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Lies and Lying Liars

What's wrong with pointing out a blatant falsehood?

By Petrarch  |  September 14, 2009

Throughout its existence, Scragged has generally tried to maintain a tone of decorum, polite debate, and erudite explanations of political disagreements.  Not generally for us the harsh invective of an Ann Coulter, to say nothing of the profanity-laced vulgarities so often found in the haunts of the Left.

This is because we believe that, if we are to have a functioning democracy, some semblance of civility is required.  How can you come to agreement, or even compromise, with someone else if you spend all your time screaming at them, throwing tomatoes, and regarding all disagreement as evil?  Sooner or later you have to sit down and talk rationally.

What, though, do you do when your opponent is perfectly willing to sit down and talk rationally but nothing he says bears any resemblance to reality?

To choose an extreme example, when Neville Chamberlain met with Adolf Hitler in Munich, he was hosted according to the proper diplomatic forms.  Hitler did not punch the British prime minister in the schnoz; no, he shook hands politely, sat down for a nice cup of tea, had a courteous chat, and signed a treaty.

Then Chamberlain went home, and Hitler went right back to slaughtering and invading whoever he darn well pleased.  The pretty words and polite handshakes meant nothing whatsoever; instead of a great diplomatic victor, Chamberlain looked a deluded fool and has ever since represented infantile stupidity in the arena of world politics.

Which brings us to Mr. Obama's recent speech on healthcare.  The intertubes are bursting with denunciations of Rep. Joe Wilson (R, SC), who right in the middle of the oration, jumped up and shouted at the President "You lie!"

As far as we can ascertain, this is the first time this has ever happened during a formal Presidential address to Congress.  Booing and hissing, yes; calling the President a liar after the speech, yes; but standing up right in front of him and condemning what he's saying right then and there?  It's unprecedented.

So today, Rep. Wilson is taking fire from both sides.  Obviously all the Democrats were appalled and horrified, having conveniently forgotten how many times they openly wished President Bush dead (though, admittedly, not generally to his face).  Even other Republicans thought Wilson went too far.  Sen. John McCain, the erstwhile Republican presidential candidate, wholeheartedly condemned the incident:

Wilson's behavior was "totally disrespectful," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who had been Obama's rival in the 2008 presidential election, said on CNN. "There is no place for it in that setting, or any other, and he should apologize for it immediately."

Which he did, in the modern language of politically necessary sorries:

This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President's remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility. [emphasis added]

Aiding and Abetting Lies?

Was Wilson uncivil?  Definitely.  Was the middle of Mr. Obama's speech the right time and place to call him out?  Arguably not; certainly it goes against all our traditions.

Notice, though, that while Wilson apologizes for when he said it, and the way in which he said it, nowhere does he apologize for what he said.  There is no need for him to apologize for what he said, because he is right: Mr. Obama was lying, and he lied throughout his speech.

The specific point that threw Wilson over the top was when Mr. Obama said his health plan wouldn't cover illegal aliens.  True, the law does state that it's not supposed to.  However, it also forbids anyone from checking the citizenship status of applicants; the Democrats have repeatedly defeated Republican amendments to require a legality check for anyone who wants government medical help.

So if the law says "no illegals" but doesn't allow anyone to actually check for illegals or do anything to stop them getting medical care if you catch one... well, then, yeah, in point of fact, Mr. Obama's plan will indeed provide for the health care of any illegal aliens that choose to ask for it, as the Congressional Research Service and even Nancy Pelosi's own San Francisco Examiner admitted.

More Lies

That wasn't the only lie, nor even the worst.

House and Senate legislation would allow a new "public" insurance plan to cover abortions, despite language added to the House bill that technically forbids using public funds to pay for them. Obama has said in the past that "reproductive services" would be covered by his public plan, so it's likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover abortion unless Congress expressly prohibits that. Low- and moderate-income persons who would choose the "public plan" would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase it. Private plans that cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of federal subsidies. Therefore, we judge that the president goes too far when he calls the statements that government would be funding abortions "fabrications."

We could go on, but the point has been amply made: not only did Mr. Obama's speech contain out-and-out lies, it was riddled with howling whoppers that rise to the level of Hitler's Big Lie Theory of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

Surely the President would not dare to give a blatantly false statement in a nationally-televised speech before a joint session of Congress?  Except that he did, over and over.

Rep. Wilson was the only man in that room who had the cojones to immediately, publicly, and full-throatedly defend the truth, calling out President Obama for what he was and is: a shameless liar.

All America saw it.  Much of America is huffing and puffing in indignation.

Why?  Because in their hearts they know Wilson was right, and now they have no excuse to claim ignorance.

Silence in the face of a blatant lie only aids and abets it.  Who is the one being disrespectful and uncivil - the one who demeans the office of the Presidency by using the office to cloak lies and deceit?  Or the one who stands up for truth, calling things for what they truly are?

The story doesn't say so, but we suspect that the Emperor was somewhat irritated when the impudent child said he had no clothes.  What will Mr. Obama do when more and more people gather the courage to say that the President has no truth?