Can you imagine how insufferable President Obama would be about his record in office if he actually had abundant positive accomplishments? Have we ever seen a starker contrast between a politician's record and his self-assessment of it?
It's not as though the president just avoids or downplays his failures. It's more like he showcases them, but only after completely revising history to put his actions in a favorable light.
I have this recurring dream where I'm watching the president give a speech and he makes a claim about his record wholly at odds with what we have witnessed and I have to question my memory. Did he just say what I think he said, or did I miss a word or phrase that would have changed the meaning to something far less inaccurate -- and outrageously absurd? The trouble is, these are not dreams.
The most recent example was his speech on immigration. Perhaps he figured he'd received enough of a "bounce" from the bin Laden strike to ratchet up his militant rhetoric against border enforcement advocates. Last year, through the Arizona law, they were subjecting to possible arrest "legals" who were just out with their families for ice cream. Now they want to protect the border with a moat full of alligators.
But the people who are truly in jeopardy, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry pointed out, are those on the border who have to deal with the reality of deadly Mexican drug cartels.
Here's where my "dream" comes in. While ridiculing the patriots who are simply trying to enforce the law, he claims that he is already doing so with vigor. He says that violence in El Paso is decreasing and that the border towns are among the safest in America, implying that his policies are directly responsible for the decline.
But how can Obama make a causal connection between his border policies and so-called improved security? Remember, this is the same guy who told Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl that he would not assist with border security because it would remove any incentive for the GOP to work with him on "comprehensive immigration reform."
Any decline in apprehensions, says Perry, is due to the depressed state of the economy and fewer people trying to cross over in pursuit of jobs. "The drug cartels haven't slowed down a bit. They're still continuing to use our southern border as a base of operation. We're seeing more and more of our citizens, for instance in south Texas in the last 30 days ... our ranchers ... being threatened, and I'm not talking about threatened verbally, I'm talking shot at. You're going to see United States citizens killed if this administration does not take border security seriously. They don't."
Another of my "dreams" occurred when Obama asserted a surreal defense of his offshore drilling policy, claiming that criticisms of his drilling moratorium and "permitorium" were unwarranted because oil production had reached new highs.
Well, just as relaxing border enforcement could not possibly increase border safety, imposing a virtual freeze on much offshore drilling could not possibly increase the volume of drilling. As Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute observes, the administration is unfairly taking credit for long-term decisions that were made long before Obama took office. "It's completely disingenuous," said Milito, "to say that offshore production has increased due to anything this administration has done."
Do you not see a pattern here? It's as if Obama has relied on rhetoric his entire life and has come to believe that it will prevail over any facts to the contrary. Policy failures can be mystically converted to successes with a speech laced with lofty deceit or, if too egregious to deny, can simply be blamed on Bush. Serendipitous successes can be credited to policies that were designed to accomplish just the opposite.
So it is that he would have us believe he's made the border safer because he refuses to make it safer; he has increased oil production while thwarting it; he revels in ordering the death of bin Laden, which was made possible by counterterrorism policies he strenuously opposed and intelligence gathered from procedures he's now actively seeking to criminalize; he brags about what he's accomplished in Iraq when he was at the forefront in opposing policies that led to the successes he is co-opting; he states that unlike Bush, he is engaging in multilateralism in Libya, though his international coalition is much smaller than Bush's for Iraq; and he bases his whole case for Obamacare on increasing access to health care, when the inevitable destination of his plan is to grossly decrease access through rationing.
Just think about what Obama's policy agenda would look like in a second term when he wouldn't have to play these games with an eye to re-election.