America heard Obama promise unequivocally, with no caveats or qualifications, that if you liked your health plan you could keep it, if you liked your doctor you could keep your doctor. Period.
So why would he say something as absurd as this?:
“…what we said was you could keep it, if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.” But that’s not what he said, as even a child with a memory could tell. And the royal “we” is an unhelpful dodge, too.
Obama’s approach is almost incomprehensible—unless you remember that his personality is constructed in such a way as to make it almost literally impossible for him to admit error or wrongdoing.
It also helps to the concept known as doublethink. George Orwell wrote that “doublethink” requires that a person:
…forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed.
Obama has been caught in a lie so obvious and egregious and important that he may sense, perhaps for the first time in his life, that he’s in big trouble. So if he can’t fess up, what else can he do? Create a narrative and hope that by doing so he can revise history. If he says it often enough, he can create a new truth for enough people that it gets him off the hook. It also helps to believe that truth is merely relative—although videotape makes that a bit harder to pull off than it used to be.
Obama’s also cuing politicians and pundits on his side, giving them talking points for their public appearances. He’s expecting them to exercise doublethink and get with the program.
But Obama’s face and body language do not convey confidence in this approach, unlike in the past. They are tentative, and he looks shaky and glum.
[NOTE: In comic books, what Obama is doing is apparently called "retconning":
This isn’t just an update. It’s a backwards revision. Obama is not just changing his claim going forward—he’s attempting to alter what he said in the past as well.]