The last couple of days have added more embarrassing examples of desperate supporters of the Democrats, President Obama and/or the Affordable Care Act thoroughly disgracing themselves by adopting rationalizations, distortions, denial, tortured reasoning and worse to avoid holding President Obama accountable for intentionally misleading the American people for more than three years regarding whether they could keep their healths plan if they liked them, “period.”
Two aspects of this disgusting spectacle are remarkable. One is that there is such a wide and creative variation among the integrity-defying tactics taken by this distinguished assortment of pols, elected officials, hacks, flacks, pundits and journalists. The other is that after this is all over, nearly half the American public will still loyally insist on trusting the promises and pronouncements of this very same group, though they proved themselves, in this episode, untrustworthy beyond a reasonable doubt. The first of these developments is surprising. The second extinguishes all hope.
Now the latest additions to the list of shame:
- David Axelrod, Obama political advisor. Today on “Meet the Press, ” Axelrod chose as his truthbuster the rationalization that since the President wasn’t lying to all of the Americans he was addressing, he wasn’t lying at all. When host David Gregory asked if it wouldn’t have been more acceptable if the President had said that some Americans would have their “sub-standard” health care plans replaced by enhanced plans required by the new law, and that those might cost more, Axelrod, incredibly, answered, “Hindsight is 20-20.” Amazing: Gregory asked if, since they knew at the time that everyone wouldn’t be able to keep their plan, it was wrong to say so, and Axelrod’s answer was an admission of the pure “ends justify the means” motive behind Obama’s lie. He said, in essence, “If we knew then that the lie would backfire now, then we would have done it differently.” The President intentionally and explicitly directed his statement at all Americans—“you.” Since he knew it wouldn’t be true for all Americans, the easy, honest and responsible way to phrase it was “For most of you, if you like your plan…” He did not because he wanted to deceive those who would lose the plans they liked.
Axelrod, not surprisingly for a political hit man, doesn’t comprehend the concept of truth. If a commander tells his troops before battle, “you have nothing to fear: If you follow my orders, you will come back from this battle alive—you have my word on it,” knowing that there will be significant deaths among the soldiers, he cannot claim that he was telling the truth because his promise was accurate for some of his men. Should we trust leaders advised by people like Axelrod, who have such a false concept of honesty? Is it reasonable to trust leaders who appoint advisors like Axelrod?
- Bill Maher, HBO’s tedious conservative-bashing comic. You know that the progressives are humiliating themselves when Bill Maher’s spin is one of the least objectionable attempts to excuse Obama’s lie, and it’s still not respectable. Here’s Maher:
“Come on. Let’s be honest. Obamacare says basically if you have a really crappy plan, you can’t keep it. That’s the truth. Now I would say to some people, “Why do you want a crappy plan?” But some people want crap. What can I say? And because of Obamacare they are not able to keep it. To me, that is a lie.”
No, that IS a lie, and not just to Bill. See Bill, it’s dangerous to talk like this, because someone is bound to answer that you have your truth and Obama has his. But Maher also thinks that lying is justified “for something that’s good” (that is, for something the liar thinks is good, and happens to agree with Maher):
“I think it’s more like George Bush the father’s “Read my lips, no new taxes.” A campaign pledge which did not hold up to the realities of governing. And that’s a moral complexity I’m okay with ’cause I’m not twelve.”
Poor Bill thinks he’s smart, as he has said many times—Cornell grad and all. But he’s an intellectually lazy dolt. Bush Sr.’s pledge was a promise, not a lie. It was an irresponsible promise, to be sure, but one he had every intention of keeping at the time he made it. When conditions changed, and he knew that it would be irresponsible to hold to a promise that no longer made sense, Bush broke it, as any good leader would. Obama’s statement was not made in good faith: he knew that he couldn’t keep that pledge when he made it. Maher’s sneering cynicism notwithstanding, deceiving the public to get laws passed under false pretenses is not “a moral complexity.” It is a betrayal of democracy.
- Democratic Party Chair Debby Wasserman Schultz was the guest that led Maher to say “Come on. Let’s be honest.” Wasserman Schultz is almost never honest: if it were not for former GOP Chair Michael Steele, she would be the most inherently unbelievable party chair of all time, and that’s only because Steele’s credibility is zero, and you can’t go lower than zero. Wasserman, true to form for a parody of a lying pol who would deny that the sun is in the heavens if it was necessary to defend a fellow Democrat, simply told Maher that Obama didn’t lie, and made no coherent argument to justify her claim:
“It was not a lie. Let’s just be very clear, so let me knock that down right away. When the president and myself and every other Democrat that talked about that if you like your health care you can keep it, that was referring to the overwhelming majority of Americans who had health care — 85% of Americans had health care coverage to begin with — and in fact, what the reality of Obamacare is, is that not only are they able to keep their health care, but it is very likely going to cost less and have better benefits.”
Uh-huh. How does Wasserman’s Schultz’s statement rebut the fact that the President said, for three and a half years, that those with health care plans they liked (obviously these were the Americans who had healthcare, Congresswoman, but thanks for that pointless clarification) could keep it–“period!”—and millions can’t, and he knew they wouldn’t be able to when he said it? It doesn’t. Wasserman Schultz’s method of advocacy is to just blather on and fill air time with denials and hope the idiots in the audience are somehow convinced by her gibberish. Does she think this is a real argument? I wouldn’t be surprised.
- The New York Times, former great American newspaper. This is ugly. This is the self-debasement of a once great journalistic institution. You know what the New York Times’s excuse for the President is? Are you ready?
“Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that.”
Yes, its editorial really said this He just made a mistake! Twenty times or more! For three and a half years! Oopsie! Over and over again, as it was repeated and debated in the media. That isn’t what he intended to say at all! That “period’ stuff? Just a random, mistaken rhetorical flourish!
I don’t care how liberal you are or how much you want to defend the President: if you place any trust in a news source this hopelessly biased and lacking in integrity, you are a fool.
- Bill Press, talk show host and former “From the Left” warrior on CNN’s “Crossfire. Press is an MSNBC host without a show on MSNBC; he is so biased and unable to apply objectivity when Democrats are in the wrong that he can almost make you feel sorry for him…almost. But not when he stoops to the worst rationalization of all, as he did this time: at least Obama didn’t kill anybody. Here’s Press, an Ethics Dunce to the core of his soul:
“What about President Obama, did he, uh, tell the exact truth? I’d have to say no. Should he have conditioned it? Yeah! He should have said, and Congressman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said this yesterday on our show, the president probably should have said 99 percent, he would have been absolutely right on. Or he should have said, by far most Americans, and he would have been absolutely right on. Uh, he didn’t, but I just have to say, uh, for the Republicans to make a big deal of that, I remember another president saying Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and we had to invade that country and we did. What did that cost in lives and in dollars? I remember another president saying Iraq had nuclear weapons and a vice president, the capacity, they either already had nuclear weapons or they could have one, like, within a year. I remember another president saying Iraq was a direct threat to the United States and we had no choice but to send our military in unilaterally in an illegal war and invade Iraq. So don’t talk to me about a president telling the 100 percent truth. President Obama was selling a good plan, uh, and now we see there’s one little wrinkle in the plan. You know what my reaction to the whole thing is? So what, it’s no big deal.”
I have to take a deep breath; Press is so awful. 1) His 99% is a lie. About 15% of those with current plans are being forced out of them, and this figure was known when the President made his misrepresentation. 2) What any other President may have said in no way changes the seriousness of this President lying, or mitigates the lie. Like “Everybody does it!,” using the “They’re just as bad” excuse is a marker for an unethical mind. The unethical conduct of another never alters the seriousness of an unethical act, and ethically astute people—that is, people who are not like Bill Press—understand this. 3) Bush, as has been thoroughly demonstrated, believed that Iraq had WMDs, as did the CIA, John Kerry, most of Europe, and just about everyone else. He was wrong. He also overstated the certainty of the intelligence on which he based that belief. That is not lying, and in any case, it has absolutely nothing to do with Obama’s health care deception. Then Press uses the always corrupt and idiotic “at least his lie didn’t get anyone killed,” or the Comparative Virtue excuse.
And it is never “no big deal” when the President repeatedly lies to the American people, whatever the topic.
- Melissa Harris-Perry, the on-her-own-planet MSNBC host. Saving the most absurd for last, we have the creatively dishonest theory of this left of left ultra-ideologue, recognizing that there is nothing inherent in being an ideologue that precludes honesty. Somebody should tell Harris -Perry that. Here’s Melissa:
“I feel sort of like part of what happened when the president said if you like your plan you can keep it, is there was an assumption in the administration that people wouldn’t like that plan, like the plan that still forces them to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs, that was so sort of bare-bones and people in fact wouldn’t like it and would be wanting new plans. And now suddenly, at least you see on this concern-trolling that people did like those plans and wanted to keep them.”
Yes, Harris-Perry’s argument is that Obama wasn’t lying because he honestly didn’t believe that his statement that we could keep health plans we liked was directed at anybody, since nobody would like their plans! Which is scarier, that a major cable news network pays and gives broadcast time to a woman capable of uttering such nonsense, or that there are viewers who think she makes sense?
As the impressive “No integrity, never trust again” list grows, I am trying to think of a parallel example of conservatives engaging in similar contortions to excuse obviously wrongful conduct. The various defenses of the Bush Administration’s torture policy came the closest, I think. Liberals have a close match in their desperate (and successful) efforts to close ranks around Clinton after he lied in court, lied to the grand jury, lied to the press and lied to the public during the Paula Jones-Lewinsky scandal.
I think this is a new low, however.
Graphic: Grip on Climate