Almost nothing Obama says can be taken at face value

 

It turns out that President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget is no more trustworthy than the rest of his administration. His budget, unsurprisingly to conservatives, is not “balanced” and does not deliver on its promise to cut $1.8 trillion in spending over a decade.

Once again, what Obama told us is very different from reality.

The difficulty the president now faces is not merely the multiple scandals and the perception that his administration has crossed the line from partisanship to illegality, but the growing recognition that almost nothing he says can be taken at face value. The presumption of integrity and assumption of good faith have vanished in a cloud of unkept promises, wrongdoing and ineptitude.

When he says “red line” he doesn’t mean it. When he says he wants a “balanced” approach, he doesn’t translate that into action. When he says Obamacare is on track, it’s a joke. When he says he’s decimated al Qaida, he’s exaggerating. When he says a video spurred the attack on Libya, he’s flat out wrong. When he says he respects the First Amendment, he’s fooling no one.

No wonder our international foes don’t believe him; many Americans don’t either. Whether he is misleading, mistaken or miscast as president hardly matters any more. What is critical is that he’s no longer believed.

Once a president loses credibility and his words can no longer be accepted at face value, it doesn’t matter what domestic or foreign policy he is pursuing, he’s done as a leader.

How close to that point is the president? Some may think he’s passed it. With a fleet of yes men and women as advisers, he’s particularly handicapped in figuring out how to restore his stature. Maybe a clean sweep of his advisers and Cabinet would help. But since White House spokesman Jay Carney tells us there are no scandals, that isn’t likely to happen soon.

© 2013, The Washington Post

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