PolitiFact named Obama’s “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” promise the lie of the 2013. I don’t disagree with their logic for giving it such prominence. After all, Obama knew this promise was impossible, it was a purposeful deception to advance a political agenda and it generated a lot of media attention.
My problem with PolitiFact decision is only their timing. Obama didn’t make this promise in 2013, he used it back in 2009-2010. It should have been clear to everyone there was no way Obama could keep this promise regarding the bill that was being debated. You can’t reform things and change nothing. The whole point of the Cadillac tax in the law was to force companies to stop offering such good coverage. Yet Obama was allowed to get away with using this lie dozens of times to sell his law. That is when it should have been a “lie of the year.”
While there’s some value in highlighting this deception now that almost everyone acknowledges it, what is really important is pointing out when politicians are lying about their policy proposals before that lie is able to accomplish its objective. Maybe if the media did a better job pointing out this promise was impossible to keep from the beginning Obama would not have dared use it some 30 times, and fewer people would have been misled.
Photo by Ben Sutherland, used under Creative Commons license