One of the great lessons of Vietnam was that it taught us that our elected leaders lie to us. But when it came to Vietnam, because the truth was coming from a half a world away, it was easier for political leaders to hide that truth and perpetuate their lies. It's amazing to me, however, that elected officials continue to lie to their constituents when the truth is right there for everyone to see.
And why Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, someone I once credited with thinking independently, continues to drink his party's ideological kool-aid when everyone with sight knows the man is lying, or can discover for him or herself that he is lying, is just too much to fathom.
But what makes it worse is that if Rep. Hensarling really did testify Saturday before the House Rules Committee - testified under oath, that is - he should be charged with perjury and expelled from the House of Representatives.
I, along with I'm guessing a large number of his constituents, received an e-mail from Hensarling Saturday in which he said "I testified before the House Rules Committee this afternoon because I am trying, even at this late stage in the debate, to stop a government take over of health care."
Anyone who has read the health care reform legislation passed by the Senate and the one that will be passed Sunday in the House knows for a fact that there's is nothing in either bill that remotely resembles what any honest person can call "a government take over a health care." There is not even a public option in either bill. Nada. None. Zero. It doesn't exist. No one will be able to purchase government-run health insurance because it still won't exist for anyone not on Medicare.
But that's not the only lie Hensarling tries to perpetuate. He also writes in his e-mail, "Throughout my career, I have warned about how wasteful Washington spending will force a mountain of debt upon our children and grandchildren. Not only will this legislation decrease the quality of health care in America, it will force us to borrow even more money from the Chinese to pay for it."
Where do I start with all the lies in those two sentences? I guess here is as good a place as any: How can he say "this legislation will decrease the quality of health care." Again, if you actually read the legislation being considered, steps are taken to make sure that the quality of health care increases under this proposal while, at the same time, reducing the cost of that care. What's more, the independent, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the bills and said, not only are they revenue neutral, they will actually reduce the deficit. If Hensarling ever decided to stop lying he would, if he really was concerned about "wasteful Washington spending," support this legislation that reduces the deficit while providing the same health insurance Hensarling himself receives by being a member of Congress to millions of other Americans.
I really should be realistic about this. Hensarling doesn't give a damn about "wasteful government spending." (If he did, he would, like I said above, support these bills which reduce the deficit and would have never supported the Bush tax cuts that got us into this massive deficit to begin with.) Hensarling is merely a puppet and the insurance companies, which oppose any legislation that forces them to act compassionately and actually compels them to provide what they are selling, are pulling his strings. If he was honest, he would come out and admit this but, as the facts reveal, Hensarling is a liar.