"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Fundamentally Dishonest Presidency

Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post today:

It’s not easy to get a lie into a presidential speech. Every draft address is circulated to the White House senior staff and key Cabinet officials in something called the “staffing process.” Every line is reviewed by dozens of senior officials, who offer comments and factual corrections. During this process, it turns out, some of Obama’s policy advisers objected to the “you can keep your plan” pledge, pointing out that it was untrue. But it stayed in the speech. That does not happen by accident. It requires a willful intent to deceive....  
This whole episode is a window into a fundamentally dishonest presidency. And the story gets worse. After Obama began telling Americans they could keep their plans, White House aides discussed using media interviews “to explain the nuances of the succinct line in his stump speeches.” But they decided not to do so, because “officials worried . . . that delving into details such as the small number of people who might lose insurance could be confusing and would clutter the president’s message.”  
Yes, no need to “clutter” the president’s message with confusing details — like the fact that millions of Americans being told by the president that they could keep their plans were being knowingly misled.

When all you want is power, when all you want is to win elections, when all you want is to maintain your jobs in Washington, and your paychecks, and your opportunity to parlay your government service into riches on Wall Street or K Street or into book deals or speaking fees... well, then, what is truth?   Things you say are just means to an end.   Untruths at the service of the party are not just justifiable, but high-five-able.  

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