Like the rest of us, politicians can honestly change their mind about an issue.
But when a presidential candidate “firmly” pledges to, say, never act to raise taxes of any kind on families earning less than $250,000 a year, and then reneges, that doesn’t quite count. And then when, soon after being elected, the politician pretends that his earlier pledge doesn’t mean what it plainly meant — or even pretends that he never made the pledge at all — one suspects that the original promise was really a fib, a falsehood. From the get-go.
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos given last September during the health care debate, Barack Obama tried to escape his no-new-taxes pledge by asserting that the new taxes that would be imposed on Americans declining to buy health insurance under his health care plan would not in fact be taxes. With a straight face, Obama even disputed the dictionary definition of “tax” that Stephanopoulos recited to him.
Now we’re hearing from an administration official that the president never even made the pledge. According to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, it was merely an expression of a “preference.” We’ll have to wait until a bipartisan commission (on how to tax us more) finishes its work before we learn whether it will be viable for Obama to hew to that “preference.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.