Barack Obama

Obama Is a Good BS'er, But He's a Terrible Liar

What's clear is that Obama isn't shy about pulling in religion when it suits his political needs.


It's pretty simple. If you lie, lie about the right things.

It's not difficult to imagine a pro-choice candidate winning the presidency. But imagine, if you can, a president whose position on abortion "evolves" after the election. Imagine this president advocating that all innocent human life is worth protecting. Imagine that she appoints judges to solidify her new pro-life attitude. And then imagine that the president's top adviser informs us that the president was a pro-lifer all along. I imagine that would be a pretty big story.

Politicians break their promises and modify their positions all the time, of course. They BS us about their opinions and carefully craft identities that are palatable to the average voter. When a person enters this political universe, we need to accept that most of the things we hear are, at best, poetic truths.

In Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, David Axelrod claims that he knew Obama supported gay marriage back when he first ran for president in 2008. "I'm just not very good at (BS'ing)," a far-too-modest Barack Obama supposedly told his adviser after a campaign stop. "There's no doubt that his sympathies were on the side of allowing gay couples to marry," Axelrod says. "He also recognized that the country wasn't there yet—that we needed to bring the country along."

According to unreliable sources across the interwebs, BS means nonsense or a rebuke of something misleading, disingenuous, or false. The primary Urban Dictionary definition of BS'ing is: "When someone has no f—ing clue what they are talking about, Yet insists on trying to get others to believe him/her." So contra the president's self-criticism, he excels at it.

Lying, on the other hand, not so much. Obama is given a free pass, as the media use every euphemism in existence to avoid using the word lie. A lie that Obama covered up using his faith. A lie that reflects the corruption of politics in general and this president in particular. It's the sort of lying that one imagines all good government types would be concerned about.

The candidate didn't merely contribute to public misinformation; he claimed that God had cemented his views on the issue. "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman," said Obama when defending traditional marriage in 2008. "Now, for me, as a Christian … it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix."

Obama pulled a variation of Mario Cuomo's famous cop-out on social issues. The former New York governor argued that he, as a Catholic, might believe abortion was tantamount to killing but that he, as a politician, would not seek "to force" his beliefs regarding murder on others in the same way he might force people to do more important stuff, such as recycle. Cuomo was able to embrace liberal orthodoxy while preserving a bond with his faith. Or so he thought.

Obama, on the other hand, claimed that his faith was so strong he couldn't give in to progressive orthodoxy. Whether Jesus and/or public polling informed Obama's decision, for me, at least, his awkward stance on same-sex marriage always sounded more like an apology—something akin to: "Listen. Voters believe all this stuff, so I'm sort of required to take this callous, antiquated positon on 'marriage' that, as we all know, I don't really believe." Axelrod's story, then, is completely plausible.

The first clue was his use of Christianity itself. Of all the people I've debated in public or private about gay marriage—and there have been many—I can't recall a single instance when the defense was predicated on "as a Christian." As an atheist, I find that proponents of traditional marriage are far likelier to argue about social goods and societal benefits than they are to offer declarations of moral certitude meant to shut down a conversation. I can't say the same for the other side.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Obama retroactively corrected himself. "I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue," he said. "I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there."

No one with access thought it worthwhile to dig any further back then? Why doesn't someone ask Obama what's changed about his Christianity that brought about this evolution? Squaring your opinion with "a whole bunch of religious sensitivities" is not the same as contending that you're opposed to gay marriage "as a Christian" who believes that traditional marriage is "a sacred union." It makes no sense.

What's clear is that Obama isn't shy about pulling in religion when it suits his political needs. Christianity is a means of bolstering progressive ideals. For years, I've been hearing how twisting faith for political purposes corrodes American democracy. It was a selective concern. And if David Axelrod is telling the truth—and it seems to me that the purpose of this story is to let us know that the president was always enlightened—what we learn is that the president is a pretty big BS'er but not a very good liar. Not that anyone seems to be too concerned.

NEXT: Barack Obama's Selfie Stick is Really Kind of Sad

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Obama lied…yawn.

    1. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $12600 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.

  2. Axelrod’s story is still sugarcoating the reality. Obama said he had to ‘lead’ the country along? When was that going to happen, exactly? Because the only reason the Dem party actually came out in support of gay marriage is the polling data started to shift and Joe Biden spoke out.

    Progressives and leftists argue you should vote Democrat because of these sorts of issues. They try to portray the Dems as the good guys in this, marijuana legalization and other such causes deemed ‘good’ by the left. And too many people buy it. The most the Dems did for gay marriage was not push as hard for banning it as Republicans did. At least since 2000. Dem politicians get a pass even though many of them actively supported legislation and policy (particularly in the 90’s) that would define marriage as between a man and a woman at the federal level.

    The Democratic party and legislatures have had little to do with the change taking place here. It’s been judges and the courts.

    1. Evidence: The Defense Of Marriage Act. Enacted by large bipartisan majorities in both houses (85-14-1 in the Senate) and signed into law by Bill Clinton.

      The is the only specifically anti-gay legislation of our lifetimes. Passed and signed into law by Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

      Introduced in the House by 2008 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee Bob Barr. No, really. Sheesh.

  3. I’m not sure who’s lying, here. Obama could have been, sure.

    Or maybe Obama was basically telling the truth at the time, and Axelrod is lying now to make it look like Obama was always enlightened and ahead of his time. Its no accident that Axelrod’s story is intended to make Obama look good, after all.

    1. I don’t actually get why Axelrod came out with this besides being candid because it really doesn’t make Obama look good. I haven’t even seen progressives argue that one. They’ve just tried to make excuses that amount to all politicians do it, so it’s ok.

      1. If you are on the inside, it shows that he was always pure in his heart. But he was such a wise politician that he knew that he had to be against it before he was for it so that the nation could be brought along properly. It takes great courage to appear to pander to the worst instincts of people in order to expose and change those instincts.

        It is important that the historical documents all show that we have always been at war with Eurasia.

  4. Of all of his lies, this one is pretty damn far down the list to care about.

  5. Brian Williams for President!

  6. On the contrary, the religion angle is crucial, because that’s what opposition to gay marriage (and gay people) has always been about. Obama’s bigger lie is probably that he is a practicing Christian at all. But you can’t get elected president without being that (it’s assumed), and hence, in 2008, the assumption would be that you can’t get elected while being too in front of the gay marriage issue.

    1. So definitely not a “Profiles in Courage” contender.

    2. I’m opposed to the state sanctioning any marriage because it is nothing more than a contract that consenting adults decide to engage in. Who those adults are matters very little to me.

      There is no state interest in propagating marriage. State interest isn’t a valid legal argument for or against anything. It’s a FYTW argument. The kind you typically love, Tony. But being on the wrong end of that arrangement sort of sucks, don’t it?

      1. I am personally anti-marriage, but equal protection of the law is required by the constitution, and I think it’s a good idea besides.

        1. so….. Splunge?

          1. Not at all, but sure.

    3. OH fuck you. I oppose gay marriage for the same reasons I oppose heterosexual marriage. Fuck off and die.

  7. Way back in the beginning of the GW Bush presidency, George’s position was that all freedoms and rights that exist for one person must exist for others, or it is a privilege not a right. He said he thought gay unions should be legally identical to straight unions. He further said that he personally preferred the word marriage to be used for straight marriages, but it wasn’t a huge deal for him, and in any event it was not a Federal issue. He said the States should decide.

    Cheney was more up front and more liberal on the issue. He was up front a proponent for gay marriage. His daughter had come out as a lesbian, and it might have been because of that. But, he was way ahead of the curve
    on this issue.

    Both of these two positions were well ahead of the electorate as these stances were taken 14 years ago when the average person was adamantly opposed to gay marriage. There was some political fallout, but not much. And, this was a long time ago, before the sea change of support that happened recently.

    1. One of my points is, by the way, Obama is a coward. GWB and Cheney took these positions when it wasn’t popular and were very open about it.

      Another of my points is, and I didn’t state this, is Obama has no position on gay marriage. It is what the crowd in front of him wants to hear. He could care less about gays. Or, anyone other than himself. To have an opinion, especially a strong one, on a controversial subject about which you have no feeling toward whatsoever is impossible.

  8. For a guy who practices as much as he does, you’d think he’d be better at lying.

  9. I really hate Barak Obama. Please go die somewhere soon.

  10. Why can’t politicians tell the truth, which is, “My personal conviction is irrelevant. My job is to represent the majority of you. If more of you want it this way than that way, that’s what I’m supposed to do, and that’s what I will do.”? Why do they want to make you believe they agree with you, rather than that the customer is always right?

    1. “My personal conviction is irrelevant. My job is to represent the majority of you within the limits of the Constitution. If more of you want it this way than that way and the Constitution allows me to do it the way you want, that’s what I’m supposed to do, and that’s what I will do.If the Constitution doesn’t allow me to do it the way you want, it ain’t gonna happen.

  11. Allow me to let you in on a little something — THEY’RE ALL LIARS.

    The only way to remedy the situation is to enact TERM LIMITS! That’s never going to happen so I hope y’all enjoy living under socialism/communism, comrades.

    1. term limits havent exactly done wonders for keeping the president honest. I like term limits in general i just dont see how they are germane to this topic

  12. Caden. I just agree… Patrick`s st0rry is astonishing, last tuesday I got a top of the range Land Rover Defender sincee geting a check for $6814 this last 4 weeks and in excess of 10k last month. it’s certainly the coolest job Ive had. I actually started……………


  13. Dude I neve rthought about it liek that.

  14. ** Happy Valentines day all of you **
    My dear, the next five minutes can change your life!
    Give a chance to your good luck.
    Read this article, please!
    Move to a better life!
    We make profit on the Internet since 1998,
    If you are interested,
    Visit this web-site…….
    ?????? http://www.Workvalt.Com

  15. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $12600 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.

  16. Your buckyballs has infinite solutions that you can create. A sense of achievement comes with inventing anything of artistry and fascination . With buckyballs you can mold infinite arrangements of shapes that you will love to flaunt, and create plenty of patterns that are unique, and have never even been seen before!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.