In response to President Obama’s “apology” for people not being able to keep their health insurance plans if they want to, much of the mainstream media is praising him for supposedly taking responsibility. In an era when “taking responsibility” means little more than “There, I’ve said it; now let’s move on” (as perfected by Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham Clinton“60 Minutes” tracks how fake news spreads Ill. gov candidate runs as fresh face, despite ties to political machine Huma Abedin 'working hard' on marriage with Anthony Weiner: report MORE), words seem to be all leftists require, at least when the one apologizing is a leftist too. For Obama, who has never accepted responsibility for anything negative, taking responsibility inevitably means transferring responsibility. And in this case, he has effectively made us all responsible for reading his mind.
This transfer starts with Obama’s suggestion that his error was poorly communicating to the public when he was selling ObamaCare. Certainly his apology is illusory. Saying he is sorry people “are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me” is the political equivalent to “I’m sorry you feel that way,” popularized in 1980s chick flicks.
The notion that Obama is a poor communicator is ironic, given that his rhetorical skills helped to put him the White House in the first place. Worse, it is incredibly insulting. To frame the sales pitch for his signature legislation as having communications flaws is an affront to us all. As many have argued, Obama knew that if he told the truth about how many people would lose their insurance, the law would never have passed.
And the bill was crafted so well that when Senate Republicans sought in 2010 to pass legislation expressly guaranteeing everyone could keep plans they liked, the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE (D-Nev.) refused to pursue it. Far from a communication and crafting “glitch,” Obama actively engaged in what National Review author Andrew McCarthy calls the biggest fraud in our nation’s history.
Still, if this construct is allowed to echo in our national dialogue, more follow-up is needed. Instead of praising Obama for his non-apology, the media needs to dig in and ask where else he might be making similar communication errors, ones that we can ill-afford. In ObamaCare’s case, he claims he unfortunately omitted a key conditional clause: you can keep your plan so long as it has not changed since the law passed. So, we need to know when he claims that he will not allow Iran to get the bomb whether there is any conditional clause he is omitting. Perhaps he will tell us he meant he will not let Iran get the bomb unless it violates the deals he makes with the country, or assuming Israel continues to do everything he demands, or otherwise. When he has stressed how he is applying strict sanctions to Iran, is he leaving out “unless I decide to secretly loosen them on my own”?
What about his statement that his National Security Agency is not spying on Americans? Could that be a bit of faulty communication where what he really meant was to add “unless I think they in any manner do not approve of everything I say and do”? What about his promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term? Did he leave out “unless I am unable to double taxes on everyone”? Is he sorry that so many voted for him based on those assurances as well?
At least George H.W. Bush was held to his “read my lips” remark. When he failed to live up to his promise not to permit any new taxes, he was politically crucified. Obama, whose scandals far surpass Bush 41’s, has been accused by many of lying about who he is, his past and his true agenda. Without question, he intentionally blocks disclosure of information necessary to evaluate his veracity with regard to these and many other questions, including Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and “Fast and Furious.” In short, he has fundamentally transformed the standard for responsibility to “read my thoughts.”
By any measure, the media should be outraged. It should be barraging Obama with questions, forcing him to clarify in detail exactly what he meant by other campaign slogans he used to get elected. Especially today, as Obama appears headed toward empowering Iran to become a nuclear armed country, what, exactly, did he mean when he repeatedly told us he would never let that happen?
Bill Siegel is the author of The Control Factor: Our Struggle to See the True Threat, published by Hamilton Books