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Keller @ Large: Why Do Presidents Lie?

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(Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – When I first heard President Obama insist, back in 2009 when he first began making the case for health care reform, that “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,”

I laughed.

I’ve been in this business for a long time and have heard lots of promises from politicians that the dramatic policy change they’re proposing won’t mean dramatic change for you, just for, you know, someone else, most likely that neighbor you can’t stand because he borrowed your hedge clippers and never returned them.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

But now that Obamacare is kicking in, the truth is coming out about the president’s whopper. NBC News reports that up to 75-percent of the 14 million people who buy individual insurance policies will likely see them cancelled because they don’t meet new federal standards.

And documents show the administration knew this would happen, making a joke of the president’s 2012 claim that “if [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

Yes, and those fuzzy slides Colin Powell screened for us at the UN provided definitive proof of Iraqi WMD stockpiles, didn’t they?

Why do politicians of both parties lie to us like this?

After all, there was a case to be made for military action against Saddam Hussein just as there was for national health care reform.

But when you build your argument on a lie, you don’t bolster it, you undermine it. And in neither of these recent crimes against truth was there an urgent need to lie to get the policy through.

After 9-11 the public would have followed President Bush wherever he wanted to go. And Obamacare had the partisan votes to pass, even if they had told the truth about the cancellations to come.

The truth is, presidents are human.

They can talk themselves into stupid moves, or convince themselves that their noble goals justify a little fibbing along the way.

It’s understandable.

But it’s also infuriating, and wrong.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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