In selling the health-care plan that bears his name, President Obama has, according to the fact-checking website Politifact, said at least 34 times that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” That statement was not completely true, and it’s a lie that is today causing the President no end of political headaches.
Still, before we fully castigate the President for his rhetorical flights of fancy, it’s important to keep in mind that Obama was — to a large degree — telling Americans what they wanted to hear. In fact, he was giving them the type of comforting assurances they insist upon getting before backing any major policy change from Washington.
Americans regularly express dissatisfaction with the status quo and demand political change. But at the same time, they recoil at any reform that affects them directly.
…For those who buy insurance on the individual market, the story is quite different. With high premiums, higher deductibles and poor benefit options, these plans often could barely be considered insurance — and weren’t available to those with preexisting conditions. That these Americans would not be able to keep their plans was not a bug of Obamacare; it was the point.
So accuse Obama of lying about health-care reform — but understand the simple underlying reality: we can’t handle the truth.
Note, the parts I put in bold were just to underscore how slippery Cohen himself is. (Imagine that: A plan in which you are responsible for routine medical expenses, but the insurer picks up really large expenses, can “barely be considered insurance.”) You can see his overall theme pretty quickly.
Now in his commentary, David makes it sound as if Cohen endorsed the lying in order to get his (Cohen’s) way. But it’s a little subtler than that. Cohen is saying that the outcome is our way; we all wanted Obama to give us ObamaCare, it’s just we’re too fickle to choose it like adults.
If you don’t believe me, look, Jack Nicholson himself says it too:
See? If it were a matter of, “I know you don’t want me on that wall, but I’m going to do it anyway and then cover it up,” why, that would be immoral. Everyone knows that, even the Simpsons writers.
But see, we live in a much more nuanced world. We want him on that wall, so that’s why he thinks it’s OK to do what he does.
And it’s how Cohen convinces himself that Obama’s blatant lie–not a rhetorical flight of fancy–is justified.