America tends to be pretty forgiving of its fallen idols. Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods immediately come to mind. We get it. We’re all human, we all make mistakes. So we are quick to forgive when we see and sense contrition and a desire to improve from our fallen idols. Both Clinton and Woods admitted their mistakes and showed a lot of sorrow. Sincere sorrow or sorrow of the caught, we can’t really know. But at least they seemed sincere.
This is why President Obama is in for a very rough road over Obamacare. The president is now lying about the lies he told to sell Obamacare to the American people. In case you haven’t heard them yet, listen to a handful of the dozens of times President Obama promised that Obamacare would not take away your health care plan or your doctor.
[Obama audio: We will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. … First of all, if you’ve got health insurance and you like your doctor and you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you. … No matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it. … If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period. … If you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. (applause)]
Further damage has come in recent days as the The Wall Street Journal obtained internal memos revealing that the Obama administration knew the applause lines the president was delivering about Obamacare weren’t true. They knew Americans would lose their existing coverage and doctors.
With all of this evidence staring the president and America in the face, you would think President Obama would concede mistakes were made. At the very least, admit that maybe half-truths were told, or something that would convey a morsel of contrition, or show even a glimmer of “I’m sorry.” After all, that’s about all Americans tend to need before they can start to forgive and move on. But now, the president and his administration are lying about the lies, and even attacking those who lost their insurance because of Obamacare, like cancer patient Edie Littlefield Sundby.
That is why the Obamacare debacle could very well doom the entire second term of his presidency in a way no domestic policy issue has before. Writing for the National Journal, no right-wing rag, mind you, Ron Fournier had this to say,
The president is now misleading the public about his deception.
In a speech Monday night to his political team, Obama said: “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.”
No, no, no, no, no–that’s not what the Obama administration said. … Worse lies have been told by worse presidents, leading to more severe consequences, and you could argue that withholding a caveat is more a sin of omission. But this president is toying with a fragile commodity: his credibility. Once Americans stop believing in Obama, they will stop listening to him. They won’t trust government to manage health care. And they will wonder what happened to the reform-minded leader who promised never to lie to them.
President Obama is at a critical juncture. The competency of his administration is being questioned, even as Obama’s team continues to shift blame. They blame the insurance companies. They blame businesses. They blame Republicans. But here’s the critical choice: Continue on this foolhardy path, or take responsibility for the lies and the failures. Americans like to forgive, but they don’t like to forgive unrepentant bullies.
For Sutherland Institute, I’m Dave Buer, sitting in for Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.
This post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.
Receive the Mero Moment each week directly to your iTunes by clicking here.