Unethical Quote Of The Month AND The Jumbo: President Barack Obama

“Now, if you had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

—–President Barack Obama this week, telling supporters of Organizing for Action what he should have said for three and a half years,  but representing the statement as if he had been saying it all along. A video is here.

Jumbo film“Elephant? What elephant?”

There’s not much more to write about this, except to debate whether we should weep, laugh, or take to the streets with torches and pitchforks. The President’s solution to the discovery that his repeated assurances that nobody would lose their doctor or their health plan under the Affordable Care Act were an intentional deception of the American public was not, as his various lackeys and underlings and media lapdogs have claimed in various devious ways, to deny that his statement was a lie (for it obviously was). Neither was it to justify lying, as others among his shameless enablers have done. He didn’t try to minimize the lie and say it was trivial, since only a relative few million Americans will be affected, like the New York Times did, to its eternal shame. No, President Obama is above such demeaning obfuscations and alibis. He simply re-wrote history, and claimed that he said (well, “we” said) words that he never said at all.

This is, you have to admit, admirably audacious. It is as if Bill Clinton said, “Remember, we said that I didn’t have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky, unless you count multiple blow-jobs. Let’s not forget that.”  Even Bill didn’t have the guts to try this trick, though I’m sure he polled on it. But Barack Obama had even more brass than Clinton: he was able to go in front of a live audience and say not that this was what he meant, which would be slimy enough, but that this is actually what he said—and he never said anything like this!

Fantastic! The hallways of old Washington, D.C. must be echoing with the ghostly applause of great dissemblers and liars of the past—from Aaron Burr to Albert Fall and Joe McCarthy, to JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and his henchmen, and Sen Harrison Williams of Abscam infamy, who briefly claimed he took the bribe from the fake Arab as part of a personal “investigation,” and Newt (well, Newt’s still kicking, but this must have made him smile)—as they appreciate a true work of bold lying art.

Really, how can you top this? This lie is on the same immortal scale as the original Jumbo, uttered by the great Schnozzola as he tried to sneak the largest elephant in the world out of the circus, only to be confronted by a sheriff and the challenge, “Where do you think you ‘re going with that elephant?” “Elephant? What elephant?” Jimmy Durante answered, looking and sounding as if he really had no idea what was at the end of the rope he was holding.

Of course, that was funny, while Obama’s equivalent is outrageous, insulting and frightening, all the more so because we know that a lot of people will be taking to their blogs and TV studios and news columns to argue that he really did say what he did not, just as if Obama had climbed into a DeLorean and changed the wording on his teleprompter in 2009.

If he can get away with this, he can get away with anything.


Facts: National JournalPolitico, USA Today, Real Clear Politics


24 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Month AND The Jumbo: President Barack Obama

    • Tex: I’ve already been informed by my heath insurance company that “things will change” starting February 1, but that they are “sure” I will like the “options” they are prepared to offer. I pay a big premium to said health insurance company, primarily because it offers great benefits for “major medical” even though it doesn’t do much in the way of prescriptions, etc. I can afford prescriptions, but fear a “major medical” situation for members of my family. That’s my choice, right? Now we find that it is not.

      I blame Obama and the Congress… and I dare anyone to prove that (1) they actually read the goddamn bill; (2) that they actually cared about it since members of Congress (current and former) are exempt from it; and (3) the entire thing was so politicized that the actual gravamen of what they were doing got lost.

      Liars? They are all — from Obama to his minions, to the Congress that passed the bill. Interesting that none of the people who voted in the Act will be affected in any way by its passage. We are all victims — and it’s our own fault.

  1. He is trying to distance himself from his previous statements with the “we” business. He’s not even doing a good job in trying to convince anyone that this is not what he said. It’s as if he isn’t even trying.

    • 1) This isn’t “rhetoric”…why do you say that? Are public deceptions just rhetoric? What is communication to you? What does honesty mean? If voters play no attention to whether their leaders are liars, does that mean that it shouldn’t matter? What voters? I’m a voter, and I pay attention. Should I just sit back and accept lazy, ignorant, gullible voters dominating the process? Does that please you? What other “tune” are you talking about? Lies? Manipulation? Deceit? You are deeply, deeply confused and corrupted, if this comment is really representative of your thought processes.

      2) Why is a historical misrepresentation “nothing” to you? Are facts nothing? Abrahan Lincoln was the first Republican President and the greatest President the US has had..why would you think it doesn’t matter if he is assigned to the wrong Party, and Americans are misled? What would be an important historical misrepresent ion to you? Anything? That The Declaration was signed in 1965? That the US fought Sweden in WW II? That FDR was a fish? That there are 38 states? You seem to think ignorance is swell, or a big joke. Why is that? What is the matter with you?

      This was one of the 12 most lunk-headed comments I’ve seen in four years, and that’s out of about 60,000.

      • Ignorance is swell because he’s winning. Voters don’t care out of a mix of apathy, desire to keep the free government goodies train rolling, and fear of getting jumped on for doubting the mighty lord Obama. People like JJ are like sports fans who complain about every no-call against the home team, but when one of their boys gets away with a whopper they just smile smugly at the other side and say it’s all part of the game…

        • Ignorance is swell because he’s winning. Voters don’t care out of a mix of apathy, desire to keep the free government goodies train rolling, and fear of getting jumped on for doubting the mighty lord Obama.
          Exactly right.
          I’ve never known so many Americans to be so stupid and so cowardly.

      • The Abraham Lincoln misrepresentation, I see as just part and parcel with the Democratic party’s constant attempts to rewrite their own shameful history. They claim Abraham Licnoln, Martin Luther King, women’s sufferage, and the civil rights movement as their own, in order to better cast themselves as the ‘caring, compassionate’ party, and the Republicans as simply the uncaring party of old rich white guys. It’s the party that asks the Kennedys and Clintons to champion women’s rights, and Robert Byrd and Al Sharpton as the experts of race relations. They put euthanisists in charge of health care, criminals in charge of the justice system, and anti-capitolists in charge of the economy.1984 comparisons are old news – this is full on Animal Farm territory. All the better to validate the picture of their policies as being caring and compassionate for the underdog, no matter what the truth may be.

        It’s frustrating – I recognize that the Republican party is full of many boneheads and has its own HUGE faults. But they not the same faults, and there are still members of the Republican party who are trying to make things right. I’ve been looking, but I’m not seeing many I can say the same about in the Dem party.

      • JJ hasn’t reappeared since I wrote this rebuke. I’m sorry about that, but not sorry for the rebuke. Dismissing the spread of ignorance and blatant misrepresentations as trivial, and crowing that voters don’t care about honesty and that its some kind pf partisan strategy to object to policy-making that depends on lies is not just deeply offensive and wrong, but affirmatively harmful. If JJ want to keep making such an irresponsible argument on an ethics blog, he can do so, but not without getting properly condemned for it.

    • I think it’s fair to see this as proof that the original statement was a tactic and a lie, and that the administration believes it will still work with the typical,trusting, half-aware voter.

      • If by half-aware, you mean unaware, I agree. I’m involved on another message board. In that one, one contributor listed off everything he thinks is wrong and ends each comment with a question, “why don’t we have *such-and-such system* to address that problem*?

        At first I thought he was being tongue-in-cheek, until he really doubled down.

        Examples of his ‘concerns’:

        “I think many things should be decided by state governments”

        “there should be taxes that increased based on income”

        “There should be limited national control”

        “we should have teh right tro defend ourselves and because guns are a viable weapons we should have teh right to own guns”

        “Each state should decide for what and how much social aid their state gives to its residents. But the federal gov has a basic line of aid for the nation.”

        “National gov would decide policy on international relations, each state would have to vote on these.”

        “national news source that is public that televises all meetings of all levels of reps, televised debates”

        “a group of people who discuss the law in open sessions”

        He had other somewhat legitimate concerns. But to those, I merely responded:

        “Do you pay much attention to history or current events or even the intended federal design of this country?”

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