- The Washington Times - Monday, January 11, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Maybe, for President Obama, the Internet is a two-edged sword, for it helped him raise money and solidify supporters during the campaign, but is right now revealing him as a political deceiver who preaches idealism and practices a kind of fraud.

It’s an amazing instrument, this Internet, and is still unfolding awesome powers of communication, such as offering up videos showing such inspiring moments as Mr. Obama’s promises as a presidential candidate. Why, there he is in one of them saying on no fewer than eight occasions that any negotiations on health care legislation in his administration would be nationally televised on C-Span.

That’s the heart of this guy, isn’t it? He wants democracy in something more than name only. He wants to let everyone see everything that’s going on so corruption won’t raise its ugly head. But wait, because there is another video the public can watch on the Internet, and look, it’s Robert Gibbs, Obama’s press secretary, and he is evading questions about the secrecy of negotiations on health care legislation, and even being contemptuous about it, practically nasty.

This video coverage is of two press conferences. In one, a reporter has told Mr. Gibbs that Brian Lamb of C-Span has written a letter saying he would be happy to train cameras on the politicians coming to terms on differing House and Senate versions of passed health bills. The reporter asks whether the same president who wished for such an outcome would go along with it. The pathetic answer is that Mr. Gibbs has not read the letter, and when asked more directly whether the president is going to renege on what he had said in the campaign, he repeats that he has not read the letter. In answer to a follow-up question on transparency the next day, Mr. Gibbs says he covered that issue the previous day.

Mr. Gibbs, it seems, thinks people can be easily fooled with “haven’t seen the letter” sleight of hand and other tricks of his trade, and the question is whether he is right. Have the citizens of this nation caught on yet that the candidate they saw in the campaign is not the president they got after the election? And on this particular issue, are they aware of how just how cruel a joke the Democratic health plan has become and just how desperately the president and his leftist cohorts want to foist this measure on us, even to the extent of buying Senate votes?

It’s legal, of course, but nonetheless sleazy to make a special deal with Sen. Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat, to give his state an extra $100 million in Medicaid support to gain his support of the Senate measure, and that’s hardly the end of it. Republicans insist there have been still other deals to help finally enact a break-the-bank health care law that will raise premiums, erase liberties, punish the prosperous, lessen profits, inhibit job creation, crack down on the elderly for living too long and improve medical treatment not one whit.

The few positives in the House and Senate bills could have been achieved by prudent, inexpensive steps, such as gradually shifting federal subsidies for employer-provided insurance to individuals, but those would deny Washington’s philosopher kings the control they want, and so it’s no wonder they have embraced the technique of subterfuge over openness.

Oh, but hold on, there’s an excuse coming up, namely that a Republican Congress during the Bush years played similar secrecy games, and yes, it’s true, and what are we therefore to conclude - that candidate Obama swore to us that if elected he would be just like his predecessor?

My own conviction is that two wrongs don’t make a right. I suspect Mr. Obama knows the same, and here’s what I hope - that his exposure on the Internet as a say-anything, do-the-opposite, slick con-man of a president will cause him to mend his ways.

Jay Ambrose is the former Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard News Service.

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