Last month President Obama said in a speech, “I’m proud of the fact that under my administration oil production is higher than it has been in a decade or more.” Last year in the second presidential debate, Obama made the same claim, and when Mitt Romney pointed out the facts that debunked it, Obama sniffed, “What you’re saying is just not true. It’s not true.” As the Wall Street Journal reports, the Congressional Research Service now confirms that Obama cleverly lied both times. But the real question is, do any of those Obama voters care? And if not, why not?
They can’t say Obama didn’t lie. The facts on oil production show that Obama shamelessly tried to take credit for the 1.1 million barrels per day increase since 2007 that happened in spite of, not because of, his policies. According to the CRS, “All of the increased [oil] production from 2007 to 2012 took place on non-federal lands.” On federal land, production fell more than 23% between 2010 and 2012. The federal share of oil production fell from 31% in fiscal 2008 to 26% in fiscal 2012. Similarly, the feds’ share of natural gas production went from 27.8% in 2007 to 15.5% today. Nor is it any mystery why federal oil production has fallen. Obama’s drilling moratorium after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, and his snail’s-pace process for awarding permits on federal land––process time increased 41% from 2006 to 2011––has held back oil production to gratify the sensibilities of deep-pocketed environmental romantics like the Sierra Club.
As Bob Dole wondered during the 1996 presidential race, “Where’s the outrage?” Where are all those fearless investigative reporters, the self-styled watchdogs of the public weal, who claim to hold politicians accountable when they lie and mislead on the scale this president has? But taking credit for increased oil production is small beer compared to the still festering scandal surrounding the administration’s response to the murder of 4 Americans, including an ambassador, in Benghazi last summer. The legacy media have shown little interest in ferreting out why the President, his ambassador to the U.N., his Secretary of State, and various flunkeys and flacks made multiple public claims that the murders resulted from a spontaneous demonstration sparked by an obscure Internet video.
Indeed, this patent attempt to spin bad news should have been chum to those reporters constantly circling politicians and sniffing out scandal. Nor did you need Sherlock Holmes to figure out the motive. Obama has staked his foreign policy bona fides on the claim that “al Qaeda’s on its heels” and “al Qaeda is on the run,” that the death of Bin Laden and continuing droning of al Qaeda operatives had contained that terrorist threat, and that the foreign policy of “leading from behind” in Libya and promoting Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt would serve America’s interests and security without the interventionist excesses of the Bush administration and its wrong-headed wars. Confronting the truth about Benghazi would have exposed Obama’s foreign policy blunders and the truth he wanted to hide: al Qaeda is active and growing, and overthrowing Gaddafi released tons of advanced weapons into the hands of terrorists while leaving behind a failed state.
The same media that turned a shabby campaign scandal like Watergate, a type of hardball politics unexceptional in American history, into an existential threat to our freedom and democracy, has been AWOL on Benghazi. Where’s Bob Woodward now? He’s too busy recycling anonymous gossip and squabbling with White House factotums who find his tone objectionable. Meanwhile the death of our ambassador, the dangerous failures of the president’s foreign policy, and the patent lies told to cover-up these failures are all ignored.
So much for the media, whose partisanship is so persistent and obvious that it has become a dog-bites-man story. So we know why they are ignoring the scandals and lies and other sins of the Obama administration that, under a Republican, they would have burned through the whole Brazilian rainforest to report. As Jennifer Rubin wrote in January, “The media, in failing to doggedly seek answers, share in this shameful episode and have contributed to the complete absence of transparency and accountability. Nothing but blatant bias can explain that.” But where is the outrage of the American voter? Why didn’t some of the 5 million voters who put Obama over the top last November feel outraged enough by the Benghazi debacle and cover-up to question their support?
This is the key question for those plotting a Republican comeback. Are there too many “uninformed voters” who are ignorant of the facts damning the Obama administration? Then how do we inform them? Given how easily information is available to those who want it in an age of 24/7 cable news and the Internet, it’s hard to imagine what new messaging technique or device will get people to pay attention who clearly don’t want to. Scarier still is the prospect that people know and don’t care. They see the administration peddle half-truths and lies to cover-up a deadly attack on our fellow citizens caused by the president’s incompetence, and simply don’t care. The death of Christopher Stevens to them is not an affront on the dignity and honor of the United States, one to be punished. It is just another statistic, like a highway death, one of those sad things that are the cost of doing business. Poking around in the cause of it is unseemly, as Hillary Clinton said when she yelled at the Senate hearing, “Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
That last question, by the way, itself should have generated a firestorm of outrage and demands for her resignation. Whether the Secretary of State doesn’t indeed know “what difference” it makes, or does know and was trying to evade inconvenient truths by resorting to sentimental bluster, she should have been fired. On the contrary, the lapdog press lauded her “fiery moment,” as ABC put it, and her approval numbers reached 61% after her outburst before the Senate, making her the most popular politician in the country.
Clearly, something is missing in a critical mass of American voters when assaults on our interests and security abroad arouse no righteous anger either at the perpetrators or the politicians who caused the attacks and then tried to misdirect the citizens about the real causes for partisan electoral advantage. Something is missing when voters shrug away patent lies about oil production, and ignore policies that are hampering an industry that can create jobs and radically change our foreign policy calculus by liberating our energy needs from thug regimes who use our dollars to attack our interests. So what’s missing?