The president’s embarrassing rewriting of rhetorical history is as undeniable as is his original misrepresentation: “Now, if you have or 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.”
There was no qualification, no caveat.Repeatedly over years’ time, the President had said unambiguously, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” and “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”
I can recall no United States president who ever made such a repeated unequivocal statement that turned out to be simply and measurably false.
These misrepresentations are not statements of hope or of values; they are space-time misrepresentations.
Among the embarrassing rationalizations was Jay Carney’s: “The president made clear throughout the effort to pass the Affordable Care Act and throughout the period in which — that continues to this day — in which Republicans have sought to repeal it, that the vast majority of the American people…who have insurance through their employers, who have insurance through Medicare or Medicaid, will not see a change and that includes…how their plans allow them to get access to different doctors.”
And Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison said on December 1, 2013 on ABC’s This Week thatthe President was saying, “If you like your decent insurance, your insurance that works, then you can keep it.”
Rep. Ellison would be in line for the “Bebe Rebozo Most Obsequious Presidential Supporter Award,” but the competition is too great to yet declare a winner.
I am hesitant to say this, because I have always liked President Obama personally, but he is simply unconstrained by truth.
Professor Vatz teaches Persuasion at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2012, 2013)