Mrs. WC made WC listen to the entire Official Republican Response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech last week. This was the Official Response as delivered by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. That’s not to be confused with the other three or four Republican responses, the clearest sign yet of the shattered state of the G.O.P.
What made Rep. Rodgers’ speech so painful to hear was that it was almost entirely content-free. Lots of platitudes and feel good personal narratives; no ideas. But Rep. Rodgers did offer one substantive fact: one of her constituents, “Bette in Spokane,” faced a $700 a month health insurance premium increase “because of Obamacare.” The Spokane-based Spokesman-Review, not exactly a bastion of liberal journalism, tracked down “Bette in Spokane” and the full story is utterly different.
As reported by the Spokesman-Review, Bette Grenier, the “Bette in Spokane,” previously had a catastrophic health insurance plan that had a $10,000 deductible. Such a plan doesn’t qualify under the Affordable Care Act. She has to invest in a better health insurance plan. As described by reporter David Wasson:
But the “nearly $700 per month” increase in her premium that McMorris Rodgers cited in Tuesday night’s GOP response to the State of the Union address was based on one of the pricier options, a $1,200-a-month replacement plan that was pitched by [insurer] Asuris Northwest to Grenier and her husband, Don.
The carrier also offered a less expensive, $1,052-per-month option in lieu of their soon-to-be-discontinued catastrophic coverage plan. And, Grenier acknowledged the couple probably could have shaved another $100 a month off the replacement policy costs by purchasing them from the state’s online portal, the Health Plan Finder website, but they chose to avoid the government health exchanges.
“I wouldn’t go on that Obama website at all,” said Grenier, 58, who lives in the Chattaroy area and owns a roofing company with her husband. “We liked our old plan. It worked for us, but they can’t offer it anymore.”
Can we be clear about this? Ms. Greiner dislikes the Affordable Care Act so much that she is being economically irrational. So irrational that she will not even look at alternatives, choosing instead to go without health insurance entirely.
That’s the example that Rep. Rodgers chose to support her claim that the Affordable Care Act makes health insurance too expensive. Someone who refuses to shop.
There are two possibilities: that Rep. Rodgers failed to adequately investigate her constituent’s claim before quoting her as “proof,” or that Rep. Rodgers knew the claim was a lie and didn’t care. Is Rep. Rodgers so incompetent as to tell a national audience something without even the most elementary due diligence? Or is she simply a liar?
The thing to remember is that for purposes of the Big Lie Fallacy it doesn’t matter. In fact, the bigger, the more impudent the lie, the more effective:
Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. Mein Kampf, Chapter 10
That citation is not an error. That’s indeed the source.
What Rep. Rodgers was doing: she was using a propaganda technique, The Big Lie, a logical fallacy. She used The Big Lie to reinforce a falsehood, that health insurance under the ACA is unaffordable, that the ACA is “broken.” She reinforced her lie with a shockingly big premium boost that is a lie. Rep. Rodgers hopes that by telling a “grossly impudent lie,” so great a lie that even after the lie is exposed you’d stilll think there must be some truth to the claim the ACA has failed.
This is what the Republican Party has come to: The Big Lie. If WC believed that Neocons were still capable of knowing shame, he’d think they would be ashamed.