All Presidents Lie, But...

So Republicans are starting to compare the signature lies of President Clinton and President Obama.  Here they are:


“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

 “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Clinton's lie got him impeached.  The general consensus these days is that the deployment of that constitutional remedy was at least an overreaction.  The president was, after all, just lying about his private life.  And nobody really talks about Clinton as a tyrant.  There's also the even more subtle defense that, according to his peculiar definition of what sex is, Clinton didn't even lie.

But without Obama's lie, it's very, very unlikely that Obamacare could have been passed.  And without that lie in the minds of many, many voters, it's unlikely the president would have been reelected.  His lie, unlike Clinton's, had a huge consequence for public policy.

Now President Obama didn't lie under oath.  And what he said, like what anyone says that is quite literally untrue, can be parsed to seem less mendacious that it seemed at first.

The president's men and women are saying that the end—better health care for us all—justifies the means.  Machiavelli said that only decent people (fools) expect politicians to tell the truth.  But he also said that astute people assume that good leaders will do a better job than our president has in veiling a lie with clever rhetoric.

I certainly don't think President Obama should be impeached.  But his spin that when you lose your insurance, you'll be able to get a better deal isn't really cutting it either.

Let's see what happens...

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Lama Rod Owens – the price of the ticket to freedom

An ordained Lama in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Lama Rod grew up a queer, black male within the black Christian church in the American south. Navigating all of these intersecting, evolving identities has led him to a life's work based on compassion for self and others.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "What I'm interested in is deep, systematic change. What I understand now is that real change doesn't happen until change on the inside begins to happen."
  • "Masculinity is not inherently toxic. Patriarchy is toxic. We have to let that energy go so we can stop forcing other people to do emotional labor for us."
Keep reading Show less

For most of history, humans got smarter. That's now reversing.

We were gaining three IQ points per decade for many, many years. Now, that's going backward. Could this explain some of our choices lately?

The Flynn effect appears to be in retrograde. (Credit: Shutterstock/Big Think)
popular

There's a new study out of Norway that indicates our—well, technically, their—IQs are shrinking, to the tune of about seven IQ points per generation.

Keep reading Show less

Lateral thinking: The reason you’ve heard of Nintendo and Marvel

Here's why generalists triumph over specialists in the new era of innovation.

Videos
  • Since the explosion of the knowledge economy in the 1990s, generalist inventors have been making larger and more important contributions than specialists.
  • One theory is that the rise of rapid communication technologies allowed the information created by specialists to be rapidly disseminated, meaning generalists can combine information across disciplines to invent something new.
  • Here, David Epstein explains how Nintendo's Game Boy was a case of "lateral thinking with withered technology." He also relays the findings of a fascinating study that found the common factor of success among comic book authors.
Keep reading Show less