The Star-Ledger, the largest newspaper in New Jersey, endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election last October. A little more than a year later, the paper's editorial board has drawn parallels with Obama and Richard Nixon.
Specifically, the newspaper cited his widely disputed statements on Obamacare, the National Security Agency's spying on foreign allies, and on dealing with Syria's chemical weapons, and asked, “What’s the public to believe?”
In the editorial, which carried the headline, “Obama's Growing Credibility Gap,” the board wrote: “It’s more than not just an old wives’ tale that a politician is only as good as his word. It’s mostly true.”
"(A politician) can lose an election — even more than one, as Richard Nixon proved — and still win the voters favor,” the editorial said of the president who left office in disgrace after the the Watergate scandal. “But he’s in real trouble if the paying public stops believing what he says, as Nixon also discovered. That’s why President Obama’s real problem is not so much the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, but the growing sense he doesn’t tell the whole truth, or doesn’t know it. Either can be fatal for leader.”
The editorial referred to Obama's tortured explanation for having “sworn on a stack of speeches that everyone who’s happy with his or her current health insurance can keep it under Obamacare.”
The Star-Ledger did not directly accuse Obama of lying, but assumed he either didn't know or decided to “fudge” the truth.
“The president got it wrong. But why is unclear. Was he misinformed?” the Star-Ledger asked. “Did he just misunderstand? Did he not take enough time to comprehend a complex law that would affect almost every American, as incomprehensible as that seems? Or did he just deliberately fudge it?”
While accusing European allies of hypocrisy for their public outrage over the NSA eavesdropping, the president's reaction is also puzzling for the paper's editorial board.
“What’s troubling here is the suggestion Obama didn’t know we were eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” the paper said. “Actually, it’s not clear what’s true — wasn’t he told, or is he dissembling? Either way, he risks suffering a loss of public confidence.”
On another foreign policy issue, the paper criticized the president's lack of following through with the Assad regime in Syria, a matter White House press secretary Jay Carney said was a key second term success.
“How about the 'red line' in Syria, Obama’s declaration that any use of poison gas by the Assad regime would bring a U.S. military response?” the paper said. “In the absence of such a response, Obama has labored to parse that commitment to make it seem less ironclad.”
Featured image via Getty