Politico's Purdum: Obama Had to Lie to Pass ACA Because Public Couldn't Handle 'Unpleasant Truths'

In a pathetic analyis piece at the Politico on Friday morning, Politico's Todd S. Purdum engaged in egregious excuse-making driven by a de facto admission that the Affordable Care Act would never have passed if the public had been told the truth about what was in it.

This is the same Todd S. Purdum who recently, as Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters reported earlier this month, accused Republicans of "calculated sabotage" of Obamacare, and compared their opposition to the "pattern of 'massive resistance' not seen since the Southern states’ defiance of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954." His Friday exercise, which should have been headlined "The Obamacare Scam," was barely less odious (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

The Obamacare fumble


... it’s little wonder that the glaring contrast between the White House’s perpetually optimistic talk about its health care plan — “Try it! You’ll like it!” — and the messy realities of its rollout has sent President Barack Obama’s job approval ratings to all-time lows, and for the first time left the public with a negative view of his honesty in some surveys.

From the start, the plan was more complex and unpredictable than Obama liked to acknowledge, reliant as it was on the profit-driven market forces of the private insurance industry [1], individually regulated in all 50 states. And his strategy for selling it was always based on an unspoken assumption that the public could not tolerate such unpleasant truths. [2]

To be fair, the all-out partisan war to pass the bill, and then to defend it in the courts and Congress, was hardly the time for the president to warn, “This might not work right away, folks.” [3]

... Obama tried a similar — if wordier — mea culpa Thursday with respect to his repeated pledge that people who liked their current insurance plan could keep it, explaining: “There is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate. It was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise.” [4]

Really, that's about as much as I can stand, except for one item I will get to later.


[1] — Ah yes, it's the profiteers' fault, even though they built an industry supporting the best (but maybe not for long) healthcare system in the world.

[2] — This is a tacit admission that the Affordable Care Act would never have passed had its architects and bill drafters told the truth about their true intentions and the bill's details.

[3] — What an insult to the public. The essence: "We couldn't tell them the truth because they wouldn't have been able to handle it, and we wouldn't have gotten our way."

[4] — That excuse doesn't fly. As anyone following these matters knows, tight grandfathering regs were written in June 2010, and were so well-known that they even became the subject of attempted legislative action by the Senate. From that point forward, Obama's "intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise" was obvious. As the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward wrote of Obama's core promise on September 30 of this year — obviously way too little and too late to matter:

It was an empty promise, made repeatedly. ... Nothing in the health care law guarantees that people can keep the health insurance they already have.

Purdum's report did have one high point, delivered by someone else, a perhaps chastened former Bush 43 adviser:

“At every single point, they’ve over-promised and under-delivered” on Obamacare, said Matthew Dowd, George W. Bush’s former pollster who grew so disillusioned with his old boss’s performance that he voted for Obama. “And at every single point, they’ve chosen a short-term communications strategy, as opposed to a long-term governing strategy. And the short-term communication strategy was to put out the fire by saying 'It’s all going to be OK.'"

Exactly. The strategy was always "Let's pass it, no matter what we have to say to get it passed, and we'll figure it out later." Then they failed to figure it out, even with a 3-1/2 year headstart. Now it's imploding.

I'll bet they still think they're better off now than if they had leveled with the American people from the beginning. Hopefully, they'll ultimately be shown how wrong they were.

It's really sickening to see these dishonest techniques receive sympathetic treatment from an apparatchik like the Politico's Purdum.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Congress Government Agencies Health Care Medical Insurance Media Bias Debate Conspiracy Theories Labeling Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Online Media Politico Wire Services/Media Companies Associated Press Obama Watch ObamaCare Todd S. Purdum Barack Obama Matthew Dowd