Re: Republicans and Cancelled Plans

by Jonah Goldberg

Ramesh makes an excellent point below about how Republicans don’t need to abandon their free-market principles even though free-market reforms would run into problems similar to those facing Obamacare. If you read around the Web, you’ll find people accusing Republicans of a kind of hypocrisy for denouncing Obamacare for things that might happen, to one degree or another, under their preferred reforms too. The hypocrisy argument is a strained one, but you can see a kernel of truth in it.

But there’s one big difference worth mentioning. Republicans aren’t lying. Obama’s approach to dealing with this problem was simply to deny its existence and instead “guarantee” that in no way, shape or form would anyone lose their plan. At times he even made it sound like he would affirmatively act to keep this from happening for any reason. The cold cynical question is whether such deceit is necessary in order to reform health care. I’d like to think it isn’t necessary. But even if lying is the only way to reform the health-care system, I see no reason why that should absolve the liars from criticism for their deceit. If Republicans lied as aggressively as this White House has in order to get their preferred policies in place, you can be sure Democrats would be screaming “liar!” from the rooftops, and they’d be completely justified in doing so.