When it comes to veterans of the Bush/Cheney team who complain about President Obama, former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card has always been one of the more unusual grumblers. The problem seems to be Card’s exceedingly short memory.
Within three weeks of Obama’s first inauguration, for example, Card went on television to complain that Obama had appeared in the Oval Office without a suit jacket, which Card insisted was proof of the president’s insufficient “respect” for the office of the presidency. What he neglected to mention were all the photos of Reagan and Bush doing the same thing.
After Obama ordered the strike that killed Osama bin Laden, Card began whining again, complaining that the president “pounded his chest a little too much.” Perhaps Card forgot about the time his former boss put on a flight suit, landed on an aircraft carrier, and strutted his stuff under a “Mission: Accomplished” banner – before the mission was, you know, accomplished.
This morning, Andy Card appeared on MSNBC and decided he wanted to talk about honesty.
The man who served as chief of staff under former President George W. Bush and helped sell the Iraq War to the American people said Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s entire team is guilty of misleading the public.Andy Card said that the current administration allowed Obama “to mislead the American people for so long” when he promoted the Affordable Care Act.
The former White House chief of staff added, with a straight face, “President Obama has lost the confidence of telling the truth to the American people.” He didn’t appear to be kidding.
People can certainly draw their own conclusions about the president’s track record of honesty; I think it’s pretty easy to defend. For that matter, this notion that “if you like your insurance you can keep it” is somehow a devastating lie strikes me as pretty silly. At worst, it was an oversimplification of a complex issue, which does not a scandal make. (Besides, why would anyone like a terrible coverage plan that offers them no real security?)
But I’d be eager to hear more from Card about presidents whose dishonesty leads to a loss of public confidence. He did, after all, work for the guy who told the world that Saddam Hussein not only had weapons of mass destruction, but had “recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
Bush said ridiculously untrue things with alarming regularity. David Corn wrote a 320-page book on “The Lies of George W. Bush,” and didn’t even include the entirety of Bush’s first term. When my MSNBC colleague Tim Noah tackled Bush’s dishonesty in 2003, Noah had to break up his piece into three installments.
Does Card not remember this, or does he hope we don’t remember this?