By Louis Avallone
Will Rogers once said, “If you ever injected truth into politics, you have no politics.” Unfortunately, he may be right. Of course, lies also have a devastating effect on others. Some psychologists explain that most folks lie because they believe they won’t be accepted by others – if they tell the truth about who they are. But do politicians lie because the public doesn’t want to hear the truth? Rome’s greatest orator, Marcus Cicero received this campaign advice from his brother in 64 B.C: “Candidates should say whatever the crowd of the day wants to hear.”
But what about when a politician tells the truth, but the voters are inattentive, or hear only what they want to hear?
Of course, it’s easier to focus on the “mistruths” of any politician. In Obama’s case: He repeatedly pledged to put the healthcare negotiations on C-SPAN (but didn’t). He promised to reduce the budget deficit by 50% by the end of his first term in office (it’s growing instead). He promised there would be no earmarks in his $787 billion stimulus bill (but there were). During the 2008 campaign, he claimed he didn’t know Jeremiah Wright was radical (even though he attended church services with Wright for 20 years).
He promised he would have the most transparent administration (although he appointed 44 different “czars” to serve him, outside the glare of public scrutiny and Congressional approval). Then he promised that the “Recovery Act” would save or create jobs (yet unemployment has continued to rise to record levels). He said Obamacare would pay for itself (but Obamacare actually robs funding from Medicare in order to “pay for itself”, starting with $500 billion in 2013 and rising to $716 billion by 2022).
He said the health care bill wouldn’t increase the deficit by one dime (yet it will actually add at least $340 billion to the national deficit over the next 10 years). He promised in 2009 that, “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future” (but deficit spending during this administration has risen to over $5.1 trillion).
So…what does all of this mean to the American people, like you and me? Well, in the words of Lenin, the former premier of the Soviet Union, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”. This is why it’s important for folks like you and me, in a free society, to make sure that those lies stop.
Our work is cutout for us because some folks in Washington definitely have this lying principle down pat, and they have a head start on us. But what happens when the lie isn’t so much in the words of the politician, but in the lies we tell ourselves about the politician?
Consider Obama, for instance. Here are some examples where he just leveled with the American people, told it like it was and opened up:
Remember in 2008, when Obama told Joe ‘The Plumber’ that, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”? Or how about when Obama said, right before his inauguration in 2009, “Everybody is going to have to give. Everybody is going to have to have some skin in the game.” Or in 2010 when he said, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money” (even though poll after poll of likely voters believe the top earners should pay less taxes, not more). Or how about when he told us, “If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it” (which is true, even though the government’s own estimates indicate that 14 million Americans will lose their current coverage as a result of Obamacare and 17% of all doctors with a private practice said they could close within a year if their financial condition doesn’t improve). Still, it’s the truth from Obama – we can keep our doctor or health plan (if they are still in business, that is).
And of course, just last week, explaining his business acumen in aiding General Motors, Obama explained that the federal government wasn’t through in the private sector, saying, “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry” (even though General Motors still owes the taxpayers $42 billion).
Then last month Obama said, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that” (instead crediting government and luck for any success of business owners). He recently pitched himself to supporters by asking, “Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared?” (even though history is littered with failed nations wherever such socialism, or collectivism, has been practiced).
The point of recalling these candid truths is that Obama has leveled with us, for all intents and purposes, in what he believes: redistribution of wealth through higher taxes, a single payer system where the federal government controls your healthcare, and more centralized control of the economy, through managing other industries now, such as banking and energy.
And even though many folks, in 2008, might not have ever expected this type of “hope” or that kind of “change, the voters will only have themselves to blame this time, in 2012, for any “buyer’s remorse” of a second term for Obama. By then, the only lies left behind will be the ones that voters have told themselves.