Barack Obama’s infamous 21 words about keeping our health insurance and doctors were more than just remarkable political lies that ended his public credibility. They’ve become insidious corrupters of the entire political and journalistic infrastructure that echoed the lies and that’s left struggling to prop up the president and itself.
Consider the assorted contortions and embarrassment of, respectively, a Colorado U.S. Senator, a Michigan U.S. Representative, a Colorado regulator, and journalists ranging from a Denver web pundit to the New York Times.
Sen. Mark Udall, facing reelection this year, was nailed on tape echoing the Big Lie. He’s not very comfortable about it, particularly because some 330,000 Coloradans received the cancelation notices he promised they wouldn’t. Udall’s response was to lean on state insurance regulators to change their numbers by changing their vocabulary. He argued plans shouldn’t be counted as canceled if a person was eligible to buy a pricier ACA compliant plan.
The insurance regulator resisted Udall’s creative writing. Then things got interesting.
Todd Shepherd, of the local news site CompleteColorado.com, obtained and reported on internal state emails of Jo Donlin, the responsible insurance official, stating Udall’s office wanted to “trash” the state’s numbers, contacted her repeatedly, and when she refused to bend, she received a “very hostile” call from Udall’s chief of staff. One can only infer Donlin’s reasons for documenting the pressure she felt.
Udall’s interference prompted demands for more information and for an investigation into his conduct. Almost instantly, Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Affairs, which oversees the Division of Insurance, issued a statement claiming a "neutral and objective panel" investigated the matter and determined Udall’s office did nothing improper and there was no intimidation.
The quick, unconditional exoneration prompted more questions, seeking the panel members’ identities, a list of persons interviewed, and the questions and answers. Department Director Barbara Kelley stonewalled for about a day. She initially asserted the records were confidential “personnel files” she would withhold to protect conscientious public employees from political harassment.
The embarrassment of calling materials from an investigation “personnel records” melted Ms. Kelley’s cheeks quickly, and she reported later the same day the panel consisted of herself-- a Democratic political appointee--her deputy director--also a Democratic political appointee--and her department lobbyist--similarly a Democratic appointee, the former chief of staff for Senate Democrats. She claimed there were no written records of the panel’s activities.
You might think the revelation that the “objective panel”--that acted in a single day or two at most, with zero paper trail—turned out to be three partisans would spur the media to press harder. But six days out, that was the last news the Denver Post reported on the matter. The Post also ran an editorial essentially concluding the Department had complied with its public duty, while noting the objectivity of the panel members might be subject to question. Indeed.
Udall’s venture into linguistic revision is going mainstream, however, and becoming liberal conventional wisdom. Local web columnist Mike Littwin echoed Udall in the Colorado Independent, arguing if a cancelation notice includes an offer for a more expensive ACA policy, then your insurance isn’t technically cancelled. Only those who are terminated and left with no option should count as cancelled policies.
That shameless argument has spread from liberal precincts of the internet to the commanding heights of the New York Times Editorial Page. Michigan Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat is running for an open senate seat. He echoed Obama’s promises the ACA bars canceling policies. But a hard-hitting independent ad smacks him with the fact 225,000 Michiganders in fact had their policies cancelled. In the Time’s book, these truths are so inconvenient they’re intolerable. The Times fumed: “The 225,000 Michigan residents who the ad said received ‘cancellation notices’ were actually told that they could change to a better policy; they were not told they could no longer have insurance, as the ad implies.” (My emphasis).
This is nonsense on stilts. The ad implied no such thing. Besides the fact these people can’t speak English, they don’t know recent history. Linguistically, the argument is precisely backwards: your policy technically is cancelled; you’re offered a more expensive policy. The liberal version amounts to arguing your Ford pickup wasn’t repossessed if the wrecking crew offers you a proposal for a more expensive, politically approved Chevy Volt, with higher deductibles and a mandatory maintenance package.
More importantly, the cancellation is exactly what Obama promised against. The Left is trying to redefine “keep your plan” and “keep your doctor” to mean instead “move up to Obama plans and doctors.” They’re trying to bleach his lie into truth.
They insidiously hide the purpose of Obama’s potent, oft-repeated promise.He certainly wasn’t trying to reassure Americans he wouldn’t strip our coverage and leave us bare in the desert. Rather, he was promising Obamacare was no big deal. It wouldn’t hassle most people. If we liked our plans and doctors, then he wouldn’t mess with us. He wouldn't force us to switch from our plans to his program. But he did. Big time.
His law cancels our plans, forcing us into his program's plans or into the Exchanges. Now, Orwell's Crew in the persons of politicians like Udall and Peters, pundits like Mike Littwin, and national voices like the Times, are trying to redefine words and rewrite history. They want to erase the fact that millions of Americans lost their plans because of Obamacare.
If their revisionism is right, the president didn't lie at all. He was truthy. His opponents are the ones who should quit lying about it. War is peace. Freedom is Slavery. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.