Congratulations, Barack Obama, on winning PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year”!
But give him time. A few more years of dithering until Iran has a nuclear weapon and he might earn that Nobel Peace Prize after all.
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law.
But the promise was impossible to keep.
So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong.
Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology.
Him winning this was as much of a lock as an Adam Sandler movie being nominated for a Razzie. One question, though: Why is this the 2013 Lie of the Year instead of the 2009 Lie of the Year? That’s when he first started pushing the “if you like your plan” crapola, and that’s when conservative health-care wonks started calling B.S. on him for it. The final dimensions of ObamaCare weren’t settled at the time but the general scheme was clear enough — the sick would be covered and the poor would be subsidized with new revenue raised by forcing “young invincibles” to buy coverage and transitioning middle-class people to more expensive “comprehensive” plans. “If you like your plan, you can keep it” had to be a lie or else the law would have no chance of working.
And yet, as Sean Higgins noted last month, the hacks at PolitiFact backed Obama up on it in whole or in part no fewer than six times between 2008 and 2012. Last year, in the thick of the presidential campaign, O actually had the balls to say, “If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.” That’s even more categorical than his infamous phrasing at the AMA conference in 2009. PolitiFact’s rating: Half-true. On the same day, they issued their verdict on a statement by Romney that 20 million Americans would lose their insurance under O-Care — a number that’s shaping up to be a gross underestimate once small businesses start grappling with the law. PolitiFact’s rating: False. Whether that was left-wing hackery or just myopic stupidity in focusing too closely on the precise phrasing rather than the overall framework of the law, you can judge for yourself. But Dan Foster’s right:
The fact that it took until 2013 for them to identify “if you like your plan” as a mammoth lie is proof that the media’s collectively either out of its depth in analyzing policy — even when scores of conservative policy experts were willing and able to help them identify problems with the law — or uninterested for political reasons in recognizing the law’s flaws until they’re so glaring that they can’t plausibly be ignored. This really is the Lie of the Year, and outfits like PolitiFact are entirely complicit in it.
Here’s the winner holding his prize, courtesy of Ted Cruz’s photoshop team. Exit quotation via Guy Benson: “‘Keep your doctor. Period’ has to be the early favorite for 2014 ‘lie of the year,’ right?”