Mitt Romney made news on Sunday, telling “Meet the Press” that, while he intends to repeal Obamacare, he will replace it with his own plan:
“Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.”
via Huffington Post
Within hours, his campaign issued a “clarification,” denying that Romney meant he’d impose a federal mandate:
[T]here has been no change in the Republican nominee’s position. “[I]n a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for,” the aide said. “He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.”
We all know Romney won’t get Republican support for a mandate, and “the market” is exactly why insurers don’t cover pre-existing conditions – it would cost them too much money. What’s interesting, though, is how perfectly this highlights the Republican relationship with truth in this campaign. It’s not just that they lie – about everything, daily, in speeches, in ads, at the convention, and with no compunction – it’s that they don’t CARE what they are saying, as long as it gets them the votes and money they need.
The most well-known example of their disdain for the truth is one of Romney’s ads focussing on welfare, which baldly asserts, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check, and ‘welfare to work’ goes back to being plain old welfare.” It has been firmly established that this is untrue, that Obama’s changes instead assisted states in moving people OFF of welfare, and into work. The ad keeps running, though, and the Romney camp’s glib response – “[W]e’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers” – makes it clear how little they care about the truth. Fact-checkers, they remarked, have “jumped the shark.” Republicans have been sowing the seeds for a “post-truth” campaign for a long time now. Their persistent attacks on global warming and the teaching of evolution are part of a greater pattern of reshaping political discourse so that inconvenient reality can’t intrude. Any rational arguments against their policies are labeled as “socialist,” or written off as “spin.” It’s sad, and horrifying, how many American voters now truly believe that science cannot establish facts, that statistics always lie, that facts are always tainted by bias and cannot be trusted. The GOP have created a environment dedicated to spin and falsehood, and have managed to convince their audience that everyone else is lying.
It’s almost perfect Orwellian Newspeak, redefining language so that words have no meaning. Romney intends to keep the parts of Obamacare that voters really want – by letting the market provide them! Now they just need to come up with the perfect meaningless doublethink word for this, something like “marketcare.” Their voters will eat it up. After all, six percent of Ohio voters believe Romney deserves more credit for Bin Laden’s capture than Obama does, and a full 31% are “not sure” which of the two men deserves more credit. It makes sense. After all, under the Republican way of thinking, there’s no way we can ever know for certain which of the two men ordered the raid….