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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Friday, November 1, 2013

President Haze -- By James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal

"If you like your plan, you can keep it." That assertion, repeated with small variations, was Barack Obama's central pledge when he was campaigning for president and then for the enactment of health-care "reform." The pro-Obama New York magazine has assembled a 95-second video montage of the future and current president making the assertion two dozen times between 2008 and 2010.

Surely this is the clearest example of a broken presidential promise since George H.W. Bush's "Read my lips: no new taxes." In Bush's defense it may be said that political exigencies--a Democratic Congress, a foreign-policy crisis--forced him to accede to a tax hike. Similarly, Obama in 2008 opposed the idea of an individual mandate to purchase health insurance, but agreed to it because his preferred options, the "public option" (in which the government would compete with private insurers) and "single payer" (in which the government would be the only insurer) were political nonstarters even with an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress.

But the you-can-keep-your-plan promise was not a sacrifice to political necessity. The ObamaCare law included a grandfather clause permitting the continuation of existing plans even if they aren't compliant with ObamaCare's mandates. But as we noted Tuesday, the administration applied that provision narrowly, so as to maximize the number of cancelled policies.

What do you call a political promise delivered repeatedly and emphatically only to be broken deliberately? David Firestone, an editorialist at the New York Times, calls it an "unfortunate blanket statement." We suppose another example of an unfortunate blanket statement was "I am not a crook."

Euphemism is only one way of attempting to fog up the debate so as to escape accountability. Another is equivocation--the informal logical fallacy of using ambiguous language in an effort to mislead. The classic political example is Bill Clinton's claim "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." Clinton was using "relations" in the narrow sense of "intercourse," even though most people understood him to be making a blanket (heh) denial of hanky-panky.

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