Bill O’Reilly interviews President Obama before the big game between the Broncos and the Seahawks. In one of those memorable snippets – we seem to hear a lot of them from this administration – the president declared that IRS targeting of conservative groups before the 2012 election showed “not even a smidgen of corruption.” He said that IRS officials were confused about the proper application of the law.

Bless you, Mr. President. The only excuse you have for turning the IRS into a political operation is that the IRS is incompetent, that it is confused about how to apply a law on the books for decades. That must make your employees in the IRS feel great. What a great leader they have, a man who sets a tone for administrative agencies to behave politically, then hangs his employees out to dry when things don’t go well.

The fact is, not even Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton lied as brazenly as this president does. When Nixon or Clinton lied, you knew they were trying to wiggle out of something, and you knew they knew. George W. Bush’s dishonesty ran so deep, you could hardly distinguish it from a type of facile madness. It didn’t feel like lying. Barack Obama seems to believe what he says. He’s so detached from himself, and from the people he leads, that he doesn’t grasp what’s real anymore. The detachment that made him cool and confident in every situation has also made him unable to recognize his own deceit.

An idiot is someone who can’t get outside of himself to engage with what’s real. Heaven knows, and everyone else knows, that the president lives in a bubble. Therefore, you have to take measures to counteract the effects of that kind of life. If you don’t, you wind up saying the kinds of things that Obama says. Almost everything he says now sounds artificially spun. Compare what he says now with the language he employed so effectively in his campaign speeches in 2008. You will recognize a huge difference between candidate Obama and President Obama.

This transformation in the way President Obama speaks and thinks carries heavy consequences. Barack Obama has lost his ability to lead. Large numbers of people don’t believe anything he says anymore. His recent record of dishonesty, which began with the 2012 presidential campaign, has drained his statements of credibility. Loyalists try to find some way to defend or explain his mendacity, because after all, he’s the president. They cannot mount a defense or any other kind of protection for him.

People are skeptical about what presidents say to begin with. Obama’s predilection to spin his way out of every problem he encounters robs all of his words of weight. His words are lightweight: they float around in an atmosphere of unbelievability. Obama is not responsible for this atmosphere, of course. It existed well before he moved his family to Washington. He has not, however, done anything to counteract the political class’s loose relationship with the truth.

Leaders lose their listeners that way. For Obama, whose mind inhabits Obamaworld, nothing he does is other than perfect. Someone else is always to blame. I used to say that George W. Bush was callow, and I wondered a bit how a callow person could get into the White House, let alone function there for eight years. In his way, Obama presents a worse case. He is an intelligent man who is full of himself. He does not know how to reach agreements, or build trust with people he regards as lesser intellects. Even Democrats in Congress distrust him. We need better leaders.