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E.J. Dionne: Some Lies Are More Equal Than Others

Posted on January 8 2010 4:00 pm
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Even Napoleon isn't sure about this argument.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm taught us that while all animals are equal, some animals are more equal than others. Now, we have E.J. Dionne (whose…unique…brand of logic and argumentation Tim has noticed and argued with since his days at the Ball State Daily News op-ed page) to tell us that all broken campaign promises are equal, but some are more equal than others. Specifically, any broken promise that helps further a leftist cause–why, that can hardly be called a broken promise at all, and definitely not a lie.

Take Obama‘s latest backtrack on campaign openness, vis-a-vis his promise to let cameras into negotiations of bills versus the closed-door sausage-making now occurring with “health care reform.”

While, to the casual observer, or even the interested political aficionado, it might seem like Obama is breaking a campaign promise, but just read Dionne.

“Is the Democrats’ failure to let C-SPAN into their negotiations merging the House and Senate health care bills a big deal because of a campaign promise by President Obama? No, it’s not.”

Oh. Well, we’re glad that’s cleared up. So pleased that enlightened ones like Dionne can lead us all to the truth.

His argument boils down to this–because there has been public discussion of the bill, it doesn’t matter that no one gets to see what actually goes into the bill. This is like saying that because we could go up and pet a cow at a farm, it doesn’t matter how the steaks get made. Sorry, but for us, nothing could be further from the truth. We need the details, we need to know what kind of deals are being brokered (we’re looking at you, Senator Ben Nelson and Nebraska)  and what is going to come out the other end when this whole ugly process is finalized.

Dionne bolsters his flimsy argument by bring up George H.W. Bush’s “Read my lips, no new taxes” promise, abandoned once in office. That, too, was a good thing, because it caved to Democrats on a budget deal. Dionne calls that incident being fiscally responsible (which might lead one to wonder where his calls for Obama’s fiscal responsibility are, but if we spent time on every inconsistency in the mind of Dionne, we’d never finish this post.s). You know what else might have been fiscally responsible? Not spending the money in the first place.

What the argument boils down to is this–the ends always justify the means in moving the country left. Sorry, E.J., but this just isn’t so. And your man Obama doesn’t get a pass just because he stands on the same side of the aisle you do.

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