Jb's Blog

views on current events

Consider the record, for Pete’s sake.

with 5 comments

There are a countless number of jokes and one-liners about “how you can tell when a politician is lying.” We’ve all heard them. The very fact that there are so many of them just might indicate there could be a degree of truth to the notion that politicians have a bit of a problem with always telling us the truth.

When a particular politician tells us something about what he/she believes, or about what his/her intentions are, most of us have enough common sense to know that we can’t simply take their word for it. Even if they repeat the statement frequently. And vigorously. Even if they act indignant that anyone might doubt their honesty. But how do we find out what the truth really is?

One of the best ways I can think of is to take a look at their record. Anyone who holds a high profile office has years of history in public life behind them. Dig a little to find out what that person has said about the subject previously. See if they have a voting record on the subject. Then see if that lines up with what they’re asking you to believe now.

To demonstrate that, let’s look at Health Care Insurance Reform (remember, it was originally “Health Care Reform” until the polls indicated that most people are happy with Health Care, whereupon it suddenly got relabeled “Health Insurance Reform”). One of the biggest sticking points in the debate over the bill under consideration in the House is whether or not under the plan, people who are happy with their current plan would be able to stay on that plan, or be forced into the government run plan, known as the “Public Option.” President Obama repeatedly and emphatically responds by insisting that he doesn’t want to end private medical coverage. He tells us there is nothing in the plan which would take away coverage for anyone who is happy with their current plan. We’ve all heard it over and over: “If you’re happy with your current plan…”

Because the bill under consideration is not in final form, and because there are many other sources far better qualified than I to discuss its pros and cons, I’d like to just apply the principle of looking at the record. President Obama now says that there is nothing in the plan that would eliminate private coverage. Let’s see what he’s said previously when speaking about his goals and his vision of what Health Care Reform should look like.

In 2003, speaking to the AFL-CIO Conference on Civil, Human and Women’s Rights, President Obama stated:
“I happen to be a proponent of single payer universal health care plan. … A single payer health care plan. Universal health care plan. That’s what I’d like to see.”

That makes it pretty clear what his objective is (he stated it four times in four sentences). But it’s interesting, because in his June 15 2009 speech to the American Medical Association, he said:
“The Public Option is not your enemy. It is your friend, I believe. Let me also address an illegitimate concern that is being put forward by those who are claiming a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system…”

An “illegitimate concern?” But on March 24 2007, then Senator Obama addressed the SEIU Health Care Forum and said:
“My commitment is to make sure that we’ve got Universal Health Care for all Americans by the end of my first term as President. … I would hope that we set up a system that allows those who can’t go through their employer to access a Federal system or a State pool of some sort. … But I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process: I can envision a decade out or fifteen years out or twenty years out.” (emphasis added)

If you don’t trust me to quote him accurately, watch him say it yourself.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Anyone who stops and thinks about it will know from simple Economics, that a Public Option would eventually eliminate current choices in the market. Simple Economics. Barney Frank understands that, and on July 27 2009 he stated:
“I think if we get a good Public Option it could lead to single payer. That’s the best way to reach single payer.” (emphasis added)

Consider the record. And let that help guide you in judging what you’re being told now. And realize that a historic record is probably a more reliable source than what a politician tells you in a politically charged climate. After all, history pretty well proves that most politicians will say what ever they feel they need to, in their immediate setting, which frequently may not necessarily be close to the truth.


Written by jb

August 13, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Posted in Political thought

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Excellent! Glad you’re doing this.


    August 14, 2009 at 7:19 am

    • Thanks Mark. You’ve been an inspiration to me, you know?


      August 15, 2009 at 1:44 am

  2. Amen…..oh and love the remix, I am glad that you are using your talents for the common good!


    August 22, 2009 at 12:10 pm

  3. Very well researched and laid out jb. I hope you have been reading the actual bill proposed. I have almost finished reading all of it. The description of the bill on page 1 is enough for me not support it but when you get down in the thick of it, it is quite clear that you can keep your private insurance, that is if your plan meets all the stringent new government regulations outlined in the Health Insurance Exchange. The second biggest beef I have is somehow equating forced coerced underwriting (meaning by law we underwrite the expense of healthcare) is somehow a spiritual and moral obligation. Excuse me but I for one do not want to be part of stealing from you to help him, if you know what I mean.


    August 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    • Thanks for your comments! I feel that we definitely have a spiritual and moral obligation to help others, but that is a personal duty… not one for government to carry out on our behalf. I totally agree that I don’t want to have any part in “stealing from you to help him,” and I feel it is unconstitutional for our government to engage in that. But government already does that in so many ways, and it looks like we’re headed further down that road, eh?


      August 25, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: