My Jerusalem Post article about the campaign to delegitimize President Obama identified repetition of falsehoods and baseless speculation as two of the three techniques used to distort President Obama’s record. We saw those techniques on display throughout 2014.
Would I enhance my credibility by criticizing President Obama? My credibility, to the extent I have any, comes from your knowing that I will always tell you what I think and support my arguments with facts you can rely on. If I’m asked what two plus two equals, I’m going to say four every time. I’m not going to sometimes say two plus two equals five just to show I’m “balanced,” no matter how many times our Republican friends try to have us believe that two plus two equals whatever may be politically convenient for them.
Take a look back at 2014 and see what I mean:
Remember the stories about how the interim agreement with Iran would lead to a total dismantling of sanctions and an advantage for Iran? Last week, Politifact confirmed the truth of President Obama’s statement that Iran has not advanced its nuclear ambitions since negotiations started.
Remember all the times we’ve been told since 2008 that President Obama did not have Israel’s back? Six years into his presidency, military and intelligence cooperation between Israel and the U.S. are at unprecedented levels. President Obama’s support and advocacy for Iron Dome saved thousands of Israeli lives during the Gaza conflict. And unlike his Republican predecessors, President Obama has never withheld arms from Israel, suspended cooperation with Israel, withheld loan guarantees, supported U.N. condemnation of Israel, or even failed to veto U.N. condemnations of Israel. No Republican president has a better record on Israel than President Obama.
Remember all the stories about how Putin would invade Ukraine because he did not fear the U.S.? Putin did not invade Ukraine. He understood what our Republican friends didn’t understand: The U.S. would have been crazy to start World War III over Crimea, but there are lines, and Ukraine is on the other side of that line.
Remember all the stories about how President Obama should have bombed Syria? His threat of military action was enough. Once Syria and Russia agreed to his terms, there was no need to drop the bombs. Prime Minister Netanyahu praised President Obama for enhancing Israel’s security by removing Syria’s chemical weapons. In September, Bibi told the U.N. that “President Obama deserves great credit for leading the diplomatic effort to dismantle virtually all of Syrian’s chemical weapons capability.”
Remember the absurd stories about the U.S. considering sanctions on Israel? They were completely unfounded and without merit.
Remember when Republicans told us that President Obama reduced funding for joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs? They were wrong.
Remember the stories about the administration denying Israel Hellfires during the Gaza conflict? Israel never used Hellfires during the Gaza conflict, Israel was not running low on Hellfires, it was just a process change, the Hellfires were delivered, and crucially, the U.S. did resupply Israel with needed munitions during the conflict.
Remember all the hysteria about Chuck Hagel? Hagel proved to be a true friend of Israel.
Remember the nonsense about how Samantha Power was not a friend of Israel? Time and time again, she’s gone to bat for Israel at the U.N.
Remember all the malarkey about the so-called IRS scandal? A House report released last week shows no connection to the White House.
Remember all the malarkey about Benghazi? The House Intelligence Committee determined that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the attack and there was no wrongdoing by the Obama administration.
Remember the controversy about so-called contradictory statements of Gen. Dempsey and the State Department regarding Israel’s conduct in Gaza? It was a manufactured controversy.
Remember all the talk about how President Obama was not acting forcefully enough to protect us from Ebola? In fact, Americans had over twice the chance of marrying Larry King as dying from Ebola.
Remember the predictions that 2014 would be the year that Jews turned Republican? Jews again voted overwhelmingly Democratic.
Remember when Mitt Romney promised 6% unemployment?
Remember when Newt Gingrich promised gas at $2.50 a gallon?
We’ve hit all of those milestones since re-electing President Obama.
Politico summed it up perfectly:
The Chicken-Littles who predicted a double-dip recession, runaway interest rates, Zimbabwe-style inflation, a Greece-style debt crisis, skyrocketing energy prices, health insurance “death spirals” and other horrors have been reliably wrong.
The reality is that in 2014 the Dow broke 18,000, the deficit is shrinking, the economy is growing (at 5% in the third quarter), unemployment is below 6%, inflation is low, consumer confidence is up, millions who did not have health insurance are now covered, gas prices are falling, and even without the help of Congress, we are on our way to saner policies on immigration and Cuba. And Osama bin Laden is still dead.
Writing about The Best Worst President Ever, Mark Morford says that
The bottom line seems obvious: Much to the GOP’s bitter revulsion, it turns out a calm, intellectual black man really can run an entire country–certainly far better than an inarticulate Texas bumbler, and even in the face of what is easily the most obstructionist, hateful, acidic and often downright racist Congress in modern memory.
My prediction: None of these facts will shame the people who fed us misinformation in 2014 from continuing their attempts to stamp our passports with visas from Fantasyland in 2015. Cognitive dissonance demands it. All we can do is consider the source and continue to respond with the truth. Happy New Year!
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*White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough reflects on 2014’s highlights.*