“Can Democrats find the right message on Obamacare?” asks the Washington Post’s “Wonkbook,” as it reviews various strategic options for threatened Democrats after the party’s “fix Obamacare” candidate lost a winnable Congressional race in Florida. The question, objectively interpreted, really means “Can Democrats fool voters into trusting them one more time?” That’s a good question, and the answer is far from certain. The use of the word “right,” however, is cynical. The Post means “effective.” The right message, as in the ethical and honest one, would have to be based on these undeniable and unpleasant facts:
1. The Affordable Care Act was sold to the American public under false pretenses and intentional lies. “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold,” said Obama in his weekly address on June 6, 2009, and frequently thereafter. That was not, as the desperate news media covering for the President keeps trying to make sure is the falsehood recorded by history, a “promise” that just didn’t pan out. That was a statement of what was represented as fact about the provisions of a proposed and then duly passed law, in black and white, that the President and his party were in the process of ramming down the nation’s throat using every maneuver, device and political strategem in the book. The bill, which was nearly 3000 pages long and impossible for most citizens to read much less decypher, had provisions, which it was the obligation of those responsible for drafting, amending and passing the law to know and accurately convey to the public. They did not accurately convey those provisions and their effects to the public. They intentionally misrepresented those provisions, specifically because they knew that the public would not accept them.
2. Yesterday, President Obama said the opposite of what he said in 2009 (and many times thereafter). “For the average person, many folks who don’t have health insurance initially, they’re going to have to make some choices,” Obama said. “And they might end up having to switch doctors, in part because they’re saving money.” This means that the process is complete. The lie was devised, told, maintained, and now the President and his party are attempting to reap no consequences from intentionally misleading the public. The approaches are many. One, as I have mentioned, is to bolster the myth that the President was unable to keep a “promise,” when no President has no ability to “promise” how a law will work. The law determines how a law will work, and how this law worked was planned and constricted so as to ensure that many American would not be able to keep their doctors and health care plans.
Another is to delay the pain, the consequences, and the perception of reality until the next election, and hope that the public is really confused, really forgetful, or really stupid. Yet another is the Jumbo strategy, to continue to deny that there is a problem when it is huge, obvious, and unavoidable. This, not surprisingly, is the approach of the Believe It or Not!-worthy Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats. Pelosi, who was the one who said that the public needed to have Obamacare passed in order to “see what’s in it,” now says that the law is just fine, needs a few tweaks, and that Democrats should be “proud” of it. Proud that it was sold by the kind of fraud that would be a white collar felony in a business context. Proud that it has reduced the President and the government into low-level hucksters, desperately trying to sell young Americans on a program that misaligns their resources. Proud that its viability was based on false projections; proud that its key engine, the website, was entrusted to a contractor that was already proven to be unreliable. Proud that proprietary information is not secure, and the background checks for the website’s staff allowed convicted felons to handle consumer requests. Proud that that the President has violated the Constitution in a series of measures designed to amend the law without doing so through Congress. Proud that the Democrats’ culpability has caused Obama to distort the enforcement of a law for pure partisan gain. Proud.
Or the Democrats could rely on the media to keep spinning for them, as it surely will. Speaking of Obama’s admission that his representation that every American could keep his or her doctor under Obamacare was false, Mediaite wrote,
“On Friday, the president admitted that another key plank of his health care reform pitch, that Americans could keep their preferred doctor, is also not turning out to be entirely accurate.”
“Not turning out to be entirely accurate” is deceitful, and uses weasel words to disguise the facts. The President’s characterization of his law is turning out to be 100% false. “”Not turning out to be entirely accurate”would be if the statement was true in some cases but not in others. The statement was, again, “If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.” “You”means “everybody,’ and it was and is 100% not true that everybody can keep their doctor. Shame on Mediaite and any news source that plays these equivocation games. If I hold a gun on a group of hostages, and tell them, “Do what I say, and you won’t be hurt,” and then shoot one of them between the eyes, was my statement “not entirely accurate,” or a lie? Never mind—the news media is incorrigible. In this case, however, even its bias won’t be enough to give the Democrats the “message” they need.
3. Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act cannot now disclaim responsibility for the part of it that was misrepresented to the public, or blame the realities of the law on President Obama. They voted for the law, and they represented by their vote that they knew what they were voting for. They didn’t know? (Well, we know they didn’t, because virtually none of them read the bill themselves). They voted for a life-altering, finances-busting, health-affecting, budget-distorting multi-billion dollar law affecting every American and one-sixth of the economy and didn’t know what the law really would do? How could an elected representative be more incompetent and irresponsible? How could one be less worthy of trust? One couldn’t.
4. Then we have Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and her ilk, who are trying a cynical hybrid of deceptions #1 and #3, playing champion of the defrauded by calling on the President to “keep his promise,” as if this wasn’t a law she voted for and had the opportunity to amend, but the edict of a dictator. He lied about what the law was designed to do. Sen. Landrieu voted for the law that did it. She–her laziness, cowardice or dishonesty, take your pick— is the reason her constituents can’t keep their doctors and health care plans, not a President’s broken “promise.”
5. The alternatives, then, are that Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act either intentionally voted for provisions that would require many Americans to lose their doctors and their health care plans, and stood by as the President lied about it to their constituents, OR they voted for a massive bill they neither understood, read, or comprehended how it would affect the nation.
The “right” message for such Democrats, as in the message that is consistent with the unavoidable facts, are one of these:
- “Yes, like the President, I lied to you about what was in the Affordable Care Act. I felt that this was a case of the ends justifying the means, and that the law itself was so important that it was worth using deception to pass. I still believe this is true. However, there are other problems with the law that have to be addressed if it is to realize those objectives that made that lie justifiable, and I ask that you allow me to be part of that repair process.”
- “I voted for the bill relying on the same representations that you did, and that was both irresponsible and wrong, a breach of my duties and public trust. I ask for your forgiveness. Never again will I vote for any bill that I have not read and do not understand. I will also pledge to hold those who administer this or any law, Republican or Democrat, accountable for their failures. I will insist, the pleasure of te President notwithstanding, that those responsible for the thoroughly disgraceful planning and implementation of the Affordable Care Act to date be removed from their posts, and replaced with competent individuals. I will also insist on complete transparency in assessing the performance, progress and impact of the law, which as been seriously lacking.”
- “I know there is no reason to trust a party that insisted on and championed a law that has proven to be as disappointing and flawed as this one. I know there is little reason to trust the same elected officials that constructed and passed such a law to be capable of fixing it. Nonetheless, I still believe that the law and its objective can be salvaged, while my opponent would give up and destroy it, leaving the nation with the same, unaddressed problems of rising process and uninsured citizens that we had before. I am asking for another chance.”
Good luck with any of those. They would probably not be effective, but they wouldn’t be based on lies. I don’t expect to see any of them in the upcoming campaigns.