Michelle Malkin
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Hold on to your hoe. It turns out that the fruits and veggies used in a special edition of the popular Food Network TV show “Iron Chef America” featuring first lady Michelle Obama did not, in fact, come from the White House garden. Could there be a more deliciously fitting symbol of Obama White House fakery than Garden-Gate?

Some may shrug at this tempest in a colander. But as we approach the one-year anniversary of the Hope and Change inauguration, the first lady’s little horticultural hoax serves as a handy metaphor for a cornucopia of Obama fraud. They’ve stocked health care town halls with partisan goons and benefactors. They’ve provided lab coats to doctor donors to make their health care lobbying look more authentic. And they’ve treated soldiers, in President Obama’s own words, as “pretty good photo ops.”

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East Wing apologists are whirling like KitchenAid salad spinners over the Iron Chef-fuffle: "Due to the production delay between the shoot at the White House and the shoot at Food Network, the produce used in Kitchen Stadium during the 'Super Chef Battle' was not actually from the White House garden," admitted a Food Network spokeswoman. But, they stress, the replacement produce consisted of the exact same types of sweet potatoes, tomatillos, broccoli and fennel purportedly picked from the White House garden.

It’s the haute cuisine version of disgraced CBS News fabricator Dan Rather’s fake-but-accurate card. But this is just the latest Potemkin produce from a Potemkin presidency.

To wit: White House number-crunchers and Democratic fuzzy mathematicians have been cooking the books on stimulus jobs numbers and government health care takeover costs. They desperately ditched the “jobs saved or created” recipe for a jobs-funded concoction to salvage the illusion of economic recovery. They’ve inflated deficit reduction estimates and downplayed doctor reimbursement cuts. And they’ve done so behind a locked kitchen door.

Candidate Obama whipped up a nutritious package of transparency pledges that has fallen flatter than a one-egg souffle. Open government, he told us, was good for Washington and good for America -- and the president promised to give us heaping doses of it on C-SPAN. But not a camera was in sight for the past week’s backroom health care negotiations among the White House, Democratic leaders and left-wing special interests.

Now, President Obama is poised to deliver juicy tax exemptions for unions while squeezing middle-class taxpayers, employers, investors and drugmakers to subsidize expanded government health care.

The liberal press became unhinged when former President George W. Bush posed with an artificial turkey on a surprise Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad in 2003. But on Thursday, when Obama served up a fake populist turkey of a $90 billion bank tax -- dubbed the “financial crisis responsibility fee” -- much of the press corps dutifully chewed and swallowed. Feigning outrage at the very financial sector that loaded his campaign coffers and provided him with crony Treasury appointees, Obama demanded “our money” back.

But the tax will not apply to the Enron-rivaling financial black holes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (it would “not be productive,” says a White House filled with Fannie- and Freddie-enriched advisers). Or to the bailed-out auto companies. Or to the bevy of non-banks that have soaked up taxpayer bailout money. Gobble, gobble, gobble.

Nor will any of the incompetent or complicit financial regulators who practiced self-admittedly “inadequate” oversight before the meltdown and during the government bailout structuring be fined or penalized. (We’re looking at you, Tim Geithner).

With Year Two of the Obama administration barely under way, even its most loyal subjects are beginning to realize that Hope and Change were phony fruits. He promised new politics. We got the same old crony capitalism. He promised public accountability. We got the back of the hand. How ya like them rotten apples now?

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Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).

©Creators Syndicate