Updated: December 6, 2013 6:15AM
You can keep your insurance if you like it. Syria will be punished if it crosses a red line and uses chemical weapons against its people. The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi killing four Americans was inspired by an anti-Muslim YouTube video.
Ill-advised declarations like these have President Obama and his administration facing growing questions about credibility that could undermine the last three years of his presidency. If that happens, what likely will be remembered as the tipping point was Obama’s unequivocal assertion that “if you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.”
That’s simply not true and, as published reports indicate, administration officials knew it wasn’t true. The threat that false statement poses to his presidency is evident by the efforts of Obama, his aides and his allies in the media to counteract the growing outcry of middle class Americans denied insurance policies that suited them just fine.
Obama now says the “vast majority” of Americans who have “good” policies can keep their coverage. But we’re just at the start of the law’s implementation, and who knows how many insurance policies will be deemed not in compliance with Obamacare mandates — the government’s definition of “good”? His aides complain it’s evil insurance companies canceling policies — ignoring the reality that they are reacting to the Obamacare law. Obama allies, like the editorial page of the New York Times, claim the president only “misspoke” — a couple of dozen times.
His misleading if not deceptive health-care claim could be a tipping point because it is only the latest — and most blatant — example of disingenuous, evasive and questionable statements from the administration.
Flinching from his pledge to punish Syria for using chemical weapons had the perverse effect of boosting the fortunes of dictator Bashir al-Assad in Syria’s civil war. It also angered Mideast allies like Saudi Arabia and raised doubts Obama would follow through on his threat to use military action to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
The claim that the Benghazi murders resulted from a spontaneous demonstration over the video and not a well-planned terrorist attack collapsed almost immediately, but that didn’t stop Obama from citing the Internet video a couple of weeks after the attack.
Then there’s the White House’s avowals that Obama was ignorant of things his administration was doing. For example, Obama didn’t know the National Security Agency was spying on world leader and U.S. ally German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He learned from news media about the Internal Revenue Service harassing conservatives. He also had to find out from news reports that the Justice Department was seizing phone records of AP and Fox News reporters.
All this comes together in a less than pretty picture. Obama says things that aren’t true, makes a tough threat that he later finds a way to wiggle out of, and seems out of touch with a government he was elected to lead. Throw in the debacle of the Obamacare rollout, and it’s no wonder many Americans worry about the credibility and competence of the Obama administration.