Politifact, the heavily left-leaning political fact-checking oufit, has truly outdone itself. The organization crowned President Obama as the 2013 recipient of its annual “lie of the year” designation for his tireless efforts to mislead Americans about being able to keep their existing healthcare plans under Obamacare. While richly deserved, the decision came as a bit of a surprise because Politifact had rated that exact claim as “half true” in 2012, and straight-up “true” in 2008 (apparently promises about non-existent bills can be deemed accurate). When Republicans leveled accurate criticisms against Obamacare, they were slapped down by America’s most partisan alleged arbiter of “facts:”
Even after pulling an about-face by labeling Obama’s “keep your plan” assurance as the biggest political lie of an entire year, Politifact stood behind its “mostly false” determination on Cantor’s quote, calling it “overly broad.” Which brings us to yet another pungent Politifact call against another Virginia Republican. GOP Senate nominee Ed Gillespie is running a television ad that hits Sen. Mark Warner for repeating the “keep your plan” fib:
The spot includes a video clip of Warner promising constituents that he’d oppose any healthcare bill “that’s going to take away heathcare that you’ve got right now, or a healthcare plan that you like.” He then voted for Obamacare, which did precisely that — with 250,000 more cancellation notices landing in Virginians’ mailboxes earlier this month. Gillespie’s campaign played the smoking gun tape and called the incumbent on it. An open and shut case. Not so fast, objects Politifact. The ad is “false:”
PolitiFact National never mentioned Warner in handing out the award. In articles and videos, our colleagues focused the award on Obama’s insistence over the years that under the ACA, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” The statements and the circumstances behind them are not clones. The president had far greater power in shaping the law that bears his name than the senator. Warner didn’t repeat his pledge after he voted for the ACA in 2009.
Um, Warner voted for the bill and urged his Democratic colleagues to do the same (every one of them complied). Regardless of his relative power in “shaping the law,” he made an ironclad promise to the people of Virginia, then guaranteed the passage of a law that violated that promise. And the whole point of the pledge was to mitigate public opposition to the law prior to its passage. Good grief. In a follow-up item justifying their howler of a rating, Politifact achieved peak hackery:
Warner essentially says he couldn’t keep his 2009 pledge because he was blindsided by Obama. “Once the law was implemented, it quickly became clear that this provision had been implemented in such a way that many individuals were having their plans cancelled, despite the administration’s promise,” David Turner, a spokesman for Warner’s campaign, wrote to us in email. Turner referred to fact checks published by…PolitiFact National in early August 2009, around the time Warner made his pledge. Both gave credence to Obama’s “like it, keep it” assurances…
First of all, being “blindsided” requires total ignorance of what’s coming. Over to you, CNN:
In September 2010, Senate Republicans brought a resolution to the floor to block implementation of the grandfather rule, warning that it would result in canceled policies and violate President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their insurance if they liked it. “The District of Columbia is an island surrounded by reality. Only in the District of Columbia could you get away with telling the people if you like what you have you can keep it, and then pass regulations six months later that do just the opposite and figure that people are going to ignore it. But common sense is eventually going to prevail in this town and common sense is going to have to prevail on this piece of legislation as well,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said at the time. “The administration’s own regulations prove this is not the case. Under the grandfathering regulation, according to the White House’s own economic impact analysis, as many as 69 percent of businesses will lose their grandfathered status by 2013 and be forced to buy government-approved plans,” the Iowa Republican said. On a party line vote, Democrats killed the resolution, which could come back to haunt vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year.
Warner was explicitly warned about what was going to happen — the White House’s own projections confirmed Republicans’ admonitions — yet he chose to vote down a resolution that would have restored his own promise. That is the opposite of being “blindsided.” Secondly, we’re officially through the looking glass when Democrats are (successfully!) citing expired and discredited “fact-checks” in order to justify prior claims that were ultimately exposed as lies of epic proportion. Here’s the argument Politifact is evidently accepting from Team Warner: We may have told this lie, but you guys used to say that it wasn’t a lie, so we’re off the hook. (But it was always a lie! That’s the point! Serenity now!) Result: Ed Gillespie gets smacked with a “false” rating for linking Warner to Politifact’s ruling on the lie he repeated. Absolutely surreal. You’ll also be glad to know that Politifact quoted a law professor who agrees with them:
Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who specializes in health care law and supports the ACA, said Warner was true to his word. “The promise was literally kept,” he said. “At the time the law went into effect, people could keep their policies.” Jost said it’s “irrational” to hold Warner responsible for cancellations that occurred four years or so after he voted for Obamacare, noting that insurers routinely change plans based on market conditions. “I don’t think anyone was promising that if you bought a policy in the past, you could keep it forever,” he said.
Am I awake? Obamacare’s verbiage specifically and intentionally caused millions of plans to become non-compliant and therefore illegal. And that reality only started to impact consumers “years” after the Senate vote because….that’s when the relevant provisions of the law went into effect. And by the way, “promising that if you bought a policy in the past, you could keep it forever” was exactly the message Democrats were deliberately telegraphing to voters. The president: “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
Mark Warner enjoys a sizable (but possibly narrowing) lead in this race, largely thanks to his uncanny ability to convince voters of his fictional ‘moderate’ credentials. He may not need mind-bendingly dishonest Politifact propaganda to carry the day, but he’s getting it anyway. Just in case.