Wouldn't it be nice, as The Beach Boys sang in another context, if there was such a thing as a liar meter? It would detect when a politician wasn't telling the truth and alert the public. In the absence of such an invention, we are left to challenge our political leadership based on an objective look at the facts.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) may have been out of order when he shouted, "You lie!" in response to President Obama's assertion in his congressional address Wednesday night that illegal immigrants would not be covered by his proposed health care plan. What if the administration plans to bar illegal immigrants from purchasing health care coverage, but as the New York Times reported, continues "to require hospitals to provide emergency treatment to illegal immigrants at taxpayer expense? Would that then absolve Wilson of his rude behavior?
If we believe the president when he promises there will be no "death panels," does he lose honesty points when instead the government sends doctors who "counsel" the elderly about their "end of life options"? If bureaucrats end up rationing care so that only the "fit" or "near fit" still young enough to keep producing tax revenue receive treatment, does this weaken the president's credibility?
If the sensibilities of the few who remember what "good etiquette" means were offended by Congressman Wilson's shouted remark, shouldn't they be equally offended by Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid who called former President Bush a "loser" and a "liar" and then apologized for saying he was a loser, but did not apologize for saying he was a liar? "Bush lied, people died," said the bumper sticker. No one apologized (much less repented) for that sentiment.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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