It’s always strange to see an ostensibly partisan publication go after someone in their own party, and even more so when the source is notorious for how slanted its “articles” are — like the National Review. So when right-wing columnist Ben Shapiro decided to take on Donald Trump in his latest column for the Buckley-founded Bible of Conservatism, I expected to be shocked. “Stop Lying” right in the title? Was Shapiro being serious?
President Trump represents the notion, ascendant in Republican circles, that the only way to win elections is to fib to the American people. Power is its own justification, and there is no better way to demonstrate power than by promulgating a big lie. That fits with Trump’s view of the world, in which success is its own virtue.
Boy, was I let down. Ben Shapiro wasn’t about to buck the trend: He was admonishing the Melanized Mengele for trying to doctor the truth about health care.
Turns out Mr. Shapiro wasn’t overly concerned with the actual, meaningful lies that the Pants-on-Fire President has been telling since the middle of last year (or the meaningless ones he’s been telling his whole life, like how wealthy he actually is). Shapiro didn’t care that literally everyone connected to Trump has been caught lying about their involvement with Russia. No mention of Trump’s desperate hope that his lie about being wiretapped will somehow be vindicated just because he believes it. Nary a peep about the pledges Donnie Dodger has reneged on from his campaign — no divestment, no released tax returns, so much for not taking a salary or spending time on vacation, and who was going to pay for that wall again?
I suppose it should hardly be surprising that a publication that advocated in favor of white supremacy when it was founded would revert back to the standard conservative trope about promising “free stuff” — as in health care for everyone — as the lie most central to The Biggest Loser’s failings so far as leader of the free world. Shapiro paints a picture in which actually getting everyone health care is secondary to making sure they know they don’t have a right to it.
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Shapiro and the rest of the Republican Universe are mistaken about a very key point: There is a difference between saying a thing you know to be untrue and saying something that turns out to not be true.
Obama remained personally popular for his entire presidency. But his chief achievements are on the verge of destruction because he lied: He told people they could have everything, and then he delivered less than that. He told Americans that they could keep their doctors if they liked them; they couldn’t. He told Americans that they would not see rising premiums; they did.
If premiums rose after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the failing on the part of Obama and the Democrats was in not properly conveying to Americans that the two were unrelated: premiums are controlled by the insurance industry, and always go up, always at their whim. The promise of “free” health care was never made by any President, let alone Donald Trump.
Trump’s lie was that he even cared about the health of Americans.