Watching President Obama’s interview with Bill O’Reilly was quite a revelatory event. As I saw the president deliver his State of the Union address last week, I was struck by the swagger and arrogance with which this extremely unpopular, politically beleaguered president approached his agenda for the next year. He seemed to be living in an alternate universe: taking credit for huge jobs gains that haven’t really happened, trumpeting foreign policy victories in Syria and Iran that have actually been embarrassments, taking credit for an oil boom that has happened in spite of his policies, spiking the football on Obamacare when that program has struggled and failed at each and every milestone, as well as exposing some of the biggest lies of Obama’s presidency.
During his pre-SuperBowl interview with O’Reilly, the host focused most of his questions on the president’s many scandals: the many failures that still plague Obamacare, the IRS scandal, and the administration’s response to the 9/11/2012 attack in Benghazi.
O’Reilly began the interview by asking the president about the ‘botched’ roll-out of Obamacare. According to the president,
“I don’t think anybody anticipated the degree of problems that you had on healthcare.gov. The good news is that right away we decided how we were going to fix it. It got fixed, within a month and a half it was up an running, and now it’s working the way it’s supposed to and we’ve signed up 3 million people.”
O’Reilly, to his credit, didn’t let the president weasel his way out of the issue that easily, citing a recent Associated Press poll of people who went to Healthcare.gov, wherein a whopping eight percent said they feel that the site is working well. You see, the problem here is that they didn’t really fix they website. The biggest problem at the time was that people couldn’t even access the site, so they created a queue that would email people when traffic was down, so that they could get on…so the site still breaks, it just breaks in a more user-friendly way. The site’s ongoing security concerns have not been addressed – just a couple of weeks ago, a network security expert testified before Congress the site is completely insecure, and that people signing up at Healthcare.gov could be making their personal information available to hackers, or could potentially see their own computers facing cyber attacks.
The other issue, which O’Reilly addressed with President Obama in a slightly different context a bit later in the interview, was that 5-6 million people have lost their insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act…so even if they have signed up 3 million people, that’s still a net loss of 2-3 million. Hardly something to be proud of.
In some ways, President Obama’s talk about Obamacare was eerily similar to watching Nancy Pelosi’s recent appearance on The Daily Show. Pelosi was full of excuses – basically saying she didn’t know anything, and it wasn’t her responsibility, as she tried to weasel her way out of any blame for the disastrous legislation that she spent so much time and energy shilling for. The difference for President Obama was that he went into full denial-of-reality mode, painting a picture of Obamacare that just isn’t true. Yes, people are signing up, but even when people sign up they can’t rest assured that they have coverage. The sign-up process is so flawed that people who sign up don’t even know for sure whether they have health insurance. The program still isn’t funneling people’s information to insurance providers efficiently. The payment system still hasn’t been set up.
Put it all together, and Obamacare is one of the biggest failures in the history if big government…and this, according to our president, is “working the way it’s supposed to.”
One thing that I wish Bill O’Reilly had asked President Obama is to provide his definition of “accountability.” When O’Reilly asked the president why he hadn’t fired HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebilius over the issues with the Healthcare.gov roll-out, and why she had not been held accountable, President Obama replied, “I promise you that we hold everybody up & down the line accountable.” Thus far, the only entity to be fired over the Healthcare.gov roll-out has been the Canadian company that developed the first flawed iteration of the site. There has been zero true accountability on the public sector side for the flawed website, the lack of testing, the continued glitches and security concerns, or the fact that people who sign up can’t know for sure whether they’re covered. And to top it all off, for the tens of thousands of Americans who have filed appeals due to screw-ups on the federal website, the appeals system doesn’t work. Seriously, Mr. President? Is this what you mean when you say it’s “working the way it’s supposed to?”
But this is a president who doesn’t believe in accountability. After the Fast and Furious scandal broke, the whistle-blowers were punished, while the perpetrators were either promoted or moved laterally within the ATF. After repeatedly lying to America about the attack in Benghazi, Susan Rice was promoted. Looking for accountability in this administration is like looking for dry in the ocean…it just ain’t there.
The next topic was Benghazi – a scandal for which there have been hearings, but very few real answers. President Obama made a lame attempt to re-write history, once again downplaying his administration’s attempt to shift focus away from its own negligence and onto a YouTube video. While the president would now have us believe that he understood that it was an attack by Al-Qaeda the entire time, he cannot just explain away the words that he and then-Secretary of State Clinton used to denigrate America’s First Amendment, as they attacked a video with no apparent link to the attack. To this day, the only person connected with the Benghazi attack to have been prosecuted is the creator of that video.
O’Reilly then moved on to the IRS scandal, which like Benghazi, has been investigated extensively, with few answers found. It has been extremely difficult for Congress to get answers from the Obama administration, yet according to President Obama, the reason the questions surrounding the IRS scandal keep popping up is “because you and your TV station will promote them.” So because Congress had hearings, the issue is closed, right? That’s basically what President Obama said. The longevity of the scandal is just a fluke, because FOX News won’t let it go. The whole thing was the result of “some boneheaded decisions,” but there’s “not even a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS. Must be winter storms in Hades today.
In the end, all this interview accomplished was to give President Obama a huge platform from which he could perpetuate even more lies. The interview likely didn’t go the way the president wanted it to – he would rather focus on his continued demonization of Congress as a rationale to legislate via executive fiat…but since it’s FOX News, he can just point the finger at that bogeyman as the reason why he had to give fake answers to real questions on what he seems to truly believe are fake scandals.