How does President Barack Obama, a man of such keen intelligence, with such promise to "change" America, find himself in so much serious trouble?
From the IRS targeting conservatives to the continued confusion over what happened at Benghazi to provoking a battle with The Associated Press by subpoenaing phone records that could involve as many as 100 reporters, what went wrong?
The answer is simple: arrogance, aided and abetted by a compliant, adoring "news" media.
CNN's Roland Martin urged the president to "go gangsta" on conservatives who wouldn't confirm his political appointments. Supporters like MSNBC's the Rev. Al Sharpton publicly said they will not criticize Obama -- on anything. Even though Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., called the then 15.9 percent black unemployment rate "unconscionable," she refused to publicly criticize the President. Politicians, Waters candidly told a Detroit town hall audience on unemployment, want to get re-elected: "If we go after the President too hard, you're going after us. When you tell us it's all right and you unleash us and you're ready to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation." So why shouldn't Obama feel that he operates under different, special rules, and can do so without risking loss of support?
By refusing to hold Obama to the same standard they would hold any garden-variety Republican, the media now face the monster they created.
With a straight face, Obama used lines like he's going to "save or create" 3.5 million jobs. What does that even mean? How do you measure whether a given policy "saves" a job?
"The inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction," wrote William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal. "Never mind that no one -- not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- actually measures 'jobs saved.'"
With a straight face, Obama told us over and over how his mother, as she lay dying from cancer in a Hawaii hospital, fought with her insurance carriers over paying her medical and hospital bills. But according to the book by Janny Scott, a former New York Times reporter, the sole dispute was over a disability policy his mother had taken out. Her bills were paid promptly and without dispute. To date, not one reporter has asked the President about this false narrative he used so effectively to personalize his fight for ObamaCare.
With a straight face, Obama told us that under ObamaCare the "cost curve" would "bend down"; that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; and that nobody will be worse off under ObamaCare. Yet premiums are going up. Employers are dropping plans and cutting hours to shed the number of "full-time workers" for whom employers must provide a health care policy or pay a fine.
With a straight face, Obama told us that the soaring annual deficits come from "two wars we didn't pay for" and "tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that were not paid for." Did his suck-up media do the math? If you take the generally accepted estimate of the costs of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- over the 10 years from 2001 to 2011 -- they annually accounted for 10 percent of the then-deficit. As to tax cuts for the rich, Obama put the "cost" at $700 billion over 10 years and has said, "We need to get rid of ... tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and ... corporate jet owners." But $700 billion over 10 years is $70 billion per year, a small fraction of the current deficit.
With a straight face, then-Sen. Obama, the Un-Bush, said he opposes any military intervention unauthorized by Congress unless the country faces imminent risk of attack. But as President, Obama joined with France and Britain in bombing Libya, a country that posed no imminent threat to America. Libya's then-leader, Moammar Gadhafi, had long before surrendered his weapons of mass destruction to the Bush administration. President George W. Bush obtained congressional approval for Afghanistan and Iraq. Not so with Obama and Libya. President Obama paid no political price for what Sen. Obama would have opposed.
Newsweek, after the passage of ObamaCare, published a gushing cover story: "We Are All Socialists Now." Somehow the piece failed to note economists like UCLA's Lee Ohanian, whose peer-reviewed work shows that FDR's New Deal lengthened and deepened the Great Depression -- the opposite of what most Americans learn in high school. But to Newsweek, the question has been settled. A bigger, activist government is simply right and proper and just. If it takes thuggery on the part of Obama to get us there, well, so be it.
Obama's arrogance flows from our fawning, gushing, Bush-hating "news" media, which shirk their responsibility to fairly report the news. The media's fecklessness creates overconfidence. With good reason, Obama expects his media cheerleaders to look the other way, accept excuses without much challenge and turn the President's critics and whistleblowers into enemies.