WASHINGTON -- On Wednesday evening, all but one of America's television networks blew off their prime-time programs and dutifully trotted off to the White House to cover an hourlong self-congratulatory news conference celebrating the first 100 days of the Obama administration. Only Fox kept regularly scheduled programming -- the network's new hit "Lie to Me." ABC, CBS and NBC should have used the same title for the O-Team's news conference.
The Fox "reality drama" drew a million more American viewers than any network airing Mr. Obama's version of "Lie to Me." Those who tuned in to the White House coverage were treated to an astounding defense of profligate spending, a litany of broken promises and a deceitful denial of foreign policy failures. The fawning network executives who decided to forgo an estimated $10 million in ad revenues to cover the hundredth-night carnival from the East Room have to hope their shareholders don't fire them all.
Ever mindful of what's "playing" in front of the American people, Mr. Obama led off, as he does consistently, with the crisis du jour. This time, it was the swine flu, which members of the O-Team and the media have labeled a "possible pandemic."
On Wednesday evening our physician in chief assured us that he is doing everything necessary "to closely monitor the emergency cases of the H1N1 flu virus throughout the United States" and that our "government is taking the utmost precautions and preparations." After noting that he has "requested an immediate $1.5 billion in emergency funding from Congress to support our ability to monitor and track this virus and to build our supply of antiviral drugs and other equipment," the good doctor advised, "Keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough; stay home from work if you're sick; and keep your children home from school if they're sick."
His flu-prevention prescription is reminiscent of guidance during last year's campaign on saving fuel by keeping the tires on our cars properly inflated. Presumably, someone at the White House's press office is preparing a news release reminding us all to eat our green leafy vegetables.
The next item in the teleprompter was kudos to Congress for passing the 2010 O-Team budget. Though it passed the House of Representatives without a single Republican vote, Mr. Obama gushed about "how gratified (he was) that the House and the Senate passed a budget resolution today that will serve as an economic blueprint for this nation's future." If that "blueprint" statement is valid, our nation's economic future will be very bleak indeed.
Though he claimed that "this budget builds on the steps we've taken over the last 100 days to move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity" and asserted that he "has already saved or created over 150,000 jobs," there is scant evidence any of that is true. Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, described the funding measure as "the most fiscally irresponsible budget in American history." Congress should be doing what every American family is doing: cutting expenses, finding within themselves the faith and, yes, the courage to get through these times with sacrifice. Instead, here in Washington, it's more government, more spending, more debt and more taxes.
The "reporters" attending the news conference may be forgiven for not having had time to do the math, but the unprecedented spending in this budget is mind-boggling by any standard. In the 100 days being feted, the national debt has soared from $10.6 trillion to $11.2 trillion, an increase of $558.4 billion. If this pace continues, Mr. Obama will succeed in adding more than $2 trillion to the debt in his first year in office alone, a staggering $36,569 for every living American.
Though Mr. Obama claims to be "creating jobs" and "helping Americans keep their homes," reality says otherwise. Despite spending $235 billion of our tax dollars bailing out financial institutions, there have been 27 bank failures in the United States in the past 100 days. According to his own Department of Labor, more than 2 million Americans have lost their jobs since he moved into the Oval Office. The Obama administration's own figures reveal that during its tenure, 908,666 American families have lost their homes to foreclosure.
The "Lie to Me" theme continued in Mr. Obama's description of his foreign policy "successes" in his first 100 days. His assertion that "we have rejected the false choice between our security and our ideals by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and banning torture without exception" can only be described as "Clintonesque." The truth is Gitmo is still open, because no other country -- not even Saudi Arabia, to whose king he curtsied, or Venezuela, whose dictator's palm he stroked -- wants to take the terrorists detained there.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.