and, of course, he acted quickly, the administration acted quickly and changed the management there."
At the time of the "apoplectic" comment, the president had not yet mentioned the GSA spending scandal in the preceding three weeks. Maybe it's a really quiet anger.
Then, of course, there's the tired cliché suggesting that president Obama will never rest. Ever.
APRIL 9, 2009: "And we will not rest until we reach a day when not one single veteran falls into homelessness."
MAY 11, 2009: "I will not rest until the dream of health-care reform is finally achieved in the United States of America."
SEPTEMBER 15, 2009: "I want you all to know, I will not rest until anybody who's looking for a job can find one -- and I'm not talking about just any job, but good jobs that give every American decent wages and decent benefits and a fair shot at the American Dream."
NOVEMBER 2, 2009: "We will not rest until we are succeeding in generating the jobs that this economy needs."
NOVEMBER 23, 2009: "I will not rest until business are investing again, and businesses are hiring again."
This was a particularly good one, considering the time and the place: Obama, speaking from Hawaii, where he and his family are vacationing, told Americans, "We will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable."
JANUARY 28, 2010: "We will not rest until we build an economy that's ready for America's future."
MARCH 5, 2010: "I'm not gonna rest and my administration is not gonna rest in our efforts to help people who are looking to find a job."
MAY 26, 2010 : "We will not rest until this well is shut, the environment is repaired and the clean up is complete."
Okay, BP did eventually shut down the well.
JULY 8, 2010: "My administration will not rest until every American who is able and ready and willing to work can find a job."
That nice list above missed one big one, although this one was from Hillary Clinton: "What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans."
Yes, the "we will not rest" pledge is always an unrealistic promise. No, no preceding president gave up sleep after making a similar pledge. But there's something about Obama's promiscuous use of the pledge that makes everyone involved a little cheaper -- his speechwriters for going back to that dry well again and again, the president for managing to deliver the line for the thousandth time and sounding like he means it, and everyone who applauds for acting like saying it means something.
As Frank Drebin said, "Wilma, I promise you; whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he's behind bars. Now, let's grab a bite to eat."
Remember "all statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date"?
And then of course, there's the symbolic pay cut:
The White House is refusing to confirm whether President Barack Obama followed up on his pledge to take a five percent pay cut due to sequestration last year.
Obama promised last April to take a 5 percent pay cut in "solidarity" with federal employees who were furloughed as a result of the automatic budget cuts, known as the sequester. The cut was meant to equate to the level of spending cuts imposed on nondefense federal agencies.
"The president has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury," a White House official said at the time.
The White House would not respond to numerous requests submitted by the Washington Free Beacon to the White House press office to confirm that Obama did, in fact, write checks to the Treasury.
And then, of course, there's the "I'll-march-with-you" pledge to labor unions:
On Nov. 3, 2007, Barack Obama -- then a senator running for president -- pledged to a crowd in Spartanburg, S.C., that he would watch out for unions and protect their collective bargaining rights. "If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States," Obama said.
Which, of course, never happened. Even during the fights over collective bargaining for public-sector workers in Wisconsin.
Iowahawk summarizes it well: "I pledge to have my top men get to the bottom of these phony scandals that I'm madder than hell to have only learned about from the papers."
Yet Another Shameless Lie, This One about the American Legion
You know, national press corps, you have no one to blame but yourselves for the likes of Jay Carney populating this administration, offering shameless, easily refutable lies on serious matters, and believing they can survive another news cycle before the lie falls apart.
Had you covered Obama and his allies with the kind of skepticism they warranted from the beginning, they wouldn't be as prone to lie, and lie shamelessly, as they do today.
The latest example:
At the White House briefing today, Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly suggested the American Legion had praised the Department of Veterans Affairs for the resignation Friday of top VA health official Dr. Robert Petzel.
It turns out, however, the American Legion had issued a statement dismissing the resignation as "business as usual."
Here's what Carney said at the White House briefing: "The American Legion said that the group looks at Petzel's resignation as a, quote, step towards addressing the leadership problem at the VA. So I think that undercuts the assertion that that is not a meaningful development."
Carney went on to cite the American Legion nine times during the briefing.
Jim Geraghty (Via e-mail)