Jonah Goldberg responds to Greg Sargeant – who thinks the president’s sales job for Obamacare may have been “narrowly untrue” and can’t understand why the GOP isn’t pitching in to construct and sell a bipartisan fix of the current law.
From Goldberg’s Why Won’t The GOP Let Us Have a Normal Debate? Why!?:
Well, let’s see if we can lift the veil of mystery. For starters, Obama’s statements were not ”narrowly untrue.” They were broadly, knowingly and entirely untrue. He repeated them over and over again, often straight into the camera. It’s nice that Greg Sargent concedes now that the president “could have been clearer.” But “could have been clearer” implies that he was a little clear about how this would work and just didn’t clarify enough. The truth is the complete opposite. He wasn’t even deliberately unclear. He was clearly dishonest. Obama was stridently deceitful. Seriously, watch this video compilation of Obama’s repeated and vociferous statements about “keeping your plan” and tell me he was just failing to be sufficiently clear that millions of people wouldn’t be able to keep their plans:
But what does it say about the liberal wonks that they either never said [that everyone in “Wonkland” knew it was B.S.] when the legislation was being debated or said so very quietly under their breaths. I’m genuinely curious, did Sargent or his colleagues at the Washington Post report that what Obama was saying — never mind the impression he was leaving — was a lie, or even “narrowly untrue”? I mean did they report it when it might have hurt the law’s chances of passage, not afterwards when all lies are retroactively absolved as the price for social progress.
Indeed, what is so infuriating to many of us is that is that now that it’s the law of the land, Obamacare supporters act as if all of the lies were no big deal and no serious person believed them anyway. But as anyone can tell you, if Obama had been honest about the trade-offs in his signature piece of legislation, it would never have become his signature piece of legislation. So please, don’t tell me the lies don’t matter…
Republicans (or at least a great, great many of them) know that this law glided to passage with tracks greased with b.s. And not just about the ability to keep your plan and lowered premiums, but endless balderdash about extending life expectancy, bending the cost curve, etc. When they pointed out that what the president was saying was flatly untrue, even impossible, they were called fools or racists. The liberal wonks who knew — or should have known — just how much b.s. was involved in the sales job, nevertheless kept their canons fixed on opponents of the law. And so did the “objective” journalists. I remember when the Supreme Court okayed Obamacare, NPR’s healthcare correspondent Julie Rovner said the only losers were the states that didn’t sign on to the Medicaid expansion and the insurance company executives who wanted a stiffer penalty under the mandate. And that was it. Really, no other losers? None?
And now, when the Democrats’ lies are proving politically inconvenient, we’re told that if Republicans were smart, they’d accept the law and engage in a sober conversation about the very real trade-offs in the law liberals lied about for years.
I’m not arguing that the GOP shouldn’t capitulate to the law simply out of spite (though spite is underrated in this circumstance if you ask me). But I fail to see why Republicans should simply accept that the law is here to stay and get into wonky discussions about how to improve it at the margins at the exact moment the wheels are coming off the bus. The president and the Democrats lied us into a bad law. The right opposed the law on principle. A single party — the Democrats — own this law in a way that no party has had complete ownership of any major social legislation in a century. They bought this legislation with deceit and the GOP said so. Now that it is going into effect, the facts on the ground are confirming that deceit. Moreover, the same haughty condescending bureaucrats and politicians who told us they were smart enough and tech-savvy enough to do just about anything are being exposed as incompetent political hacks. And this is the moment when Sargent thinks the GOP should simply throw in the towel and work with the Democrats to make Obamacare bipartisan?
I find that puzzling.