Lies of the Union: Obama’s Half-Truths and Blatant Falsehoods
Obama’s State of the Union insults intelligence of American people, U.S. Supreme Court
by Bill Levinson
Barack Obama’s first State of the Union speech forfeited the trust and respect of the American people, and in fact that China calls the Mandate of Heaven: the social contract in which the leader’s utility to the people affirms his right to lead. A leader who tells half-truths and outright falsehoods forfeits his people’s trust and respect, and accordingly his right to be anything but a lame duck figurehead. Let’s begin with his half-truth about his health care agenda.
- Obama: Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses.
This is at best a half-truth. The half that is true is the fact that, under the pending legislation, you can keep your existing health insurance under a grandfather clause. The half that Obama leaves out is the fact that, if you wish to change your insurance, or the policy itself changes substantially, you have to buy a plan that meets government requirements. As an attorney, Barack Obama should be the first person to recognize that a half-truth is no better than a lie, noting that a half-truth would violate a witness’ oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
This alone makes the President of the United States forsworn, the ethical equivalent of a perjurer, and a prevaricator who has no respect whatsoever for the intelligence of the American people. Next comes his outright lie about a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling about corporate contributions to political campaigns.
- Obama: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.)
Not only did Barack Obama blindside the U.S. Supreme Court with this accusation, it is a flat-out lie and Obama, as a Constitutional law instructor, knows it is a flat-out lie. As stated by the Wall Street Journal,
- Let’s unpack the falsehoods. The Court didn’t reverse “a century of law,” but merely two more recent precedents, one from 1990 and part of another from 2003. Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce in 1990 had set the Court in a markedly new direction in limiting independent corporate campaign expenditures. This is the outlier case that needed to be overturned.
…The President’s claim about “foreign entities” bankrolling U.S. political campaigns is also false, since the Court did not overrule laws limiting such contributions. His use of “foreign” was a conscious attempt to inflame public and Congressional opinion against the Court.
Another Wall Street Journal article adds,
- Judge not the words themselves, but their effect on the audience. The president fully expected that his hundreds of supporters in the legislative branch would stand and cheer, while the justices remained seated and silent, unable to respond even afterward. Moreover, the president’s speech was only released about 30 minutes before the event, after the justices were already present. In short, the head of the executive branch ambushed six members of the judiciary, and called upon the legislative branch to deride them publicly. If you missed it, check the YouTube video. No one could reasonably believe in their heart that this was respectful behavior.
Then there is the substance of the remark itself. It was factually wrong. The Court’s ruling in Citizens United concerned the right of labor unions and domestic corporations, including nonprofits, to express their views about candidates in media such as books, films and TV within 60 days of an election. In short, it concerned freedom of speech; in particular, an independent film critical of Hillary Clinton funded by a nonprofit corporation.
While the Court reversed a 1990 decision allowing such a ban, it left standing current restrictions on foreign nationals and “entities.” Also untouched was a 100-year-old ban on domestic corporate contributions to political campaigns to which the president was presumably referring erroneously.
“Erroneously” is extremely generous, noting that Barack Obama is himself an attorney who taught Constitutional law. The bottom line is that Barack Obama knowingly and willfully told at least one half-truth and at least one flat-out falsehood in his State of the Union, and this is what one says to somebody who knowingly and willfully tells half-truths and outright falsehoods: YOU LIE.