Former President Obama has no shame, but don’t count on the mainstream media to tell you this. They are in on the deception. His talk at the University of Illinois on Friday contained all of the divisive rhetoric that he and the mainstream press accuse President Trump of engaging in.
The issue isn’t Mr. Obama breaking with the tradition of former presidents and becoming so political criticizing his predecessor. The problem is his lies and the lies of the media.
Possibly Mr. Obama claims that he doesn’t agree with the strategy: “we have to fight fire with fire. We have to do the same things to the Republicans that they do to us, adopt their tactics. Say whatever works, make up stuff about the other side.” But might it be that lying about the Republicans is Mr. Obama’s tactic?
Take Mr. Obama’s most vicious lie: “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad?”
Mr. Obama was referring to Mr. Trump’s “there is blame on both sides” comment after the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. They leave out that Mr. Trump made it very clear that his comment did not pertain to “neo-Nazis and the white nationalists.” Before making the both sides comment, Mr. Trump forcefully said: “And you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”
But where were the fact-checkers?
Ironically, Mr. Obama attacked Mr. Trump in his speech for dividing Americans at the same time Mr. Obama is claiming that Mr. Trump can’t criticize Nazi sympathizers. Has Mr. Trump called Democrats anything similar? In Mr. Obama’s Nelson Mandela Lecture in July, Mr. Obama at least implicitly went after Mr. Trump with talk of “rabid nationalism and xenophobia and doctrines of tribal, racial, or religious superiority” and “right-wing billionaires.”
Then there are Mr. Obama’s usual attacks of Republican policies, which he thinks are all about “cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans.” But even the liberal Tax Policy Center pointed out, “The top 1 percent and 0.1 percent of taxpayers will see their share of income taxes rise in 2018.” The mainstream media won’t even critically examine that or other Mr. Obama’s oft-repeated claims, which always carry the implication that Republicans don’t care enough about the poor or minorities.
On the economy, Mr. Obama took credit for the current growth: “so when you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started. I mean, I’m glad it’s continued, but when you hear about this economic miracle that’s been going on …”
People forget that stocks were completely flat for two years, from the end of December 2014 right up until the presidential election in 2016. Right after the election, the stock market around the world and especially in the United States started soaring. At the close of business on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,916, up 42 percent from the day before the 2016 election.
Long gone is the pessimistic outlook of the Obama administration. In 2013, four years after the recession had ended, Mr. Obama’s Department of Labor explained: the recession “left lasting scars on the economy … [it meant slower growth was] the new normal” for the American economy. In April 2014, Larry Summers, who had served as Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, warned that economic growth was going to be slow “for a substantial period of time going forward.” In August 2016, seven years after the recession ended, The New York Times predicted: “The underlying reality of low growth will haunt whoever wins the White House.” The Times explained, “Something fundamental is broken in the global growth machine.”
Yet, after other recessions the fastest growth has consistently taken place right after the recession ends.
In August 2016, with the unemployment rate at 4.9 percent, many such as Paul Krugman were warning that the unemployment rate was already “near full employment” and that further reductions would be difficult to obtain. However, the current unemployment is better than 20 percent lower, near historic lows.
It is surreal for Mr. Obama to attack Mr. Trump for wanting to “use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents” when Mr. Obama’s IRS systematically damaged his political opponents, and his FBI and Department of Justice spied on Mr. Trump’s political campaign.
For years now the press has made false claims about Mr. Trump in the most vicious terms. But have Mr. Obama make the absurdly false claim that Mr. Trump is a Nazi sympathizer and you will wait in vain for any castigation by the press.
• John R. Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “The War on Guns.”
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