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Lies and Legitimacy
While SNL and other late night comedy shows joke about whether President Obama is a serial liar...
what The New York Times calls the president's "incorrect promises" are raising questions about the legitimacy of this administration.
When Barack Obama first ran for the White House in 2008...
the little-known senator's promises were so vague that veracity was not an issue. He promised hope, change, transparency, reconciliation, and the end of red-blue state divides.
To be fair, Senator Obama did get a little more specific on the virtual eve of the election, promising -- or warning: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
But no one really knew what that meant when we voted in 2008
... or even again in 2012.
Because key aspects of that transformation were concealed until after the 2012 election.
Far from having a White House committed to transparency, we did not learn, for example...
about the Benghazi cover-up, because the White House blamed the assassination of our ambassador on a You Tube video.
And Benghazi was not like President Eisenhower lying about pilot Francis Gary Powers spying on the Soviet Union. Ike was trying to protect national security. President Obama was trying to win reelection.
Far from bridging the red-blue divide, we also did not know that the IRS was harassing and drying up funds for tea party groups that had helped Republicans regain the House in 2010.
And although the most transformative law of President Obama's first term -- the Affordable Care Act -- was passed by Democrats before they lost the House in 2010
... we did not realize how fundamentally Obamacare would transform America until after November of 2012.
The law was written to deliver its pain after that election.
The "incorrect promise" critics are focusing on now is President Obama assuring voters dozens of times that if you like your health insurance plan you can keep it.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a TV interview this week conceded Democrats always knew that would not be possible.
But in the same interview Reid insisted the president told the truth.
How is that possible?
Reid relies on the kind of clever, if dishonest, argument that ancient Greeks called sophistry: since insurance plans have always changed every year (though before Obamacare the changes were usually minor) what President Obama called "your plan" is no longer the same plan you had before Obamacare took effect. Therefore, Reid insists, even though millions of people are now receiving cancellation notices, you are not losing the plans you liked.