Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Obama Falsely Claims that the Senate Healthcare Bill Matches His Campaign Promises

Washington Post writer Ezra Klein was apparently priming an argument for President Obama when he claimed yesterday that the Senate healthcare bill matches Obama's campaign promises (on the other hand, see Update IV beloew). Several bloggers have repudiated Klein's argument.

During an interview conducted today with the Washington Post, however, Obama made the same assertion as Klein:
Nowhere has there been a bigger gap between the perceptions of compromise and the realities of compromise than in the health-care bill. . . . Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill.
Most shockingly, Obama denies that the public option was ever a part of his presidential campaign -- despite the fact that his campaign literature proudly supports a public plan option:
Obama said the public option "has become a source of ideological contention between the left and right." But, he added, "I didn't campaign on the public option."
Obama, however, definitely supported the public option during his campaign, but the Senate bill does not create it. Obama also dropped drug reimportation as a goal to win pharmaceutical company support. And Obama campaigned against an insurance mandate, but he now supports it as part of the Senate and House bills.

Several other bloggers have analyzed the differences between Obama's promises and the Senate bill in great detail. See here and here. Even Matthew Yglesias, one of Obama's most ardent supporters, cannot accept the proposition that the Senate bill is identical to Obama's campaign promises (see Promises Broken).

Final Thought
I do not have a problem with the idea of compromise. Political compromises happen all the time -- and for good reason. I do have a problem, however, with dishonesty. Claiming that a compromise has not happened when it actually has is dishonest. If the White House expects liberals to accept its political compromises, it cannot pretend that the compromises have not actually occurred.

Update: National Nurses United, the nation's largest union of nurses, opposes the Senate bill. Perhaps its members are impractical ideologues as well.

Update II: I have edited this article to include Obama's language denying that he ever campaigned for a public plan. That is a very remarkable claim.

Update III: Think Progress obliterates the notion that Obama never campaigned for the public plan. See FLASHBACK: Obama Repeatedly Touted Public Option Before Refusing To Push For It In The Final Hours.

Update IV: Even Ezra Klein breaks rank with Obama, saying that it is impossible to defend his claim that he did not campaign on the public option.


Anonymous said...

LOL! The revisionist bandwagon is already on the roll.

I was thinking about it last night as I listened to Sen. Durbin say that he was sooo much for the public option, dang it, too bad it did not pass.

Except that he wasn't. Not quite, as any brief search of Durbin and public option will show. I still have letters from him, from this summer, where he specifically omitted any mention of public option when discussing this health "care" "reform."

Yes, now they are all saintly and noble. Too bad the evil system works against them. Boo and freakin' hoo.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Elizabeth: I edited the article to include Obama's denial that he ever campaigned on a public plan. Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we need to bring Joe "You Lie!" Wilson back. :)

Anonymous said...

Oops! I see that IntoxiNation beat me to it, LOL!

Anonymous said...

What? Ezra Klein breaks ranks with Obama?! What's the world coming to... What's next? Medicare for all?

OK, joking aside, I found this, Darren, on Obama's treatment of Dean, which may interest you (last week's news, but still worth reading, IMO).

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Elizabeth: Ezra has acted in a very odd fashion of late. He was hypercritical of Lieberman, but then very defensive of Obama, who ostensibly acted to appease Lieberman! Go figure.

I read the link and agree with the observations it makes. Certainly, as we concluded last week, the WH engaged in a concerted effort to alienate Howard Dean and any other liberal who criticized the Senate bill. The WH had not acted that passionately on healthcare reform before, which caused me to believe that the Senate bill is exactly what Obama wanted all along. Thankfully, the Left is no longer beholden to the WH. Just a few months ago, more people (in addition to Ezra Klein and Nate Silver) would have been straining to defend the WH and condemn liberals. Now, a lot of people are calling out the WH. This is great. No more "Obama-Vegetative State": Progressives Awaken from Obama-Vegetative State

Denise said...

Yes, I think it's what he wanted all along. He knows very well how to apply pressure when he wants to.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hi, Denise: Absolutely!

Anonymous said...

..................NICE.. ^_^v.................

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