Obama’s presidency, as seen by the president on TV

President Barack Obama pauses for applause during his State of the Union address Jan. 29, 2014. Larry Downing/Reuters

President Barack Obama pauses for applause during his State of the Union address Jan. 29, 2014. Larry Downing/Reuters

Wow, thank goodness they have cable television at the White House. Otherwise the president would be completely in the dark about what’s happening in our country.

White House spokesman Jay Carney wants us to believe that Obama learned about his Veteran’s Affairs secret off-the-books waiting lists scandal the way the rest of us did — in the news.

Now, can you imagine the ridicule and vitriol that would have been poured on a President George Bush (take your pick of father or son) if he had made such a claim?

But Obama’s been busted: As the Washington Times proclaimed, “He knew!”

The shameful wait lists have been a known issue for years. In fact, candidate Obama said in 2007, “It’s not enough to lay a wreath on Memorial Day, or to make a speech on Veteran’s Day. When a veteran is denied health care, we are all dishonored. When 400,000 veterans are stuck on a waiting list for claims, we need a new sense of urgency in this country.”

And when President-elect Obama’s transition team got a post-election briefing from the VA at the end of 2008, the situation hadn’t changed.

(Imagine the hue and cry if undocumented immigrants had these sorts, or any sort, of waitlists for the free medical care we sometimes give them?)

Officials in the Obama administration postured furiously that they were outraged — absolutely outraged — over the disgraceful treatment of veterans (that the president had heard about on TV) and that heads would roll. These tough guys were so infuriated that they sent Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, who said he was “mad as hell” regarding the scandal, right over to the VA to fire the head scoundrel immediately.

The administration deceitfully claimed that the top VA honcho, Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel, was forced out. Except he wasn’t.

Petzel was already planning to retire this year, and his replacement had already been named (apparently the president missed that story on TV) even before Shinseki announced that someone would be held accountable for the lamentable situation.

Carney’s claim paints a disturbing picture. When he’s not jetting around to fundraisers, taking expensive vacations on the taxpayer dime or playing golf with lobbyists, Obama must do some serious channel surfing, as he claims to have learned about his administration’s multiple scandals and other dustups just like we have — from the news.

When the Fast and Furious scandal broke, Obama responded to the national outcry with CNN’s John King: “There have been problems, you know. I heard on the news about this story that – Fast and Furious, where allegedly guns were being run into Mexico, and ATF knew about it, but didn’t apprehend those who had sent [the guns].”

When the Obama administration approved an unannounced New York City flyover by Air Force One, with a fighter jet following closely, in order to capture a photograph of the iconic plane over the Statue of Liberty, New Yorkers understandably flew into a panic, fearing another terrorist attack.

It was a mistake, the president coolly said the day after the flight. “It was something we found out about along with all of you.”

When the Department of Justice was caught seizing two months’ worth of Associated Press journalists’ phone records, Carney claimed to an incensed press corps they found out “from news reports yesterday, on the road.”

And that was just one day after Obama himself claimed to be in the dark about the IRS reserving their special inquisitions for conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

The president demurred during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, “I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday. And this is pretty straightforward.”

“I’ve got no patience with it,” he uttered mere moments later. “I will not tolerate it. And we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.”

The president’s claim that he learns of one scandal after another from the news, his feigned outrage and disingenuous calls for change have become fodder for the late night talk shows.

“The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart quipped that “I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama learned Osama bin Laden had been killed when he saw himself announce it on television.”

Oddly enough, he knew about Trayvon Martin, Henry Gates  and the NCAA basketball brackets without having to watch TV.

Susan Dench

About Susan Dench

Susan Dench is the founder and president of the fast-growing non-profit, non-partisan Informed Women's Network. Recognizing that many women are tired of "politics as usual," Susan decided to take action and develop strategies that are innovating the way women and politics intersect, nurturing and encouraging women in fun, energetic gatherings where views can be expressed in a supportive environment and then translated into practical solutions that produce results.