President Obama’s hot mic moment defined his trip to South Korea and may very well define his reelection bid. The reason his uncensored remark resonates is that it supports a pre-existing narrative that President Obama’s promises are not to be trusted.
Before he backed off the campaign trail, no one made this argument more frequently than Newt Gingrich. After his second place finish in Florida, he said, “If he [President Obama] can have a record this bad, unemployment this bad, deficits this bad, policies this bad, gasoline prices this high, and still get re-elected, you can’t imagine how radical he’ll be in his second term.”
Rhetorical flourish aside – though Gingrich excels in that department – the President’s moment of candor with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev only serves to reconfirm the worst fears of proponents of a strong American defense.
In 2010, President Obama promised Republican Senators he would increase funding for the modernization of our nuclear arsenal in exchange for the ratification of the New START Treaty, which was skewed heavily in favor of the Russians. Earlier this year, the duplicitous and disingenuous nature of the New START negotiations were revealed when lawmakers realized President Obama was “walking away” from that commitment.
A president that fails to keep his word to lawmakers while making “secret plans” over the future of missile defense is political malpractice; and, when those plans are made with a country hostile to missile defense, it is downright dangerous. Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH) brought the point home last week, saying, “We all are concerned what this secret deal will be as we face a rising threat from North Korea.”
After mocking his devastating comments, President Obama tried to clarify them and alleviate lingering concerns he would run wild if given a second term. He said, “the only way I get this stuff done is if I'm consulting with the Pentagon, if I'm consulting with Congress, if I've got bipartisan support…”
The implication is that President Obama cannot do anything without the support of Congress. That, my friends, is absolutely false.
Look no further than last week’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would begin regulating carbon emissions from new power plants. President Obama is using regulation to do something Congress would not give him the authority to do. (EPA regulations on refineries are also contributing to higher gas prices.)