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Did Obama Lie?

Where are those public, televised healthcare negotiations Obama promised?

I didn't vote for Obama. I voted for John McCain, though primarily for the same reasons that I voted for Bush the second time - because I disliked the other guy more.

I resented the outright smugness that some (most?) Obama supporters exhibited. The guy's turned out to be a dud - and now, a liar, it would seem - but as my wife said the other day I'm glad he's not actually done anything. Where have all those smug bastards gone? How smug are they feeling now? How superior? They may still have backed the "better" guy for them, but the guy they backed turned out to be better than the guy that existed in reality.

I continue to despise the entire party system. Screw parties! Who needs 'em? All they do is force people to vote in ways on certain issues contrary to how they feel simply because they need support for something they believe in later. It's created a system where someone who values small(er) government, for example, is also a God-fearing nut who can't stand the thought of abortion. I tend to be more Republican than Democrat (and more Libertarian than either), but I'm a mix of all things, and I think our politicians are as well and should be allowed to as such. The party system has failed. It's given us John McCain vs. Barack Obama. George Bush vs. John Kerry. And a House and Senate that votes pretty much down party lines and almost always has. Yippee.

19 Responses to "Did Obama Lie?"

  1. It isn't so much the party system that's the problem, as it is our voting system. Our voting system encourages a 2-party system. What we need is Condorcet voting... with Condorcet voting, our set of elected officials would much more closely approximate the sense of the nation.

    On the other point, yes, he did promise televised, transparent negotations. And yet... we have Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi sitting in a closed room, bypassing the usual conference committee. This country is no longer a representative democracy.... we are now a dictatorship.

  2. I totally agree that the 2 party polarity garbage is not doing *anyone* any favors. Well, except maybe the few nutjobs who actually are out on the fringes. For all the moderates and centrists, though, it's really just screwing us over. (but it's easier, takes less energy, and seems to be a bit of human nature to want to simplify complicated things down to black and white. That doesn't justify it, but it's not really all that surprising.)

    That said, i think the beginning of your post is a ridiculous straw-man argument.

    Seriously, you complain about being unfairly classified as "a God-fearing nut who can't stand the thought of abortion" but you go right on and accuse a bunch of people of being smug assholes. Cant you see the duplicity?

    It's easy to feel "right" when you build caricature of the people who disagree with you.

    And as to your question "Did Obama Lie?" the answer is *of course he f'n lied.* He's a politician. So did McCain. So did Hillary. So did every public figure, EVER. Everyone makes promises when running for office that may or may not come to fruition.

    When it's your guy, it'll be "He tried, but other things ended up being more important. He's trying to do the right thing. He can't deliver every single thing immediately, he's not magic, and sometimes issues are more complicated than they at first appear."

    When it's the guy you voted against, it'll be "He's a liar and a scumbag."

    It doesn't seem like that'll really help the "towing the party line" problem.

  3. Jeff said on January 6, 2010:

    you go right on and accuse a bunch of people of being smug assholes. Cant you see the duplicity?

    I didn't call them assholes. I called them bastards. ;-)

    And I didn't call every Obama supporter a smug bastard, I simply asked where those who were smug have gone? The smugness level - which I wrote about during campaigning - has dropped to near nil.

    I don't feel "right," but I do think those who were smug are now not smug because they feel duped. And if they don't, they should. That doesn't make me feel "right" - it makes me feel sad.

    Jeff said on January 6, 2010:

    So did every public figure, EVER. Everyone makes promises when running for office that may or may not come to fruition.

    So that makes it okay? Or it makes me a jerk for pointing it out in this instance?

    As for "when it's my guy," you couldn't be further from the truth. Heck, I'd need to have "a guy" to begin with, and I doubt we'll ever see that day.

  4. I'll acknowledge that there's some truth to what you're saying. There were several smug *bastards* who seem to have shut up. I'm glad that's the case. they were annoying to begin with.

    but personally, the *only* people i've heard the "duped" sentiment from has been dyed in the wool Republicans. Almost exactly how you said it. "People are feeling duped. This president is a dud. people should be feeling tricked. It makes me sad." I've ONLY heard this, or anything resembling this, from people who voted against Obama, were vocally against him, and, i think, really just want it to be the case. (Fox News has been pushing it for a while.)

    That's all, of course, just my personal experience. I could be way off base.

  5. Erik, you are right on when you say "I do think those who were smug are now not smug because they feel duped." Near as I can tell, that's exactly what happened with a lot of them.

    And that gets to what Jeff is trying to defend. Jeff, the problem isn't that "he lied" on a few things. The problem is that the entire image he portrayed was completely fabricated and is so utterly different from the reality of the man.

  6. There's still debate going on about this, so it seems a bit premature to talk about lies.

    http://www.c-span.org/pdf/C-SPAN%20Health%20Care%20Letter.pdf

    As for whether it would make sense, I find the following rather cogent.

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/01/05/cspan-conference/

  7. Jeff said on January 6, 2010:

    I'll acknowledge that there's some truth to what you're saying. There were several smug *bastards* who seem to have shut up. I'm glad that's the case. they were annoying to begin with.

    I never said you were one of 'em, Jeff. They know who they are. I don't (well, except a few I know personally).

    Jeff said on January 6, 2010:

    but personally, the *only* people i've heard the "duped" sentiment from has been dyed in the wool Republicans. Almost exactly how you said it.

    I read or listen to something political roughly once every three weeks. Often less frequently, particularly in non-election years.

    A friend passed the video I posted above to me today. That's it. I don't even know who the famous political bloggers are or what party they support, so my language doesn't come from anyone but me, a nearly completely disinterested citizen.

    You've taken a first step towards alleging that I'm a "dyed in the wool" Republican, despite what I said above, and I'm telling you now that you're wrong.

    Maybe you're doing a bit of caricaturization yourself. :-P

  8. Ah yes...voting for the lesser of two evils. We all know that's the core of US Politics now. It's rare to actually "respect" a politician.

    Though with the US roughly in the middle with regards to education rankings amongst industrialized nations. I'm not too sure I want the people to have more control.

    I never expected immediate change especially given this economy. I can't believe people are still buying into the "Hope, Change, Reform" angle that's spewed by every candidate who just so happens to be propelled with millions upon millions of corporate campaign finance.

  9. I didn't think you were accusing. :)

    I also didn't mean to *be* accusing you either. :) I don't mean to say you're repeating talking points, or to call you a Republican in any pejorative way. I have a friend who was a delegate for the local Repub's party, so relatively involved with the party, and you two have strikingly similar thoughts. (you'd probably get along swimmingly.) Ignoring the BS craziness on the fringes (loud as it may be) a lot of the political sentiment i read here seems very republican, and again, i don't mean it in a bad way at all.

    (Side note: do examine the sources you're given. nakedemperornews.com? breitbart.tv? we're not exactly getting away from the crazy fringes here.)

    When it comes down to it, though, I don't at all think you're a dyed in the wool stubborn right winger. I do, however, at times disagree with your political stances and perceptions. :) hopefully that's okay. I try to be reasonable about it, but please call me out when i'm not.

    @ Daniel: I totally disagree. I think you may want to believe that, but not many people actually feel that was unless they're, let's say, pre-disposed to think it. (active opposition.) That's my feeling. I understand you think otherwise.

    I think what's actually going on is the "smug" people who were making a lot of noise were really just the "go team go" political fanatics that have mostly disappeared on both sides of the fence. They only really care about politics on election years (or when it's something that incites hatred like wedge issues) and will surely be back out being smug idiots next time there's an election. (or, on the other side, the obnoxious "salt-of-the-earth" anti-intellectual crap that embarrasses the moderate right. When was the last you heard from Joe the Plumber?)

    I think the only fabricated thing here is the supposed "feeling duped" ...or worse, pretending that the whole world is too stupid to understand what campaign promises really are. But, i'm sure in sometime in the next decade, i'll get the chance to be on the other side of this discussion.

  10. Benjamin, there's a huge issue with that thinkprogress link you posted. The problem is that they are not going to conference. Pelosi & Reid are bypassing the conference and are hammering out the differences between their two bills BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. That is precisely the problem here. They are making an end-run around centuries of policymaking history and are locking Republicans out of the discussion.

    As I said before, this country is no longer a representative democracy.... we are now a dictatorship. We are being dictated two by three people: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama.

  11. Why is it a lie? Because it didn't come true? When you tell your wife you'll pick her up at 3 and then your car doesn't start, did you lie to her? No, you didn't.

    The President, by all indications, would have liked a more open process. But the President doesn't control Congress or C-SPAN. And when tens and tens and tens of millions are being spent on lobbying, Congress doesn't work very openly.

    Was it a lie? Unless you have evidence that he knew at the time he couldn't deliver on it, no. Was it a failure? Yes.
    Was it a lie when he said they could get health care reform done before the August recess? No. Was it a failure? Yes.

    If you do follow politics and you read what has come out of this White House, you develop an understanding that the job turned out to be quite different than what Barack Obama thought it would be. For example, take bipartisanship. He made a strong effort early on to reach across the aisle, to be bipartisan. He had that public dinner with McCain to bury the hatchet. He (and the Democratic caucuses) worked hard to get some Republican votes on the stimulus package, which had bipartisan support from economists, cutting aid to states and other spending and adding in tax cuts, and he was disappointed that they weren't able to get any support in the House and only two Republicans in the Senate. And do you remember his first judicial nomination, David F. Hamilton? He was chosen because he was an uncontroversial candidate with bipartisan support with the express goal to "put the confirmation wars behind us", as a senior administration put it. His Republican home state Senator, Dick Lugar, "enthusiastically" supported him. How did that turn out? He was filibustered and didn't get a vote for 8 months. And don't get started on health care. End-of-life care covered by Medicare (the much-feared "death panels") was proposed the year before by a Republican. And we all know how that turned out.
    Barack Obama thought he would be working closely with Democrats and Republicans on solving the nation's problems, but President Barack Obama has learned that the Republicans are not going to work with him on anything and instead have opted to obstruct and slow things down as much as possible.

    So, you tell me, did Barack Obama lie about being bipartisan?

    As far as President Obama having "not actually done anything", that is pretty hard to defend. I can't find any of the summaries I've read through, but I quickly Googled a list from Esquire and you might find the perspective one you can appreciate.

  12. Daniel said on January 6, 2010:

    They are making an end-run around centuries of policymaking history and are locking Republicans out of the discussion.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/house-democrats-to-huddle-on-health-bill-2010-01-05

    Daniel, there's usually two sides to every story, see the above Marketwatch article for a different perspective. Having watched tens of hours of debate on CSPAN, I'm inclined to agree with this view.

    The oppose-at-all-costs stance taken by the GOP seriously shortchanged the American people. The proposed bill would have been far stronger had the republican senators decided to engage. Which was, incidentally, a view recently echoed by David Brooks, a guy I have a lot of time for.

    @Erik: It's interesting that the most lively discussions on your blog concern politics, maybe you should launch a new site :-).

  13. Benjamin said on January 6, 2010:

    @Erik: It's interesting that the most lively discussions on your blog concern politics, maybe you should launch a new site :-).

    Yeah, we could have one new post and 15 comments every 42 days or so. ;-)

  14. Benjamin, wow, just wow.

    You say that the "GOP seriously shortchanged the American people," yet you refuse to acknowledge that it is the Democrats who are doing just that, through their actions of bypassing the conference committee.

    Let us not forget that, by huge majorities, the American people DO NOT WANT THIS BILL TO BECOME LAW. And, the more the people learn about what's in it, the more they do not want it. Every day, polls show lower and lower approval of this bill.

    Even after all that, instead of listening to their constituents, Congressmen and Senators are listening to their leaders, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid, who are themselves listening to President Obama.

    As I have repeatedly said, we no longer live in a democracy or a representative republic. We live in a dictatorship, with three people controlling everything now. The lack of a conference committee is proof of that.

    Also, please do not try to compare this health care overhaul, which equates to something like 18% of our economy, with SCHIP. That's just crazy.

    1. daniel said on January 7, 2010:

      Benjamin, wow, just wow.
      You say that the "GOP seriously shortchanged the American people," yet you refuse to acknowledge that it is the Democrats who are doing just that, through their actions of bypassing the conference committee.

      Daniel, I don't understand your point here. Are you upset because there may not be a conference phase? If so, the GOP is the side reportedly planning to employ "procedural moves to stop a formal House-Senate conference from taking place."

      How much do you know about the bill? Is there anything about it you like? Similarly, what don't you like? I'm honestly interested.

  15. Nathan,

    "Failure" and "lie" are different things, and the question boils down to: what was his intent?

    Based on his actions since winning the election, it seems pretty clear to me that his intent was in fact to lie, to do anything to win the post. No politician can be expected to keep to everything he says on the campaign trail. I get that, we all get that.

    As I said, it all gets back to intent. During the campaign, and since getting into office, President Obama portrayed a character so completely antithetical to the truth of himself and his positions that it cannot be described as politicking. It can only be described as lying.

    1. daniel said on January 7, 2010:

      "Failure" and "lie" are different things, and the question boils down to: what was his intent?

      Are you just restating the point of my post? Because that is exactly what I said. It just appears we have different conclusions on what President Obama's intent was. I presented my rationale; we'll just have to agree to disagree. I suppose only President Obama knows for sure...

  16. Benjamin said on January 7, 2010:

    Daniel, I don't understand your point here. Are you upset because there may not be a conference phase? If so, the GOP is the side reportedly planning to employ "procedural moves to stop a formal House-Senate conference from taking place."

    I believe you are misinformed, sir; the Democrats have stated that they will not let a formal conference committee take place. If I can find where I read that, I'll post a link to it.

    How much do you know about the bill? Is there anything about it you like? Similarly, what don't you like? I'm honestly interested.

    I know a fair amount about the bill, certainly well above average. I have been reading as much about it as I can get my hands on.

    On the rest, I think my response to Matthew here probably answers much of what you want. Since we are starting to stray from the original topic of this post, let's move this discussion over there; feel free to ask any clarifying questions in that thread, after you have read the linked comment.

  17. @Erik: Well, at least you know people are paying attention. :)


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