Accusing its opponents of lying has been the Left’s modus operandi since the first shots of the health-care debate were fired. Insofar as there was any at all, the ostensible theory was that, unable to muster any serious criticisms, almost certainly motivated by money and by racism, and tainted forever for having supposedly endorsed the scheme in the 1990s, conservatives were reduced to fabrications and to hyperbole — in other words, into scaring the public by telling them things that weren’t true. In the meantime, the law’s architects tripped over themselves to bend the truth — but that was fine because they were spreading “noble lies,” as the perpetually melting-down Brian Beutler now terms these tales.
Among the alleged falsehoods on which conservative opposition relied were that the scheme was effectively a “takeover” that would leave the president with capricious control over the nation’s health-care system; that insurance premiums would inevitably increase for some; that the president’s oft-repeated promise that all Americans could keep their health care if they liked it was obviously untrue; and that government was almost certainly unsuited to run a project of this magnitude and importance. Also claimed to be mendacious was the Right’s characterization of the measure as a severe departure from the status quo. Thus were we treated to a standard by which Joe Biden was able to call passage a “big f***ing deal” and the president was allowed to boast about his newest place in history with nary a squeak, but Republicans doing the same thing were accused of blowing a “moderate” and “modest” proposal out of all proportion.