With so many excuses, euphemisms, desperate justifications and outright denials flying around in print, online and over the airwaves in these fevered days of the Affordable Care Act debacle, it was inevitable that the Ethics Alarms rationalizations list would benefit. Sure enough, the Obama faithful and the Obamacare hopeful have alerted me to not one but two serviceable and popular rationalizations that I had missed.
Your refusal to be honest to the public and yourself is sad and wrong, guys, but at least you’re enriching the ethics resources on the blog.
The first of the new additions, #36, comes from a recent Obamacare column by Eugene Robinson. I was curious how Robinson, who would probably not abandon his support of the President if Mr. Obama was caught torturing kittens, would spin the current mess, and he didn’t disappoint. After somehow managing to describe relatively accurately what has transpired to date without either being critical of the President or explicitly exonerating him, Robinson wrote:
“Transforming the health-care system was never going to be easy.”
“Nobody said this would be easy” can be an appropriate morale booster when a difficult challenge is proving more challenging than expected, and when unexpected obstacles cause new and daunting problems. Following the carnage of a totally botched task, however, where there is no new problem, just the realization that those tackling it are incompetent beyond belief, and have failed in minimally meeting their duties of diligence, care, and process for a mission that they and everyone else knew was risky and hard, “Nobody said this would be easy” is just a cynical deflection of responsibility and accountability, and a dishonest one.
The issue isn’t how difficult solving the health care problem is. The issue is how lousy the plan was that was sold as a solution to this difficult problem, how it was falsely represented, and how it has been ineptly, carelessly, and unforgivably managed. Robinson’s ploy is changing the subject at its most blatant. A surgeon who is supposed to cut out a cancerous tumor but who amputates the patient’s healthy leg instead dare not comfort the patient by saying, “Now, we both knew that battling this cancer wouldn’t be easy.” Yes, but the patient certainly was justified in assuming that the doctor wouldn’t make the battle harder by being a careless nincompoop. Thus the new entry…
36. The Maladroit’s Diversion, or “Nobody said it would be easy!” Continue reading