April 05, 2008
More malignant than smoking?
Unbelievable as it may sound to those who think politicians are honest, lies persist on the campaign trail.
On the Obama side, there's been quite a bit of chatter over whether he's lying about the true scope of his admitted cigarette addiction. While a personal habit like smoking is something I would like to think of as a matter of no consequence to anyone except the smoker, his family, and maybe his doctor, the era of tolerance for smoking has long since come to an end. Thanks largely to the efforts of activists in Obama's own party, cigarette smokers are now vilified as criminals. Thus, to many people, Obama's cigarette habits are a more serious matter than Eliot Spitzer's call-girl habits.
Hey, I don't write these rules. I think they're ridiculous, OK? And while I normally wouldn't give a rat's ass whether a candidate smoked, in Obama's case I'd like him to just admit it if he does, and maybe speak up for his downtrodden fellow smokers. As Obama's failings go, though, I think the smoking issue is pretty inconsequential. In an ideal world, no, he should not lie. Nor in an ideal world should reporters even ask about such silliness.
As to Hillary, her latest lie is considerably more malignant. It turns out (at least, if the hospital's side of the story is correct) that a story she has been advancing as an argument in favor of socialized health care is nearly a complete lie, in every major detail. She falsely smeared a hospital for refusing care they did not refuse, to an uninsured woman who was actually insured:
Over the last five weeks, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has featured in her campaign stump speeches the story of a health care horror: an uninsured pregnant woman who lost her baby and died herself after being denied care by an Ohio hospital because she could not come up with a $100 fee.It turned out that the story was one of those second hand anecdotes that was repeated by people who knew nothing about the case, and the Clinton campaign never checked it for accuracy. Nevertheless, Hillary repeated it again and again:
saying that the story haunted her, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly offered it as a dire example of a broken health care system. At one March rally in Wyoming, for instance, she referred to Ms. Bachtel, a 35-year-old who managed a Pizza Hut, as a young, uninsured minimum-wage worker, saying, "It hurts me that in our country, as rich and good of a country as we are, this young woman and her baby died because she couldn't come up with $100 to see the doctor."So what will Hillary do now? Blame sleep deprivation and the long campaign again? Or maybe pull an Emily Litella and say "never mind"? (Has Hillary ever had a genuine Emily Litella moment?)
This bothers me, and not just because these lies keep happening, but because this particular lie it goes to the heart of what is wrong with the Clinton candidacy. She is so singlemindedly obsessed with imposing socialized medicine that she is not only willing to malign a hospital with a false story, but she then projects this lie onto the entire American health care system.
For this reason alone, she absolutely deserves to lose. Seriously, I think this is worse than the Bosnia stuff.
Whether Obama lies about smoking pales by comparison.
He can puff away to his heart's content.
(But maybe he ought to think about whether it's a good long-term idea to destroy the health care system which he might need in the future....)
MORE: Speaking of unconfirmed rumors....
Unfortunately (as I just told Simon) I'm on the way out so I don't have time for such shenanigans tonight.
However, it occurred to me that Hillary might be just the kind of person who'd fall for some of the ridiculous urban legend emails that float around endlessly. Maybe Republicans should start forwarding them to her campaign so she can work them into her speeches.
That way, she could warn her supporters at the town hall meetings about the needles at the gas pumps and stuff.
posted by Eric on 04.05.08 at 01:15 PM
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