A Deeply Defective Public Character

From Peter Wehner:

We have as president a man who routinely slanders his political opponents, distorting what they believe, even as he bemoans the lack of civility in public discourse. He constantly makes assertions that are obviously untrue. And it doesn’t matter to him. He keeps doing it because, at least until now, the media has given him something approaching a free pass.

I have no idea if Mr. Obama was born mendacious or whether he learned the habit somewhere along the way. What I do know is that Barack Obama is thoroughly post-modern. Words and facts have no objective standing with him; they are socially constructed, unmoored, infinitely malleable, a way to create his own reality and advance his own self-interest.

Mr. Obama clearly believes that because his agenda is right and noble and his opponents are benighted and evil, he has license to say pretty much whatever he wants pretty much whenever he wants. After all, anything that advances his agenda while rebuffing the (choose your descriptor) nihilistic, anarchistic, heartless, ruthless, Taliban-like Republicans is allowable. Even encouraged. It’s the Chicago Way.

Mr. Obama, then, has a deeply defective public character. He simply makes things up as he goes along. He invents his own reality. And the fact that he is inflicting significant and durable harm to our political culture, and to America itself, seems to bother him not one bit.

There is something quite disturbing about this president’s capacity to mislead people with such ease and with such relish. He’s not a man who can be trusted with power.

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Fraud

We now see why Obama and the Democrats, who passed ObamaCare in 2010, did not implement it until after the 2012 election.

From NBC News:

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

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A Rude Awakening

From the WSJ:

For all of the Affordable Care Act’s technical problems, at least one part is working on schedule. The law is systematically dismantling the individual insurance market, as its architects intended from the start.

The millions of Americans who are receiving termination notices because their current coverage does not conform to Health and Human Services Department rules may not realize this is by design. Maybe they trusted President Obama’s repeated falsehood that people who liked their health plans could keep them. But Americans should understand that this month’s mass cancellation wave has been the President’s political goal since 2008. Liberals believe they must destroy the market in order to save it.

[…]

None of this is an accident. It is the deliberate result of the liberal demand that everyone have essentially the same coverage and that government must dictate what that coverage is and how much it costs. Such political control is the central nervous system of the Affordable Care Act, and it is why so many people can’t keep the insurance they like.

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Liar

“That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
— Barack Obama, from a speech to the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009

“And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.”
— Barack Obama, from remarks made in Portland, Maine, April 1, 2010

From CBS News:

It’s an unexpected reality of Obamacare being told through anecdotes in local papers and on social media. But the hard numbers reveal the evidence is far more than anecdotal. CBS News has confirmed with insurance companies across the country that more than two million people are getting notices they no longer can keep their existing plans. In California, there are 279,000; in Michigan, 140,000; Florida, 300,000; and in New Jersey, 800,000. And those numbers are certain to go even higher. Some companies who tell CBS News they’ve sent letters won’t say how many.

From Debra J. Saunders:

Covered California executive director Peter Lee told the Chronicle editorial board that he expects 800,000 to 900,000 people to lose their non-grandfathered private insurance policies on Dec. 31, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

DemocratCare

From Ann Coulter:

No major legislation has ever been passed like Obamacare — and I’m using the word “passed” pretty loosely.

It became law without both houses ever voting on the same bill. (Say, is the Constitution considered “settled law”?) Not one Republican voted for it — and a lot of Democrats immediately wished they hadn’t.

Historically, big laws have been enacted with large, bipartisan majorities. In 1935, President Roosevelt enacted Social Security with a 372-33 vote in the House and 77-6 in the Senate.

In 1965, Medicare passed in the Senate 70-24 and the House 307-116, with the vast majority of Democrats supporting this Ponzi scheme and Republicans roughly split.

Reagan’s magnificent tax cuts in 1981 — which Democrats now denounce as if they’d been appalled at the time — passed with a vote of 89-11 in the Senate and even 323-107 in the hostile Democratic House.

Even Bill Clinton’s signature legislative achievement — Midnight Basketball for the Homeless — received more bipartisan support than Obamacare.

No law, certainly not one that fundamentally alters the role of the government, has ever been passed like this.

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The Government “Shutdown”

From the WSJ:

Nine days into the partial government shutdown, the operative word is partial. The best estimates are that about 83% of government outlays are still flowing, including to the military, Social Security, Medicare, airport screeners and the Postal Service. As for the rest, one benefit of the shutdown is that it has reminded the country that it can function well without the dozens of federal bodies that exist solely to layer more burdens on the private economy.

Consider the evidence in the Federal Register, which is the record of new government rules that Washington is imposing on the rest of us. Here are the number of pages published on certain recent days in the Register: 498 pages on September 11, 193 on September 17, 369 on September 20, and 401 on September 30. But after the shutdown, the number falls to 12 pages on October 7 and all of six on October 9. And yet our glorious Republic still stands.

The 401 pages on September 30 included such proud bureaucratic work as: a proposed Agricultural Marketing Service rule to increase assessment rates for blueberry promotion, a notice from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration about exemptions for commercial vehicle operators with diabetes, and a proposal from the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide threatened status for the bird known as the rufa red knot. Maybe the shutdown is helping the economy.

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Chaotic

From VDH:

Amid all the charges and countercharges in Washington over the government shutdown, there is at least one common theme: Barack Obama’s various charges always lead to a dead end. They are chaos, and chaos is hard to understand, much less refute.

By that I mean when the president takes up a line of argument against his opponents, it cannot really be taken seriously — not just because it is usually not factual, but also because it always contradicts positions that Obama himself has taken earlier or things he has previously asserted. Whom to believe — Obama 1.0, Obama 2.0, or Obama 3.0?

When the president derides the idea of shutting down the government over the debt ceiling, we almost automatically assume that he himself tried to do just that when as a senator he voted against the Bush administration request in 2006, when the debt was about $6 trillion less than it is now.

When the president blasts the Republicans for trying to subvert the “settled law” of Obamacare, we trust that Obama himself had earlier done precisely that when he unilaterally subverted his own legislation — by quite illegally discarding the employer mandate provision of Obamacare. At least the Republicans tried to revise elements of Obamacare through existing legislative protocols; the president preferred executive fiat to nullify a settled law.

When the president deplores the lack of bipartisanship and the lockstep Republican effort to defund Obamacare, we remember that the president steamrolled the legislation through the Congress without a single Republican vote.

When the president laments the loss of civility and reminds the public that he uses “calm” rhetoric during the impasse, we know he has accused his opponents of being on an “ideological crusade” and of being hostage takers and blackmailers who have “a gun held to the head of the American people,” while his top media adviser Dan Pfeiffer has said that they had “a bomb strapped to their chest.”

When the president insists that the Republican effort to hold up the budget is unprecedented, we automatically deduce that, in fact, the action has many precedents, and on frequent prior occasions was a favored ploy of Democrats to gain leverage over Republican administrations.

In short, whenever the president prefaces a sweeping statement with one of his many emphatics — “make no mistake about it,” “I’m not making this up,” “in point of fact,” “let me be perfectly clear” — we know that the reverse is always true. For Obama, how something is said matters far more than what is said. If he stumbles, as is his wont, through an un-teleprompted remark that on rare occasions can be mostly accurate, that is a serious lapse; if, more frequently, he mellifluously asserts a teleprompted falsehood, there is little worry. The result is not so much untruth, lies, or distortions, as virtual chaos. Is what he says untrue, contradictory of what he said or did earlier, or just nonsensical?

These strange flights of fantasy are not new. When Barack Obama boasts that “American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years,” we know that is despite, not because of, his efforts, remembering that oil and gas leases have markedly decreased during the Obama administration, as they have soared on private and state lands. Again, how do you refute fantasy?

When he brags of the present chaos in the Middle East by saying that “a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa” during his administration, we translate that into 100,000 are dead in Syria and U.S. credibility about red lines is shredded; the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Egypt followed by a coup and rule by a junta; “leading from behind” in Libya resulting in a virtual Somalia well before the Benghazi disaster; abdication in Iraq, which is now less stable than it was in 2009; and Vietnam circa 1975 looming in Afghanistan.

When the president boasts that the deficit is actually shrinking under his leadership, we assume he is referring to the forced budget cuts brought about by sequestration that he not only opposed, but also warned would be disastrous.

These paradoxes could be interpreted in various ways. True, Obama is a politician who takes up and discards arguments as he finds them useful, always branding those currently in use as somehow morally superior to the alternative. Obama is also a zealot and a community organizer who is not content with opposing the positions of his opponents, but always must impugn their motives as well.

But a third explanation is more likely. Obama simply couldn’t care less about what he says at any given moment, whether it is weighing in on the football name “Redskins” or the Travyon Martin trial. He is detached and unconcerned about the history of an issue, about which he is usually poorly informed. Raising the debt ceiling is an abstraction; all that matters is that when he is president it is a good thing and when he is opposing a president it is a bad one. Let aides sort out the chaos. Obamacare will lower premiums, not affect existing medical plans, and not require increased taxes; that all of the above are untrue matters nothing. Who could sort out the chaos?

When other presidents act unilaterally, Obama cites his constitutional experience in demagoguing them, as he did against Bush during the crafting of the war on terror legislation. When he wishes either to violate the law or to adopt a prior Bush protocol, then he simply does so, and lets others sort out the inconsistency. Sometimes the result is so chaotic that Obama ends up bragging that he wants to shut down Guantanamo Bay, which he has kept open for five years, as if it was long ago virtually shut down. When we go into Libya, we do so instead of going into Syria because Libya is said to be a war and the violence in Syria a mere police action; when Libya turns out to be a disaster, then we will go into Syria.

During the present crisis, Obama simply asks his aides what are the arguments of the day to be made. When he is instructed that Republicans are doing something bad, something unprecedented, and something anarchic, then like his often referenced hero LeBron James, Obama wants the rhetoric ball to complete the demagogic play, which results in the usual chaotic invective. That the Republicans are doing something that is not unprecedented or anarchic, but similar to what Obama himself and his party have done in the past, is not even noticed.

In the mind of Obama there are many narratives. If something is a little better in the Middle East, but most things are a lot worse, then the little is his, and the most belongs to others. If somebody did not listen to Obama and decided to produce more gas and oil, then what difference does it make — given that at least they produced more gas and oil at the same time that he was in office?

If smaller deficits are deemed by most to be better than larger ones, then Obama agrees and who cares that he was indifferent whether they became bigger or smaller?

The media, of course, accepts that what Obama says on any given day will contradict what he has said or done earlier, or will be an exaggeration or caricature of his opponents’ position, or simply be detached from reality. But in their daily calculus, that resulting chaos is minor in comparison to the symbolic meaning of Obama. He is, after all, both the nation’s first African-American president and our first left-wing progressive since Franklin Roosevelt.

In comparison with those two facts, no others really matter.

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