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Presidency

Hypocrite-in-Chief calls for civility

The President wants a civil tone on healthcare and other issues.  But, for the umpteenth time, I ask when has a President, addressing Congress, ever called his political opponents liars?  This is unprecedented, I believe, and has demeaned the presidency and coarsened the debate.  Obama's genius, displayed in The Audacity of Hope, is making himself look moderate when in fact he is a radical.

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Discussions - 17 Comments

Just how radical can it be to have a "speech is all" approach to the presidency (per your previous post)??

If he's so radical(ly leftist), then I guess the right should be counting their blessings that he thinks that "speech is all," no? Because I fail to see how just making speeches can destroy America.

And we also apparently have a situation where, if a Congressman interrupts a Presidential address with "You lie!" he is being "honorable" but if the president questions the honesty of some of the tactics of some of those congressmen when it is his turn to speak (did he actually use the word "liar"?), that demeans his office. Pretty convenient.

Civility isn't here...he um...had to go wash his dog, you might try back tommorow but I think he is going to North Dakota for a flossing convention or something involving a large ball or yarn. You can leave a message but my ink pen started running on me, so I tossed it and will only pretend to write down what you say.

The President's speech to Congress: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-to-a-Joint-Session-of-Congress-on-Health-Care/

The President's offense:

Some of people's concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple. (Applause.)
There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms -- the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. AUDIENCE MEMBER: You lie! (Boos.)

Sure, Ken. This debate lacks civility. Keep complaining about it like everyone else, and you won't have your eye on the ball that really matters -- what the bill(s) actually do. If we'd just stop worrying so much about manners in this country and start worrying about actual facts, we might get something done.

Actually that seems well phrased by the president, and the charges are completely false in terms of the intent of the democrats and the president. The only way you get to death pannels is to say that such a plan ends up impovrishing the nation, and ultimately with limited resources difficult decisions have to be made(limited resources/unlimited wants). The non-civil rejoinder by the democrats would be that quality of care depends ultimately on how deep ones pockets are. If it isn't government death pannels then it is market forces such as insurance companies that by denying coverage ensure death. Death pannels ultimately would be a means of controlling cost, but it isn't clear that Obama has expressed any intent to control costs. Just as death pannels are a means of controlling costs so to is tort reform. Of course this means less recourse when inevitably a doctor seriously bungles an operation. From a democrat perspective Tort reform might even be death pannels, as it would reduce the cost nursing homes have to pay when they decide to dehydrate an elderly person. By reduceing tort ammounts republicans make death pannels easier.

The presidents policies aren't aimed at insureing illegal immigrants, but if illegal immigrants are in the country and if they come to an emmergency room with an emmergency situation, then the ER staff is forced to treat them, just as it is forced to treat all the uninsured. This is true under EMTALA which is statute. In fact even illegal immigrants can file suit if they are not properly treated, which means they are covered medically anyways. Which means that they are insured by socialized medicine. Saying they aren't insured simply means that they haven't paid for insurance.

Of course if Accorn is going to help a prostitute and a pimp get "legal", then it is also certainly going to "help" illegal immigrants get legal/coverage.

Liberal groups help even illegal immigrants, and maybe the presidents plan might make this easier. But technically if we can find a way to insure illegal immigrants especially if it comes out of a pay check/forced to pay, then we might reduce/spread the costs that emergency rooms are forced to swallow and pass on to folks with insurance.

Andrew, the "manners" or "civility" argument is a means of diverting the debate and delegitimizing Obama's critics. Therefore, showing Obama's flaws is an essential part of winning that debate. Over to you, wonks.

I'm with Ken on this, although the problem with Obama goes back a ways...plenty of fine Joe Knippenberg pieces in the NLT archives on the many false ways Obama frames his opponents and the debate.

Although the hectoring tone of this speech was something new for our President.

On the Wilson thing in particular, I think he should have submitted to a second apology, but the whole thing makes Obama come out worse than Wilson in my eyes---see my comments on the Freeman column below.

Wow, the right really is throwing itself in whole hog with the fringe disconnected from reality. And, judging by this post, there's really no limit to it.

THIS is your evidence?:
"The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple. (Applause.)

There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms -- the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."

On the first item (killing granny, death panels, etc.) - he's completely right. You employ a slippery-slope fallacy in the most cynical manner possible when what's being proposed for any of the bills wouldn't even position us near a gradual-inclined molehill of any kind.

On the 2nd, even if you run with the enforcement angle, that's another debate. What he said simply was NOT a lie.

I swear, I'm waiting for the right-wing to really go all-out. Why not conjure up something really fun? "Obama and his radical ACORN cronies are plotting to put everyone who makes more than $40K/yr. on trains and buses and ship us down to Mexico, where all the women will be forced to have abortions - and he'll take our Bibles, too!" or whatever. (I'm not actually ruling out the possibility that such an accusation wasn't proffered by a 9/12 protestor in DC) Then, when Obama calls those people/that group propagating the idea liars, which they would be, you'll go off about how he's a "hypocrite" on the civility issue. What you fail to understand is that one can be civil and still accurately identify a liar when they purposely disseminate lies.

Ken Thomas said that "the "manners" or "civility" argument is a means of diverting the debate and delegitimizing Obama's critics." If that is so, then why help him out by posting about it? Get back to the topic at hand - health care, and why you're opposed to Obama killing your grandmother or giving free healthcare to those Mexicans.

Oh, but Ken, "hypocrite in chief" is a bit much, isn't it? "Our President's hypocrisy" would be better.

Andrew, we don't need to be policy wonks to oppose Obamacare on substance: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/obamacare_losing_everyone_GMoSJylS0ZJLsQAtWEVKyN

The President's offence was in calling his opponents liars--he could even have been right, but the comment was still as uncivil as Wilson's name-calling.

Carl: I was just evening things out.

Ken Thomas, even the quote you provided in the comments only shows that Obama pointed out a lie, which was, in fact, a lie - whereas Wilson's accusation, in addition to being out of turn, was false. Obama didn't use the term "liar" or "liars" - at least in the quote you gave us. Is it wrong to note a lie? Everyone lies at some point in their life. The term liar(s) comes off as a more serious slam against one's character than simply saying "that is a lie."

You also said "...the "manners" or "civility" argument is a means of diverting the debate and delegitimizing Obama's critics."

Could it be that you're now using the civility thing yourself, as a means of diverting the debate, delegitimizing Obama, and ratcheting up hatred towards him, spreading ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) ?? Is that possible?

"The President's offence was in calling his opponents liars--he could even have been right, but the comment was still as uncivil as Wilson's name-calling."

Not so. It was Obama's turn to speak. If Wilson wanted to call a press conference afterwards to call out Obama on something (and actually provide some substance and detail to flesh out his accusation) that would be different. As it was, he just interrupted him.

I noted Wilson's incivility. It is not justified by Obama's. But Obama committed an unprecedented breach of decorum by calling a meeting of Congress and then labelling some of his opponents, including some present, as liars.

I have pointed out in other posts that the "truther" birth certificate charge and other outrageous claims divert us from the real issue. Obama's alienation from America is clear from his autobiography. We don't need any other information.

Obama is a spoiled brat of a man, and he presides over other spoiled brats (aka "the Left"). The political scientists tell us that "protest" actually goes up when 1) democracy is strong, and 2) inequality is LOW. So, the less these people have to bitch about, the louder they complain.

I agree with some of these comments above. Forget about "civility." Pay attention to what's really going on.

Ken, you sort of make my point. Everyone is uncivil in this debate, so it makes no sense to point fingers and do the whole, "You said it first" thing. The media is proliferating this storyline, so I would be just as happy to have smart people like you ignore said story in venues like this whenever possible.

Obama wants to raise "welfare benefits" by the billions!! And, take away medicare benefits that we have worked for. Sounds like the people who work and get older are getting ripped off and the people who sit on their duffs and collect food stamps and buy cigarettes and beer with their welfare money are loving it. These people come from all walks but the reason our "sicko" Obama is doing it is for "future votes". He knows the democrats are in trouble because of him and because of all the lies he has told about his obamacare (stick your finger in your mouth and regurgitate). He wasn't going to give any "illegals" health care because he intends to make them all legal. More votes! But you know what, this too will back fire on him because most of this country will not allow him to glide us into socializm, and why would you wish this. You too will get old one day..

Ken, if your statement wasn't such a bold face lie, it might be laughable. The problem is, that people like you actually believe Obama. When you get your head out of the sand, you might find out that it's more true than you know. First off, there are no death squads! However, when you cut back on the medicare benefits that seniors earned, take it away, then they have many things that will kill them because they won't be covered and they will cost the average senior too much money to do on their own. He already told one woman her grandmother's zest for life is no reason to keep her alive! What a great man..not! Also, he isn't giving illegals benefits, he wants their vote so he wants to make them all legal. You know, that really sucks, that I have worked all my life, to have my benefits depleted and given to someone who came here illegally, and I may have to watch my handicapped granddaughter die because they are taking their benefits away as well. Where is the human in you that is suppose to reach out and care for your fellow American. Many people came before and became citizens the correct way. I have no problem with that. But to use people, just to benefit your socialistic agenda. Hell hath no fury like a spit on American!! He was taking away veteran's benefits too. He's the worst thing that could have happened to this country. I pray that God will deal with him!

I think instead of saying it won't happen its not there they need to say why it won't happen and what is preventing it. It is not a cynical fallacy of logic, it is history that makes people so uneasy. The 20th century was defined by attempts to remake society that eventually ended up with people in camps. Even the most crazy regimes did not start out doing that, so I think the fear is perfectly reasonable.

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