This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published February 15, 2015 at The Washington Times.
It’s been a good couple of weeks for the truth. It always is when lies are found out.
President Obama’s chief strategist admits in a new book that Mr. Obama lied all along during his first-term election campaign about opposing same-sex “marriage.”
Meanwhile, White House spokesmen fumbled and backtracked after Mr. Obama mischaracterized the Islamist murders at a Jewish deli in Paris as the work of those “who randomly shoot a bunch of folks.”
NBC anchor Brian Williams got caught embellishing a wartime story and a Hurricane Katrina report and has been suspended.
Lying is still news — at least when you get caught. When people react with disgust, it demonstrates that truth is still valued. A lot of people think Bill Clinton got away with his prevarications, but he will forever be linked to sex scandals and the scoundrel phrase, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
In his book Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, David Axelrod cheerfully acknowledges his own role in misleading the American people for the higher purpose of getting Mr. Obama into the White House:
“Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,’” Mr. Axelrod wrote, as Time reports. According to Mr. Axelrod, the soon-to-be president told him, “I’m just not very good at bull[expletive].”
Really? How about this one: “We will keep this promise to the American people . If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”
David Graham notes in The Atlantic that Mr. Obama had endorsed same-sex marriage early on, so “by 2008, Obama’s supposed opposition was a fiction, but it was a politically effective one.”
His most flagrant lie about marriage occurred during the televised “religious” debate with John McCain on Aug. 17, 2008, moderated by Saddleback Community Church pastor Rick Warren.
Mr. Warren asked Mr. Obama to “define marriage.”
“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,”Mr. Obama answered. “Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”
He went on to say that marriage was a matter for the states and, “I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions.”
This begged three follow-up questions that never came: Do you believe the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin? Why do you oppose the federal Defense of Marriage Act? If you believe marriage is up to the states and must have both sexes, why don’t you support California’s Prop 8 amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman?
By letting Mr. Obama get away with the big lie, Mr. Warren gave a green light to millions of Christians — especially black evangelicals — to vote for a man who, once in office, turned on them with a vengeance. The new president quickly and dishonestly denied America’s heritage as a Christian nation, aggressively advanced the left’s sexual and redistributionist agendas, and became the world’s leading apologist for Islam.
As long as we’re on the subject of lying, Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be put on the grill for a few minutes until done — first about flagrant falsehoods surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack, her bizarre recounting of non-existent “sniper fire” at an airport landing in Bosnia in 1996, the Whitewater scandal, her “cattle futures” windfall, her role in suppressing husband Bill’s “bimbo eruptions,” and her supposed epiphany on same-sex “marriage” in 2012. Just for starters.
It’s a healthy thing for citizens in a self-governing republic to sift out truly venal liars from run-of-the-mill politicians who scratch constituents’ itching ears with unlikely campaign promises. It’s better yet to find and support honorable people in public life. The cynics are wrong when they insist there are none.
While we’re vetting, we need to keep an eye on the people in black robes. Judges are assuming God-like powers to reorder reality, regardless of constitutional limits. In 1973, the Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to kill unborn children. In 2008, the court trampled property rights and due process by letting officials confiscate private homes in Connecticut to give them to a developer they could dun for more tax revenue. In 2010, the court twisted the Constitution into a pretzel to jam Obamacare down America’s throat.
Right now, it looks like the justices are playing the game that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton were playing on same-sex “marriage” — pretending to be pondering it while doing whatever it takes to make it a fait d’accompli.
The Atlantic’s David Graham nailed it: “By holding their cards close to their robes and delaying the imperative to follow their logic to its conclusion, they can let politics catch up. Sometimes, lying does pay.”
Yes, in the short run. However, if you take an eternal view of life, you know in your gut the tab will eventually become due. Sometimes, as Brian Williams has learned, the jig is up sooner than you think.