Back in May 2008 2007, I examined the way in which Obama tells lies:
Obama is also a fairly compulsive liar, something that highlights myriad other problems. That is, whenever he’s caught in a problematic situation (ah, those friends of his), rather than making a clean breast of it, or a good defense, he instead engages in a perfect storm of ever-spiraling affirmative defenses, with the common denominator always being that it’s everyone’s fault but Obama’s.
For those who are not lawyers, let me explain what affirmative defenses are. A complaint contains allegations that the defendant committed myriad acts of wrongdoing. In response, the defendant does two things. First, he denies everything except his own name, and he’d deny that too, if he could. Next, he issues affirmative defenses, which concede the truth of the accusations, but deny that they have any legal or practical meaning.
As an example of how this plays out, imagine a complaint alleging that I smashed my car into a fence, destroying it. I’d start by saying, “No, I didn’t.” Then I’d begin the affirmative defenses: (1) “Okay, I did bring my car into contact with the fence, but I didn’t actually hurt the fence.” (2) “Okay, I hurt the fence, but I didn’t hurt it badly enough to entitle its owner to any damages.” (3) “Okay, I destroyed the fence, but it was falling down already, so it’s really the owner’s fault, so he gets no damages.” And on and on, in a reductio ad absurdum stream of admissions and excuses.
These affirmative defense patterns have shown up with respect to some of Obama’s nastiest little pieces of personal history. When Jeremiah Wright’s sermons first surfaced, Obama denied knowing anything about them. When that denial failed, he claimed that he only had one or two exposures to this deranged level of hatred, so he didn’t make much of it. When that denial failed, he conceded that he’d heard this stuff often over the years, but wasn’t concerned about it, because he knew his pastor was a good man. (Which makes Obama either complicit in the statements or a fool.) Indeed, he even made a much-heralded speech about what a good man his pastor is. He then promised that he’d never abandon his beloved pastor. But when his pastor became dead weight, Obama dropped him so hard you could hear the thud.
The same pattern appeared when word got out about Obama’s connection with two self-admitted, unrepentant, America-hating terrorists. (That would be William Ayer and Bernadine Dohrn, for anyone out of the loop here.) When caught, Obama again engaged in a perfect storm of affirmative defenses. (1) I don’t know them. [A lie.] (2) Okay, I know them, but not well. [A lie.] (3) Okay, I know them well, but we’re just good friends, not political fellow travelers. [A lie.] (4) Okay, we’re more than just good friends, because we served on a Leftist board and I sought political advice from him. And on and on. With every lie, Obama concedes, and then comes forward with a new lie.
In an odd way, Obama’s approach to truth reminds me of how they used to break the news to patients about cancer — incrementally, very incrementally. I know this first hand, because this is what happened with my Dad. In his case, the following statements played out over the course of about a week: “Nothing’s wrong.” This was a lie. “There’s a slight anomaly on the tests, but nothing to worry about.” This was a lie. “There’s a tumor, but we’re sure it’s benign.” This was a lie. “The tumor is, in fact, malignant, but it’s completely treatable.” This, too, was a lie. “You have one year.” Finally, the truth. What you end up with is that, at the end of all the lies, cancer is cancer, and Obama’s past is Obama’s past.
Compare what I said with two reviews of Obama’s presser about Iran. First, from Power Line:
Characteristically, however, Obama wouldn’t admit that today’s position represented an almost complete reversal of his original reaction to protests in Tehran. Asked by Major Garrett of Fox News, “What took you so long?” Obama claimed that “we’ve been entirely consistent, Major, in terms of how we’ve approached this.” Sure. No doubt some of the more slavish Obamaphiles will actually believe it. The others–those who have been vigorously defending Obama’s “smart” refusal to take sides for the last week–presumably will feel a little foolish.
And now from Commentary’s Contentions (in a post fittingly titled Not What It Seems):
The president’s press conference was a tour de force of misdirection.
Even worse was his denial of what everyone knows: the president’s language on Iran has toughened in response (one supposes) to critics inside and outside the administration who found his initial statements inexcusably weak:
So we’ve been entirely consistent, Major, in terms of how we’ve approached this. My role has been to say the United States is not going to be a foil for the Iranian government to try to blame what’s happening on the streets of Tehran on the CIA or on the White House, that this is an issue that is led by and given voice to the frustrations of the Iranian people.
Does he even believe this? We went from “no meddling” and no real difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi to “appalled” and “condemn.” You judge. And why does the president lie? Is he, like George Bush, loath to admit error?
What’s truly impressive about Obama’s lies is the fact that he keeps saying them despite being caught over and over and over again. Admittedly, the media bubble protects him somewhat, but the fact that real time videos and transcripts of his speeches are there for everyone to see (and for thousands to comment upon), makes it almost unbelievable that he cannot admit the truth: “I learned the facts (and it will never be clear whether by facts he means the facts in Iran, or the facts of American voter polls) and I changed my mind.”
Bottom line: the man has a personality disorder (malignant narcissism is my guess), and such people lie compulsively. But, typical for a narcissist, Obama will deny that he lies and, in a way, he’s right. While normal people know they are lying, narcissists don’t. Instead, because they are the center of their own universe, they always view their needs at any particular moment as the truth. There is no past, there is no future, there is only the need in the now.