President Barack Obama doesn't suffer from amnesia, but apparently he hopes the public does.
In his latest in a series of interviews on "60 Minutes" this week, the president took positions that are the polar opposite of what he was saying as recently as last spring.
One wishes all of those "fact-checkers" who point out supposed mistakes by the Republican candidates were as committed to noting even worse flaws in the president's promises.
In his interview with Steve Kroft, the president said he always believed that reversing the culture in Washington "was gonna take more than one term." It's a "long-term project," he said, "not a short-term project." And then he claimed that during the 2008 campaign, he "didn't overpromise."
Speaking in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 22, 2008, Mr. Obama promised to put millions of Americans back to work; he pledged "real change." Instead, the unemployment rate is 8.6 percent. Or is it? Ed Luce of the Financial Times writes, "According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent." Washington remains unchanged, as dysfunctional and gridlocked as ever.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since President Obama took office, the nation has lost 1.9 million jobs, prompting Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler to write that if the economy does not turn around, "Obama is on track to have the worst jobs record of any president in the modern era."
In 2009, the president said on the "Today" show, "If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition." A few days later in Florida, there was this, "I'm not going to make any excuses," said Mr. Obama. "If stuff hasn't worked and people don't feel like I've led the country in the right direction, then you'll have a new president."
The latest right-track, wrong-track poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that only 17 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction, while a whopping 75 percent think it's headed the wrong way.
On CBS, the president said the 2012 election is about his vision, but as CBS News' Stephanie Condon reported last week, "Sixty-six percent of Americans say they do not have a clear idea of what he wants to accomplish in a second term. ... Fewer than half of Democrats say they have a clear idea of what the president wants to accomplish if re-elected." Don't we know? It's taxing "millionaires and billionaires" so the government has more of our money to waste.
Is none of this Mr. Obama's fault? Can it all be blamed on George W. Bush? Apparently, the president has decided that playing the blame game is good campaign strategy.
The president blames Republicans for not allowing him to accomplish anything but says nothing about his own failure to get things done (other than the health care bill, whose constitutionality the Supreme Court ultimately will decide) when Democrats controlled Congress for the first two years of his administration. And what about Senate Democrats, who have rejected every House bill seeking cuts in wasteful spending to bring the budget closer into balance? Not a word.
Shall I continue? The president's housing programs received $50 billion from Congress to help stem foreclosures on 9 million homeowners. As The Washington Post reported in October, only $2.4 billion of that money has been allocated, helping just 1.7 million people avoid foreclosure.
Imagine what Democrats and their acolytes in the media would say if a Republican president had a similar track record. One doesn't have to imagine. With a lower unemployment rate and less debt in the Bush administration, Democrats were relentless in their attacks, promising improvements. Barack Obama assured us he would make things better.
Democrats didn't improve anything, and nothing has been made better. According to President Obama's own standard, and contrary to what he said on "60 Minutes," he does not deserve a second term.
That he thinks he has earned re-election brings to mind the World English Dictionary definition of "hubris": "Pride or arrogance; (in Greek tragedy) an excess of ambition ... ultimately causing the transgressor's ruin."
Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist. Email may be sent to email@example.com.