President Obama, addressing a fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay/lesbian advocacy organization:
We don’t believe in a small America. We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the President of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed. We don’t believe in that. We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens. We don’t believe in them being silent since. You want to be Commander-in-Chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient.
He is referring to an incident at a recent Republican debate where the audience booed a gay soldier who asked a question about homosexuals in the military. Except it never happened, not as it has been reported. “The audience” did not boo; two members of the audience booed. (For all we know, they were provocateurs.)
Obama apologists will reply that Obama never committed himself to the number of boo-ers, so he wasn’t lying. I’ll grant you, it’s a clever use of the passive voice: he’s alluding to the lie without actually repeating it himself. That makes the statement technically accurate, but it doesn’t make it honest.
But let’s suppose Obama really meant it literally. Let’s suppose he really meant that one has a duty to stand for the military, no matter how marginal the attackers, “even when it’s not politically convenient.” Then he must have spoken up forcefully for General Petraeus when MoveOn.org came out with this:
But, of course, he didn’t. In fact, when the Senate passed a resolution 72-25 condemning the ad, Barack Obama declined to vote, despite having been on the Senate floor just minutes earlier. He was running for the Democratic nomination for President, and it wasn’t “politically convenient.” (One other senator didn’t vote: Joe Biden.)
He also sat quietly for years as Jeremiah Wright thundered his bigotry from the pulpit of his church in Chicago. For example, he remained silent when Wright gave this rant, blaming 9/11 on the actions of our bloodthirsty military. Obama, then an Illinois state senator, had ambitions for national office and he needed the support of people like the members of that church. It wasn’t “politically convenient” to speak out.