The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

What didn’t Obama know and for how long?

The list is growing every week: The IRS scandal, the deteriorating security situation in Libya, spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, spying on journalists and the Obamacare mess. Those are just a few of the things we have been told at one time or another that President Obama he didn’t know about before learning about them in the media. Note to media: You have a critical job in briefing the president, so err on side of over-inclusion.

Then there are the things he had wrong or knew better but said anyway: There is a fatwa in Iran against nuclear weapons, “You will get to keep your health-care plan,” the Benghazi attack was related to an anti- Muslim video, and no predecessor had been compelled to negotiate a budget deal in the context of a potential government shutdown.

This prompts several questions: Who is running the government? Why is the president content not to know so many things? At this point one has to conclude he is intentionally ignorant. If he really wanted to be in the loop, people who didn’t inform him would be fired and the pace of “I didn’t know” excuses would slow. Instead it’s ticked up. Perhaps he refuses to hear bad news. Maybe his second-term team is hopelessly incompetent. Whatever the reason, Obama’s ignorance is no longer (if it ever had been) a valid excuse. His continual cluelessness is an indictment now of his administration’s collapse.

But it also got me wondering. There may be a whole list of things of which the president is unaware or confused that accounts for his erratic performance. Perhaps he does not know that. . .

His is the weakest economic “recovery” since the Great Depression.
The top 10 percent of taxpayers account for 70 percent of the income tax paid.
The Iranian breakout time for a nuclear weapons capability is now as short as a month and new sites are still being announced.
He did not “end” wars in the Middle East. Sectarian violence is mounting in both Iraq and Libya.
Millions of people may eventually be dropped by their current health-care insurance plan, dwarfing the number who have signed up for Obamacare.
Our allies in the Middle East — virtually all of them — are shaken by U.S. timidity.

The list goes on. You would think the president at some point would be embarrassed to be the least-informed man in Washington, D.C.