Kevin Drum at Mother Jones makes a good point when talking about the GOP’s unfulfilled 2010 election mantra to “repeal and replace” Obamacare:
I consider this a highly metaphysical question. Is something really a lie if no one was intended to believe it in the first place?
Consider the various audiences. The Republican base certainly didn’t care about “replace.” They just wanted to repeal the socialist abomination that was Obamacare, full stop. The press surely never believed it either. They knew perfectly well that Republicans have never shown the slightest interest in passing healthcare legislation. Democrats knew it was a sham, of course. And independents…..
Aye, there’s the rub. Did independents actually believe Republicans were serious about replacing Obamacare? Or did they see the implied wink and nudge just like everyone else? This I don’t know.
Was “repeal and replace” an actual promise? Or was it merely political sloganeering best interpreted as “We hate Barack Obama, and if you do too then vote for us”? Where’s Wittgenstein when you need him?
I think Drum hits the nail on the head: the Republicans really had no intention to “replace” Obama’s health plan even if they were somehow able to “repeal” it. As for the question of whether a lie is a lie if nobody believed it to begin with, I’d argue that with the venom and ferocity against Obamacare that the Tea Party candidates harnessed from voters to get elected in 2010, Republicans and Independants really believed that that’s what they would get. Of course, they were being tricked into voting against their own interests to start wth, but I think we’re fooling ourselves if we set the bar so low that we don’t take politicians campaign promises at face value – even if we don’t neccesarily agree with them. I’d just say leave it to Republicans and Independents to hold them accountable…