"Fake news" has attracted lots of attention in recent months, and indeed, seems to be an obsession for many political observers.
Part of the problem is, of course, the enormity of the 24/7 Internet & cable news propaganda machine and, in a larger context, the overall information treadwheel upon which many of us breathlessly scamper. No one has the time, energy or inclination to sift through all of the information, drill down and ferret out "facts" and "truth," which themselves seem to have definitions in flux.
But that's not all. The utter lack of critical thinking afflicting literally tens of millions of Americans is distressing, to say the least. There are preposterously phony and fake stories or talking points, and most people can spot them in an instant. But a much bigger threat is the sophistry that permeates so much of the political dialogue; the smooth sounding double-talk that political hacks, pundits, TV commentators and talk radio hosts repeat ad nauseam as if it were gospel. You know: Talking points that sound authoritative, reasonable and compelling, but which crumble like a stale croissant when exposed to just a little bit of analysis.
I have a few talking point pet peeves which I will address here -- memes that the Obama administration and its cult-like followers have used and are still using -- having to do with A) Obamacare; B) Executive orders, i.e., the Obama vs. George W. Bush tally; and C) Deportations of illegal immigrants.
First let's take a look at Obamacare. It has resulted in rapidly rising premiums, high deductibles, and insurance companies pulling out of health care exchanges because they know they'll lose money hand-over-fist if they keep doing what they're doing.
The Obama slappies have two main talking points: 1) Obamacare has increased the number of insured Americans by 22 million. In actuality, Obamacare has pushed millions into Medicaid. This means their choices of healthcare providers will be restricted, since many physicians and clinics have decided to leave Medicaid due to its pitiful reimbursement rates. And patient waiting times will be dramatically increased. Plus, Medicaid programs are in a precarious condition in many states due to rising costs and budgetary constraints. While the fiscal future of Medicaid is not as bleak as is forecast for Medicare or Social Security, it is definitely not in any condition to be taking on greater burdens as far as the eye can see.
Now let's consider the argument that millions more are insured than before Obamacare. Well, "INSURED" is a term so broad, a Mack Truck could drive through it. You can be "insured," and still pay exorbitant monthly premiums, face high deductibles, and have difficulty finding providers to give you the benefits to which you're entitled.
When Obamacare was being debated seven years ago, few people brought up the point that there is a doctor shortage, and in a broader sense, an overall healthcare provider shortage. You can promise all manner of benefits in an insurance policy, or through legislation, but if an inadequate number of doctors and other healthcare professionals are able and willing to provide those services, patients will be faced with long waiting times, and in some cases, just won't receive service. And -- this is elementary -- if a family must pay thousands of dollars annually in premiums, plus face deductibles in the thousands of dollars, what good is insurance if it breaks the bank and you often can't even use it?
Moving on to a second bit of left-wing sophistry, the matter of presidential executive orders, you may recall that the Left pushed back hard when President Obama was deservedly criticized for overstepping his authority with executive orders. When he couldn't get Congress or the Supreme Court to go along with his statist ideology, he simply ruled by executive fiat. A prime example would be his numerous executive actions waiving certain aspects of Obamacare for his cronies. Also, his orders granting sweeping powers to the EPA to clamp own on CO2 emissions, his deferral of deportations for people who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents (later overruled by the Supreme Court), and his various gun-related orders.
In other words, Obama was not shy about issuing executive orders on major issues. So while the left-wingers loved to spout off how George W. Bush issued more executive orders than Obama (291-277), they seemed oblivious to this simple fact: The content and effects of executive orders -- i.e., how major and consequential they are -- is far more significant than the number of orders. Many of Bush's orders were mere administrative tweaks -- "housekeeping," to use the vernacular. But Obama, being his imperious self, issued sweeping, major decrees.
Finally, we have the Obama supporters' disingenuous claim that Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any other American president. Well, let me resurrect a favorite quip I use to heap derision upon naive liberals who are in love with the concept of "universal healthcare" in hellhole nations such as Cuba: You could pass out bandages and aspirin to all, and you'd have "universal healthcare."
In the same absurd sense, according to the Obama administration's broad definition of "deportation," you can turn people away at the border and they count as having been deported. Admittedly, this preposterous definition began under the G.W. Bush administration, but this type of tally was especially convenient for the Obama administration to falsely claim that it actually cared about protecting our nation from an onslaught of non-assimilating immigrants, some of whom bring disease and crime, and many of whom burden the social safety net.
In an age of 140-character Tweets, pitifully short attention spans, inane garbage on TV and a severe dearth of critical thinking, simplistic sophistry is often all it takes for demagogues to brainwash the gullible.