Democracy and Power 108: Obfuscation
Politicians know their constituents are generally inattentive to their political actions. Thus, a politician’s speech is seldom precise or logically reasoned. Seeking a favorable image, politicians talk in generalities, exaggerations and obfuscation.
Obama and Univision – Sophistry and Missed Questions
Jorge Ramos of Univision recently challenged President Obama about his inability to keep his promise on immigration reform:
“You promised that,” he said. “A promise is a promise, and with all due respect … you didn’t keep that promise.”
President Obama’s answer was pure deflection. The President claimed it was his biggest disappointment, the Republicans did not cooperate, he does not control the Congress, and he is confident he will achieve the DREAM act. In the President’s words:
“There’s the thinking that the president is somebody who is all-powerful and can get everything done. . . . We have to have cooperation from all these sources,” he said. “I am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t get [immigration reform] done, but I did not make a promise that I would get everything done 100 percent when I was elected as president. What I promised was that I would work every single day as hard as I can to make sure that everybody in the country, regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they come from, that they would have a fair shot at the American Dream. And I have. That promise I kept.”
This is sophistry – political obfuscation. Sophistry is the ancient art of winning political debates, which was taught and utilized by the Athenians at the time of Socrates. Obama is a master at obfuscation and easily deflected Ramos’ question. Of course, Ramos should have countered, “Mr. President, you and the Democrats controlled everything – the Presidency, the Senate and the House – for the first two years. You selected health care reform over the DREAM Act. Mr. President you made a conscious choice of selecting ObamaCare over the DREAM Act.”
Or… did Mr. Ramos have another motive? Every political reporter understands the President selected Obamacare over the DREAM Act, the unions’ Card Check, and the greens’ cap and trade tax. With that knowledge, Mr. Ramos’ feigned attack was intended to put the DREAM Act at the top of the President’s to-do list for his possible second term.
Univision reporters missed their goal a second time when the President stated that major change – ObamaCare – only occurs with strong support outside of Washington. Again, the President stated:
“The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments, like health care, got done. …”
Where were the Univision reporters on this deceit? ObamaCare has never had outside support. Obamacare was an inside job.
First, the Obama Administration used threats and bribes to conquer and appease the health care industries – AARP, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, doctors, health care unions and more. Secondly, the President, Harry Reid in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House used all of their coercive powers and procedural manipulations to pass legislation which was mostly unknown to Members of Congress, and much less understood by the public. Let us not forget that Nancy Pelosi stated, “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it….”
The results from the Univision questions:
- President Obama and sophistry had a good interview.
- Univision delivered incompetent reporting, but managed to place immigration reform high on the President’s must accomplish list.
FreedomWorks Letter to Congress in Support of Fiscal Commision Act (H.R. 5779)