"I have done everything I said I would do," Mr. Obama says at every opportunity. "But what I didn't do, I will do in the next four years." Yes, conservative sticklers will cavil that the second assertion contradicts the first. But common sense, liberally applied, allows one to understand the president's meaning, which is simply that he has kept many or most of his most important promises, as he defines them, not including the ones he is still working on or the ones the Republicans have stopped him from working on, or the ones he has forgotten about, his job being busy and difficult. This is not the same as telling a lie. But this common sense view does not prevent the president's critics from using the "L" word anyway. So let us, like the ancient alchemists, turn the lead of conservative "lies" into the gold of shining truth!
Lie #1. The President panicked when the phone rang at 3:00 a.m. with a call from the consulate in Libya, just as Hillary said he would.
Fact: He did not panic. He was momentarily startled by the loud and incessant ringing of the foreign policy phone in the middle of an election campaign. But he quickly donned earplugs, recovered his composure and flew immediately to Las Vegas, there to manage the crisis in the warm and reassuring neon glow of the casinos.
Lie #2. The President and his cabinet, hoping to preserve all their strategic gains in the middle east -- where America is now beloved after the President revealed his deep sympathy with downtrodden Muslims everywhere -- denied that terrorists were involved in the attack on our consulate in Libya and conspired to blame an obscure, Bush-like, anti-Muslim video instead.
Fact: Read the transcript! The President actually said it was "terrorism" before he said it wasn't. And then later he said, after all, it was "terrorism". And still later he said he knew the whole time it was "terrorism," even though some people in the intelligence community were confused on this point, not wishing prematurely to reach a politically negative conclusion when the more positive one could be plausibly offered. The President also disavowed this confusion. Bending over backwards to accommodate the press, he has now gone further, launching an investigation into his own remarks.
Lie #3. The President wants to distance America from Israel in order to show the Arabs and others who hate us that we really don't like Israel all that much for the way they treat the Palestinians.
Gross Facts: Benjamin Netanyahu is a very intense personality and rubs the President's cool the wrong way. He also sweats a lot, making his handshake slippery and unpleasant. The President can be forgiven for wanting distance from this guy. Besides, Israel is just one small country in the Middle East. Our approach needs to be more balanced. Pass the Purell, please!
Lie #4. The President thinks the economy is recovering just fine, and that all we need to do is stay the course for a few more years of tortoise-like growth.
Fact: The President has admitted that there is "more to do." In his second term, he will tax the rich into submission, if he must, in order to get them to pay their fair share. He alone knows how much this is. He will use the proceeds of these new taxes to fund needed social programs such as making sure that every college girl has access to free, government paid contraception, and also to free, government paid sex, in order to take advantage of the free contraception.
Lie #5. The President will steal Newt Gingrich's idea of putting a colony on the moon.
Fact: Totally, absolutely, slanderously false! The President wouldn't follow Newt out of a burning building. Instead, if he does feel inclined to offer a plan for manned space travel, it will be to a better and even further away place, like Uranus.
Lie #6. The President offered Russia a secret deal to eliminate America's missile defense shield, but he was caught on an open mic saying that he would have more flexibility after the election. Meaning that he would accommodate the Russians only after the election, because the American people would object to his policy and therefore he would not tell them until it was too late.
Fact: The President did not say one thing to the Russians and another to Americans. He knew the mike was hot. This was a foreign policy sting and the dumb Russians fell for it! He was doing the Ayatollah shuffle for Putin, promising what he would never actually do! Of course, he only does this in foreign policy, where it is permissible to dissemble to one's enemies.
Lie #7. The President and the democrats are buying or stealing votes, committing fraud in an end-justifies-the-means campaign. As evidence, conservatives offer the son of Congressman Jim Moran, caught on video with his hands in the vote rigging till.
Fact: Everyone knows there is no such thing as vote fraud. And there is no such person as Jim Moran. Don't expect the President to say anything about this non-story either. He doesn't even talk about Libya and won't take the conservatives' bait on this one either.
Lie #8. Leading from behind is not a clever new military strategy, but what used to be called simple cowardice.
Fact: No Americans were killed in the Libyan conflict where this strategy was given its first operational test. What greater proof of success could one offer? Of course, the recent attack on the consulate doesn't count, since these casualties occurred only after Obama had declared the job well done and Colonel Qaddafi was dead. There is also no parallel here with what happened in Iraq, where America left under its own power.
Lie #9. The President sees the election as a kind of personal vindication, as he made clear in his remark that the best revenge is to vote.
Fact: The truth is that Romney is the small-minded man in this race, the one who keeps interpreting the President's remarks as though this were a fight for Class President. Sure the President is angry at the wicked distortions of his record. But then Romney does it again! If I were the President, I would want to rub him out too.
Lie #10. The President's campaign slogan "forward" is even vaguer and emptier that "change we can believe in." Republicans joke that to go "forward" blindly when you are standing on the edge of a cliff is not always a good idea. Go "forward" long enough, they say, and we are all dead. Yuk, Yuk.
Fact: "Forward" is where you go when you are being followed by Neanderthals and Troglodytes, otherwise known as conservatives, who pinch their noses in unison whenever some old rule or rubric falls by the wayside. But Democrats are not anarchists. For every stodgy old moral rule of thumb, the President and his cabinet add a dozen or more new rules, hire lots of people to enforce them and then borrow money to pay the enforcers. This is also known as a jobs program. Change is good. Progress is never having to relive today. Unless, of course, Mitt Romney wins. Then tomorrow will be like yesterday. This is what this election is all about.