As President Obama was in the midst of his unseemly, unwise and typically unleaderlike victory lap over the Obamacare sign-up figures, Tonight Show comic Jimmy Fallon had the cheek to point out that it’s amazing how many people will sign up for something when the law says they have to. (In a slightly different version of the same point, Daily Standard editor Bill Kristol said on ABC today that this is like saying, “…you’ve got to give the Soviet Union a lot of credit. 200 million people bought bread in their grocery stores. If it’s the only place you can buy health insurance, they’re going to get people to buy health insurance there.”)
Yes, that would be an example of the near constant spin and deception that the President and Democrats have been relentlessly throwing at the American public regarding the “success” of the Affordable Care Act.
The way I would put it, as indeed I did when I was shouting at the TV screen during the President’s statement in the wake of the final totals on March 31, is that how many people sign up for the Affordable Care Act doesn’t make the law successful. Whether the law accomplishes its goals at an acceptable cost will determine if the law is successful. Whether the government proves to be capable—as all evidence to date suggests it isn’t—of administering such a complex and wide-reaching law will determine if it’s successful. Most of all, the fact that the law almost certainly can’t be repealed now doesn’t make the Affordable Care Act a success, and any politician who thinks that way should be despised and distrusted.
No law should ever be beyond the possibility of rejection or repeal, if it becomes obvious that it was poorly conceived or that another approach would be better. I understand that’s not the way our busted system currently “works,” as horrible, expensive, corrupt, unworkable and wrongful laws routinely become imbedded in bureaucratic cement, and that the last large scale law to be repealed was probably Prohibition. This forward-ratcheting effect is one of the factors that makes our growing debt so frightening, as our leaders lack both the will and the means to stop anything, no matter how ill-considered, once it has a budget and a lobby. But for any national leader, especially the President, to celebrate this dangerous and dysfunctional feature of American lawmaking is profoundly disturbing, and demonstrates a preference for political warfare over governing. (This is perhaps, understandable in Obama’s case, as he is adept at the former and hopelessly inept at the latter.)
The goal, may I remind all participants, is to come up with policies that are good for the nation, not to “win” by inflicting laws that the other side can never remove. “HA! We won! Now you’ll never be able to repeal the lousy law we rammed down the country’s throat!” (of course, I’m paraphrasing) is unseemly, and shows toxic and unethical priorities .
Whether the verdict on the ACA law is ultimately positive or not—and despite what the pols say, the jury is obviously still out—it should never be forgotten or forgiven that its path has been paved with lies. Yet another one came to light this week. Leading up to March 31, press releases, tweets and blog posts from the Administration emphasized that the last day in March was the final opportunity to get health insurance in 2014, as in this White House blog post on the so-called “deadline”:
“If you don’t have health insurance, today is the last day to get coverage that starts in 2014.”
Twitter, fueled by the Administration’s celebrity drones, was awash with “TODAY is the Last Day to #GetCovered!” tweets. The message, and the intended, designed and calculated message, was that those who missed the deadline were in trouble. It was only the day after open enrollment for Obamacare ended that the website for Healthcare.gov changed the answer to the question, “How can I get coverage outside of open enrollment?” to directions pointing to a section entitled “Private plans outside the Marketplace,” explaining that the enrollment deadline applied only to the Obamacare marketplaces, not private insurance in general.
It’s amazing how many people will sign up for something by a deadline when their leaders make them think that there is a deadline when there really isn’t, right, Jimmy?
This slimy, manipulative approach has typified the entire enrollment experience for the country, from all the ad hoc, last minute, unconstitutional delays and waivers, to the ridiculous “special circumstances” exception to the deadline, the so-called “honor system” whereby one can buy extra time to enroll by simply clicking on a button. Unprofessional, incompetent, desperate, sloppy and hardly trust inducing, these examples of the acumen and management ability that will be applied to administering the new system is far, far more telling than any sign-up figures.
Then there are the figures themselves. Having just given the President the maximum “Four Pinocchios” for saying a month ago, falsely, that, “We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion,” Washington Post factchecker Glenn Kessler couldn’t bring himself to point out to the Post’s loyal Obama-voting readers that deceit is still lying, as he assessed the President’s “in-your face, Republicans!” comments after his fake deadline passed. Reviewing Obama’s statement,
“7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces….”
Kessler says, “Note the phrase ‘signed up.'” and suggests that the President is being “careful.” The President is being deceitful, dishonest, and Kessler knows it. Obama used “signed up” to make listeners believe that it means the same thing as “paid for a new policy,” because if they don’t pay, the 7.1 million number is meaningless. Obama’s disinformation brigade was on the case, too, as planned: after Peggy Noonan properly and accurately pointed out the distinction between “signed-up” and “paid,” the blog Wonkette mocked her with this:
“As for how many of those people have paid, that is a desperate and lazy argument. Do you make a mortgage payment on your multi-million dollar apartment six weeks before it’s due? Of course not.”
Talk about desperate and lazy arguments! First, we have the cheap class warfare shot about the cost of Noonan’s apartment, as if that has any bearing on the validity of her argument. Then we have the false analogy between a mortgage, which is a contract obligating one to pay at a certain time, and signing up for Obamacare, which obligates the signer to exactly nothing at all. It simply keeps an option open, that’s all. But the President’s deceit would be much less effective if a responsible new media pointed it out rather than embellishing it. Wonkette is a candidate for the most intellectually dishonest blog on the planet.
Whether the Affordable Care Act is a success, or even has a chance at success, depends on how many of the 7.1 million “sign-ups” 1) actually pay 2) weren’t signing up because they lost their health insurance (you, know, the plans they could “keep, period”) as a result of Obamacare, 3) were previously uninsured and 4) are young enough to make the insurance pool stable. All we have now are estimates, and estimates from biased groups and consultants. I’m dubious. One reason is that the Healthcare.gov website was designed to hide the meaning of the stats for as long as possible. Why isn’t there a simple box asking if the signer was previously ensured, for example?
In the Ethics Alarms recently-posted list of debate cheats and fallacies, #8, “The Blind Man’s Trap,” describes what the President is doing with the ambiguous 7.1 million sign-ups. He is falsely using the fact that the raw numbers hit an artificial target as a general proof that his misbegotten law is a triumph. That the assertion is cynical, imprudent and dishonest should be obvious, but he knows most Americans aren’t paying close attention, and desperately want to believe their President, as they should be able to. It is widely believed that young, uninsured workers are not enrolling in the ACA in sufficient numbers to make it viable. The website still doesn’t work properly. Maryland and Oregon have wasted millions of dollars, and their systems are still non-functional. The overly optimistic CBO projections regarding the law’s long-term costs are already looking fanciful…to the CBO. Americans are paying for features of insurance coverage they don’t want or need.
The President has violated the Constitution and abused his power by unilaterally amending a law that was supposedly “settled,” creating a dangerous precedent that threatens the system of checks and balances in our government. To reach his cherished 7.1 million, President Obama debased his office by turning the President of the United States into the equivalent of an infomercial huckster and self-promoting actor, making the rounds of talk-shows, daytime gab-fests and comedy spots. Incredibly, he even asked the networks to broadcast a national address on the sign-up “triumph,” putting the meaningless 7.1 million goal on par with the Cuban Missie Crisis and the death of Osama bin Laden. Amazingly, the networks had the dignity and sense of proportion that this President lacks, and said no.
The damage and costs created by the ACA are yet to be fully understood; its benefits and viability are speculative. Pointing to one number achieved and using that to declare a triumph is the height of deceit and misdirection, but the President has been excused of greater lies in this long-running ethics train wreck. No wonder he thinks he can get away with deceit.
Sources: Wonkette, WSJ, Daily Standard, Washington Post 1, 2, 3, Slate ,Daily Caller
47 thoughts on “Obamacare Game Plan: The Lies Worked, Now On To Deceit”
Those idiot racists in the TEA Party have yet to be wrong about a single prediction they made.
They thought Cain was a viable candidate. And they thought the dollar was going to go bust about 5 years ago.
a) and progressives thought John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich were good picks too…
b) Stable systems remain stable, even after a rational outside observer would have predicted its collapse. No one with any credibility thinks our debt plus our fiat currency won’t cause a completely worthless dollar.
On the plus side, you and your husband will be able to pay off your mortgage for the cost of a nice hat.
Pleeeeeeease — no one thinks Kucinich is a viable candidate. A short, communist, atheist, vegetarian?
Edwards was a viable candidate. Too bad he decided to become a narcissistic criminal. He could have been elected.
Hats are so 1890s — sort of like the gold standard.
Edwards WAS a narcissist, and a lying one, all along. He just became a criminal. The fact that he could have been elected President should scare us all. I am proud to say that I saw him as 100% phony from the very start…and felt that Kerry choosing him as VP was signature significance regarding how hopelessly dim Kerry was. Right about that, too.
Yes, but all politicians are narcissists and liars to some degree unfortunately. I was surprised and disappointed about him making the leap to criminal though.
Hey, I voted for Kucinich. When Obama ran you heard all kinds of talk about how great it would be to finally have a black president, but everyone seemed to ignore the fantastic opportunity to elect our first Goblin to the white house. Plus he had seen a UFO, was married to a supermodel, and appeared to be Duke basketball coach Mike Kzryziewski’s long-lost brother. What’s not to love?
1) You made coffee come out my nose.
2) The FIRST opportunity to elect a goblin President was clearly H. Ross Perot.
Wrong — it was Dukakis!
Even though Mike kept me from staying in Mass and detoured my career out of criminal law (he defunded my job with the the public defenders), I hold him no malice…
Perot was a gnome if I’ve ever seen one.
Is the UFO bit true? Also, he can’t be a goblin — they eat meat and typically are evil. He’s more like a vegetarian do-gooder Hobbit.
I was sure I remembered this and was really hoping it wasn’t a false memory. Vindication: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSRWRbuMqyc
And say what you will, look at a picture of Kucinich and Coach K next to each other and TELL me they aren’t a pair of goblin warlords infiltrating human society. Looks like their clever disguises have fooled you…
As to point a, progressives being wrong about the viability of their candidates doesn’t mean the Tea Partiers were any less wrong about theirs.
As President Obama was in the midst of his unseemly, unwise and typically unleaderlike victory lap over the Obamacare sign-up figures
This line is priceless.
Along side DailyKos, Mother Jones, Gawker, Slate and Salon…
I haven’t read the whole post, but as an initial concern with Obama’s anti-leader victory lap, I have heard several personal account that people NEVER signed up on the Obamacare, yet still received welcome letters from the government thanking them for enrolling. All of them had been part of Medicare, so the running theory is that the miraculous Millions needed for Obama to reach his goal came from the government enrolling people based on data already possessed from Medicare records. That is to say, a large percentage of Obamacare enrollees were unknowingly transferred from other government databases….
I don’t doubt this technique was used en masse.
To be quite accurate, the law needed, according to CBO *estimates* of *best case scenarios* *prior* to later revised *estimates*, new payers to be *possibly* fiscally sustainable… the 7 million figure the President so crows about.
And even that assertion was extremely dubious, especially given economic and mathematical reality.
It never was about “common good”… but about Democrat power.
To quote Scott, in another persona…Let. It. Burn. That’s what it is gonna take, I’m afraid.
I’ve said it in this persona as well…
If for no other reason than it doesn’t seem to matter who’s in charge. Politicians who seem to be in favor of the common folk are pilloried by their own party because “I’m not a witch”. According to Rove, only “electable” conservatives should be supported by the Repubs, so if you don’t like ’em, stay home and let the other party win.
FYI, Rove gets really pissed when you ask him “How is that electable President Romney or McCain doing? Really battin’ 1000 there, aren’t ya?”
Like, super pissed…
Romney was very electable. McCain never had a chance once the economy blew up.
And yet Romney still lost… Rove and his master plan worked a real miracle…
Not every candidate who is “electable” will win. To imply so means that every presidential election had a major candidate who was “unelectable.” Saying that because Romney lost he wasn’t electable is post-hoc rationalization.
Most especially if the opposing party cheats it’s way to victory consistently. 600 votes found in the backseat of my car indeed.
But you can’t just blame Rove—it’s like blaming Jeb Stuart for the South losing at Gettysburg. Dozens of factors converged to foil Romney–Newt’s betrayal, the media’s dishonesty and bias, the illicit recording of the “47%” comment, Candy Crowley rescuing Obama from his own lie, Chris Cristie, the Benghazi cover-up, the IRS suppression of conservative campaign support, the pathetic incompetence of Romney’s computer tracking and voter activation system, Paul Ryan’s bland candidacy, the Obamacare lies, and my favorite, the irresponsible, self-wounding, lazy and stupid failure of those who recognized what a wretched leader Obama is to go to the polls and vote for Romney, because he wasn’t conservative enough. If those who had voted for McCain, a much less-qualified and capable candidate, had voted for Mitt, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
This applies to Dragin’s response above, too, but you don’t even have to presuppose voter apathy or malfeasance or anything else. They all may apply but you don’t have to use them to make the point- if two solid “electable” candidates run a clean and honest campaign, you STILL have one of them who loses.
Seriously, Luke? I actually agree, if you could ever find 2 such candidates…good luck with that.
Oh, in modern American politics? Not a chance. I’m just proving the logical points that 1) Losing doesn’t mean a candidate wasn’t electable, and 2) a good candidate can loose even without shenanigans.
No way to tell, really. 1) We haven’t had a good candidate in a while and; 2) we haven’t had an election without shenanigans in a while.
If Stewart followed orders and not gotten out of range of easy communication with Lee, and if he hadn’t attacked the Union cavalry, The whole battle likely would never have happened.
But if we are talking who I think is to blame for The South losing that battle, I would have to go with Longstreet.
And he didn’t do Romney any good, either…
Well, what’s the verdict? I thought if there were any knee-jerk progressives out there, this post would flush them out. Crickets. Does that mean…
1. They have really retreated to the echo chambers and left-tilting wombs like MSNBC, where the rule of Three Monkeys reigns, and no evil will be seen, heard or spoken of this fiasco? If so, how cowardly and juvenile.
2. Are they just hiding until this most embarrassing of Big Government conceits settles in, so they can salute its accomplishments and ignore its carnage, which will pretty much be all anyone can do?
3. Do they agree with the criticism, but lack the integrity to say, well, in this case, I was wrong, and I have been betrayed by those I trusted. I have learned something, and will moderate my views in the future”?
4. Or do they still fervently believe the talking points and narrative despite all evidence to the contrary, suggesting that I over-estimated their ability to think fairly and clearly?
I really want to know.
For the 1000th time, true progressives (like me) mentally checked out of this debate once it became “insurance for all” instead of “medicare for all.” This set-up is bound to fail, and I am defining failure here as “not worth the cost.” Lies and deceit you say? Well, we stopped believing in Obama and his administration some time ago, so we’re not surprised.
Is this the “No True Progressive” fallacy, though?
Is this in your list of 43 Rationalizations?
The list of fallacies.
I knew Tex (rule master) would know this. Can you point me to it please?
couple posts back
Thanks for that Tex, but it doesn’t apply here. I’m not interested in the structure of Obamacare, so it’s hard for me to get upset about … well, the structure of it. Similarly, if I am against an illegal war, I wouldn’t write constant posts about how badly the US is waging an illegal war. Because I am against it from the start. I think Jack is presuming that his small number of lefty readers think that everything is hunky-dory about Obamacare and are unwilling to overlook government shenanigans for the greater good, and that may not necessarily be the case. But I am only speaking for myself here.
No, you referred to yourself as a “true” progressive… And that “no true progressive” supports Obamacare.
That’s a violation of the No True Scotsman. A rule I linked for you, which you asked about.
Of course, this whole debacle proves that these same people woiuld have fucked up “medicare for all”.
In fact, they probably would have fucked up price controls on medical care, which should be simple to administer.
It proves no such thing.
It’s a strong hint that they would have, but then again I figure that the government usually fucks up most large-scale things they suddenly decide they need to ram their hands into. Doesn’t prove it, though.