We are living in the world of the oxymorons.
How else would you describe a world where Kathleen Sebelius tells a Congressional committee that she should be held accountable for the debacle of the Obamacare rollout, but that, as Peter Wehner points out, she will pay no price for her incompetence and ineptitude.
Wehner coined an oxymoron, “cost-free accountability” to describe the Sebelius shuffle and he is quite right. Of course, it did not begin with the Obama administration and it will not end with the Obama administration.
When it comes to sucking the meaning out of words, the Obama administration is in a class of its own.
But, what does it all mean?
Accountability, Wehner emphasizes, means paying a price for dereliction. Responsibility means, literally, answering for an error. And being responsible also means paying a price, suffering a sanction.
For Kathleen Sebelius, being accountable does not involve paying any penalty. It does not involve her resigning or being fired.
When she asked Congress for their leave to fix the mistakes that she made, she was saying that the incompetent person who made the mess in the first place was best qualified to fix it.
It’s an astonishing sleight of hand. The purpose of holding people accountable, to the point of removing them from office, is that we do not want people who have failed grievously to repeat the error at our expense.
Clearly, when Sebelius says that she is accountable she is really saying that Obama is not.
As it happens, Obama is better at the game than Sebelius. When Obama says that he is responsible for his lies, he quickly passes the buck. He did not really mean that if you like your policy you can keep it. He really meant that if he, the government, liked your policy you could keep it.
If you hold yourself responsible for lying, you need to apologize for the lies and then to correct them. You need to start telling the truth.
Since Obama has no shame he is paying lip service to responsibility while continuing to lie. Nice work if you can get away with it.
The difference between the truth and what Obama claimed is merely a question of pronouns. What difference could it make whether it’s what you want and what he wants for you.
Besides, the millions of policies that are being canceled are being canceled by the insurance companies. By Obamalogic the insurance companies are at fault. Since they are in it for the profit, they cannot be as trustworthy as the virtuous folks who have turned the Obamacare rollout into a national calamity.
It's worth adding that we have been hearing about more and more physicians and hospitals who refuse to see patients who are covered by Obamacare. Rest assured, Obama and his flunkies will hold them accountable and make them pay.
Just because the people who say that they are accountable pay no penalty that does not mean that no one will pay. Today, as we speak, the Obamaphiles are out searching for convenient scapegoats.
How does Obama manage to be such a convincing liar? Clearly, he believes that the end justifies the means. But, I suspect that he is also applying the lessons he learned from the hot new field of behavioral economics.
Behavioral economists called it a nudge. Today, the Americans who have lost their insurance will tell you that if feels like a push… off of a cliff.
Many of us have long considered behavioral economics, when applied to public policy, to be a wolf in sheep’s clothes. Its policies are always wrapped in gauzy images of how the government is going to help you to eat more healthy food, but the truth behind the mirage is that these people want to be able to tell you what to do. Since they know what is best for you they cannot be held accountable for any harm that might befall you.
Thus, Obama did not really lie about your being able to keep your own plan. He believed, perhaps correctly, that if he had told you the truth his grandiose scheme would have suffered the same fate as Hillarycare.
Now, when he tries to justify himself Obama says that the old plan you just saw canceled was really no good anyway. The new Obamacare plan is so much better. You may not know it. You may not feel it in your bones. Wait and see.
And if you are suffering under the new regime, think of yourself as a martyr for the cause. Think of how many people can now sign up for the substandard medical care offered by Medicaid. Don’t you feel better already.
Obamacare is paternalism and maternalism in one package. What could be wrong with that?
Of course, this is perfectly amoral.
In a democratic nation leaders who can be held accountable by the electorate. Now, Americans should have discovered that they have been lied to, that they have been tricked and defrauded. If they simply roll over the say—Hit me again—they deserve what they get.
Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that the American people have forgiven a liar.
According to former Senator Bob Kerrey, Bill Clinton was an unusually good liar. Nowadays everyone lionizes Bill Clinton. Remember that Hillary Clinton lied about coming under fire on a trip to Bosnia. She is now the leading candidate to become president in 2016. Large segments of the public believe that she can do no wrong.
One might say that neither of the Clintons lied about policy. One might even say that their lies did not cost anyone his health insurance. One might add that their lies did not throw the insurance market and the health care industry into chaos.
Surely, George W. Bush’s assertion that Saddam Hussain possessed weapons of mass destruction was far more consequential in the great scheme of things.
But, was it a lie?
In fact, no sensible individual ever claimed that Bush knew when he made his statement that Iraq had no such weapons. He was basing his statement on the best intelligence available at the time. Yet, no one afforded him the elementary courtesy of asking whether he knew that the statement was false when he made it.
Instead, a chorus of Democrats kept repeating, over and over again, that Bush lied. Since Republicans did not know how to fight back, the charge went unanswered.
Now, Republicans have an opportunity to reveal the perfidy that lies at the heart of the Obamacare fiasco. We will see how good they are at communicating. We will see how much they damaged themselves with their Congressional theatrics.
But, first they will need to find a spokesman who can effectively make the case against the Obama administration.
It’s easier said than done.