President Obama: A Fraud You Can Believe In

The Advocate

By Herb Denenberg, The Bulletin

Friday, March 13, 2009

The hopes and prayers of the American people have finally been answered with the election of a new president: A fraud they can believe in.

Yes, and even as Barack Obama demonstrates he is a fraud, phony and hypocrite par excellence — who also happens to be in way over his head — the American people still believe in him. Yes,, love is grand and his approval rating is still miraculously high. If the truth were known, that approval rating would be sinking lower than the stock market, home prices or the economy.

I doubted he was the Messiah, but now I'm not sure. When a president can be the greatest wealth destroyer in history and still maintain high approval ratings, maybe he does have supernatural powers. What's more he is god-like. It is said God so loved the poor that he made many of them; Mr. Obama is almost outdoing God by turning so many into poor people.

As I surveyed the disaster that is the Obama administration, I was surprised by how many memorable statements of the past put the present and the president into such clear perspective. I have a weakness for books of quotations and I was re-reading that fascinating book by Robert Byrne titled, The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said.

In it, I came across the quote that describes our recent American history so perfectly. Will Durst, a comedian, put it perfectly when he said, "Voters want a fraud they can believe in."

There was abundant evidence Mr. Obama was a fraud, not a savior, in everything he's done in life — from his early education to his days in tthe Illinois legislature then to his U.S. Senate days and finally as a successful candidate for president. If anyone would look at his record and associates they'd see he's advocated infanticide in the Illinois State Senate, he's never displayed a glimmer of bipartisanship and he came out of the slime and sewer that is Chicago machine politics. And his associates would prevent him from getting security clearance if he was applying for a government job, rather than being elected to one.

This column has documented Mr. Obama's fraudulent positioning on the most important issues of our time. He talks of bipartisanship, but is totally partisan. He is against earmarks, but is about to sign a bill with more than 8,000 of them. He says he's going over every spending bill line by line to eliminate waste and abuse. But then he passes the greatest spending and stimulus bill in history without even allowing time enough for Congress and the public to read it. He says he is going to keep lobbyists out of his administration, but then he packs almost as many lobbyists into his administration as tax cheats.

He says his administration will be transparent but then can't even produce figures on the number of lobbyists that have received waivers to be in the administration.

He says almost all Americans will get a tax cut, but then proposes a carbon tax that will assure almost all Americans will get a tax increase. He promised to put the country on a pay-as-you-go basis, but he's setting records for deficits, national debt, spending, destroying wealth and for spend-as-you-go politics.

The most recent and dramatic example of how the Obama rhetoric has nothing in common with the Obama reality involves the organized attack of his administration on radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

Remember all of the Obama speeches about his rejection of the old politics and his commitment to stick to the major issues of our time. He promised to avoid diversions from the issues.

So what does the Obama administration do? It acts as if radio talk show host, Mr. Limbaugh, was the greatest issue of our time. This is orchestrated at the highest level of the administration.

It turns a sideshow into the main ring. This idiocy of the Obama administration was best captured by a cartoon a recent Weekly Standard. It shows the White House with a series of cartoon balloons asking and then answering the following questions:

"We must take care of the biggest threat to America."

Question: "The economy?"

Answer: "No."

Question: "The banking crisis?"

Answer: "No."

Question: "Terrorism?"

Answer: "No."

Question: "Iranian nukes?"

Answer: "No."

Question: "Then what?"

Answer: "Rush Limbaugh."

The new politics of Mr. Obama is even pettier, lower and dirtier than the old politics. The only change Mr. Obama is ready to deliver is change for the worse, not the better.

He promised hope, but endlessly repeats the words crisis, catastrophe and continuously runs the economy into the ground. Someone counted the word "crisis" popping up 26 times in one of his short speeches. Perhaps it's win-win for him, as the worst it gets, the more he can sell his socialistic, share-the-wealth, soak the rich programs. He agrees with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, that you should never let a crisis go to waste.

If that's not bad enough, the White House and Mr. Obama are now exhibiting signs of reckless incompetence and amateur-hour behavior that is even more threatening. Here's a glaring example. President Obama recently announced we are losing the war in Afghanistan and, at the same time, announced we may try to negotiate with the more moderate wing of the Taliban.

You would think no one would be so naive and inexperienced that they propose negotiation while proclaiming your own weakness. Mr. Obama, in approaching negotiation with the "moderate" wing of this terrorist group sounds more like he wants to negotiate an American surrender. The moderate Taliban, I would guess, would slit your throat rather than behead you.

This is the same kind of amateur-hour incompetence and insanity that led to the Obama proposal to negotiate without pre-condition with every genocidal terrorist and maniac such as the leaders in Iran and North Korea. It is the same kind of amateur-hour incompetence and insanity that led Mr. Obama to the moral equivalence between Russia’s invasion of Georgia and Georgia's response. It is incredible that one president can demonstrate so much inexperience and incompetence on many issues in such a short time.

But the far reaches of the most pure incompetence were displayed by his handling of the bank/credit crisis. Economists and other experts agree the problem at the heart of the great financial meltdown and recession is the freezing up of credit. So the first priority should be a solution to the bank/credit crisis. Yet it seems to be the last priority and the most neglected of all White House tasks. While Mr. Obama flits around with proposals and works for universal health insurance, education reform and infrastructure redirection, the proposals and team to deal with the bank/credit crisis is immobilized or perhaps better described as in shambles.

The noted tax cheat, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, falls on his face every time he takes a step forward. He still doesn't have his plan in place to fix the bank/credit crunch. Secretary Geithner, and the rest of the economic team, still don't have a plan for rescuing the banks or otherwise solving the problem. Mr. Geithner still doesn't have his key staff in place and, when I last checked, not a single one of the top 17 treasury officials to work under him were in place.

Mr. Obama says, like JFK, he has to handle multiple issues at the same time. Unfortunately, he seems to be unable to handle a single issue at one time. Mr. Obama says that FDR, Abraham Lincoln and JFK had to handle many issues at the same time. I can't say I knew those three former presidents, but I can assure Mr. Obama he's no Lincoln, FDR nor JFK; he's not even close.

There is other, abundant evidence of incompetence. You have to wonder whether he is even vetting high-level appointments, as one after another, is exposed to be a tax cheat. Late-night comedians joke that we can eliminate the deficit just by getting Mr. Obama's appointees to pay up their taxes.

This is not to mention his Commerce appointment, Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., who is under investigation and possible indictment for corruption.

If all that is not enough, we have the fiasco of fiascos — the appointtment of Charles Freeman to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council, a key entity in setting America's foreign policy, security and intelligence operations. It turns out he sounds like a Fifth Column agent for Saudi Arabia, Iran and China.

It turns out he was designated by a top intelligence official within the Obama administration and his appointment wasn't even communicated to the White House. He wasn't vetted by the White House, and apparently no one even bothered to ask him whether he is paying his taxes. It's entirely possible President Obama has finally found an appointee who is not a tax cheat. Yes, he can.

As I was writing that last paragraph, Fox News broke a story that Mr. Freeman had withdrawn from this appointment. Maybe the next appointee to chair the National Intelligence Council should be vetted before being named.

There's a glimmer of good news. Even some of Mr. Obama's advisers and supporters are finally figuring out Mr. Obama doesn't know what he is doing. For example, Warren Buffet, considered the nation's greatest and richest investor, and an Obama adviser, now says Mr. Obama's economic message is muddled and is undermining public confidence. Mr. Obama told CNBC, "And I think we've had, and it's the nature of the political process somewhat, but we've had muddled messages and the American public does not know. They feel they don't know what's going on, and their reaction then is to absolutely pull back."

Incidentally, Jack Welch, the former management genius at G.E., says Mr. Obama ought to focus on the economy and stop trying to handle all kinds of major issues all at once.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, a specialist in presidential politics, agrees with Mr. Buffet. He says the public is confused and Mr. Obama may be unintentionally sending the message that the problem may be the public may not understand what they're talking about on the banks. I've got news for Professor Sabato: The Obama people can’t figure out what they're talking about either.

Reuters also reports Tony Fratto, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush, said it is not only a muddled message problem but a fact problem: "[T]he market is not getting clear information on what Treasury's intentions are for the rest of this program."

Even some of the bootlicking, Obama-worshipping mainstream media are losing confidence in him. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle has written Mr. Obama is embarrassing America. Even Howard Fineman, of Newsweek magazine, one of the publications that was running Obama covers almost weekly, now writes that Mr. Obama is losing the support of the establishment.

All these developments are finally eroding Mr. Obama's approval ratings, which have now dropped from the 60s to 56, with the disapproval rating running 43 percent. If the public gets the full story of the performance of the Obama administration, I would think his approval rating should drop to the single digit range, if that high.

I should add one other point on the fraud that is Obama. His supporters like to bill him as the smartest man on the planet. But if he is so smart why is he unable to speak without the help of a teleprompter? He must have to go to bed with it. If you can't speak extemporaneously after going through a campaign, you can't be very bright.

I went through a primary campaign for the U.S. Senate, and by the time I was done I could deliver a campaign speech in my sleep, without notes and without a teleprompter. And I'm sure anyone who has been through a campaign will tell you the same thing. Mr. Obama is a strange exception.

There are even reports that the teleprompter is used to feed him facts and talking points to help him answer questions. There's also a report the White House is working on a computer unit on the podium to feed him material during press conferences and other question-and-answer formats.

I'm afraid like the great Oz, the great Mr. Obama will soon be discovered to be the fraud that he is. The golden tongue orator can't move his golden tongue without the aid of a script and a teleprompter.

There have been many false Messiahs in history, but isn't this going a little too far? We've got to set a higher standard, even for false Messiahs.

Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at