You’ve heard of group-think, right?
Terrible phenomenon, caused no one to stand up to LBJ when the fateful decisions that got us further entangled Vietnam were being “debated,” for example. Psychologists can tell you all about it.
Today, Marc Thiessen , a pull-no-punches columnist who was a Bush II speechwriter, uses his experience, and some recent reporting, to explain why Obama’s “You can keep your health insurance,” was no ordinary little lie, but one vetted, discussed, weighed, worried about, advised against by many, but finally approved of, and not by the folks who knew the policy more, but against their advice by Obama’s political advisers. And, of course, accepted against their advice by Obama himself, who went on to repeat it 24 times. His was the final approval.
Obama could easily have come up with another way to make his point accurately. He could have said most Americans will be able to keep their plans.
But Obama didnt say those things. He said, If you like your health-care plan, youll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what. That statement was clear, unequivocal and wrong and Obama and his advisers knew it.
Group-lie goes beyond the dynamics of group-think. It builds upon those dynamics, you know, those of an in-group convinced of its righteousness and superior perspective, deliberately excluding skeptical voices, and adds the old tyrant’s strategy of getting as many collectively implicated in a foul deed as possible. The twist is that the foul deed here is a political lie that might be forgiven if the policy works, and which supports the group-think even though no-one believes it. But the dynamic is similar—everyone stays committed to the party-line not simply due to judgment-numbing group-think, but also for fear that one’s guilt in building the lie will be exposed. Not something possible outside the expectations made possible by a thoroughly corrupt media, of course.
I’m sure experts in the dynamics of communist party rule have devised a term better than group-lie for what I’m trying to describe here. (Flagg?) Not that the group-think and group-lie that’s developed around Obama is as serious as that which developed around communist leaders.
Lying, of course, has long been Obama’s regular mode, made worse by his becoming so ideologically focused on what Power is and how it is to be used for righteous Change. Joe Wilson knew it in his bones well before the reporting of David Maraniss , among others, revealed how far back the pattern went back.
Is it now the Democratic Party’s permanent mode? I know that not a few of our commenters will say “of course it is,” but I remain curious about the question. Curious about how all the Democrats who are not morally corrupt, that is, not fundamentally blase about honesty, will react, now that his and his advisers’ pre-meditated and repeated lying to the nation’s face about the most important issue of his presidency has now become undeniable. We’ll see.
I know many of them will find it rich indeed to be taken to the wood-shed by a Bush II speech-writer on this, but they will have to admit that Thiessen is correct on the basics of the case here. Without agreeing with their assumptions about Bush II, I would like to ask them whether the (purported) Bush Whitehouse wrongs against honesty can really make all the Obama ones right, and how much longer they can stand to ignore Solzhenitsyn’s advice: Live Not by Lies!
Update: Barry and his crew are Doublin’ Down! In the direct face of 24 or so bits of video clips, he has the cheek to say, What we said was you could keep it if it hasnt changed since the law was passed. Yeah, like you, I’m scratchin’ my head on what that even means , even if I enter the fantasy-land hypothetical of them having said this, given the wrong verb tense used. I suppose the choice was say something like this, or say, “Er..we used rhetoric.”