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Boehner Makes Lying an Art in Dismissing CBO “Opinion” on Health Care Reform

It is not unusual for politicians to lie, but, in his efforts to repeal health care reform, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has turned it into a metaphysical art form. In his first press conference as speaker, Boehner was asked to defend his party’s official claim that the new health care law will increase the deficit despite the CBO conclusion that it would in fact decrease the deficit by $230 billion (PDF).

Instead of a reasoned explanation based on what he felt were analytic flaws on the part of the CBO, he decided to simply dismiss the widely respected non-partisan institute as having merely an opinion. Boehner said, “I do not believe repealing the job killing health care law will increase the deficit. The CBO is entitled to their opinion.”

Simply declaring that facts don’t exist, are unimportant, or are mere opinions because they don’t fit political or ideological positions is easy for a politician. What brings Boehner’s lie to a metaphysical art form is that within moments of using this justification for his lie, he contradicts his defense with another lie.

Less than two minutes later, in that same press conference, in further defense of the Republican position, Boehner claims, “I don’t think anybody in this town believes repealing Obamacare is going to increase the deficit.”

Not only is this obviously a casual lie, since clearly Boehner knows most the Democrats believe repeal would increase the deficit, but what brings it to a new level is that, in dismissing the CBO, Boehner himself mentioned their analysis/”opinion”/belief that repeal would increase the deficit. Within minutes of declaring that the CBO’s position is that repeal would increase the deficit, the speaker had no problem claiming nobody in Washington holds that opinion.

Boehner doesn’t just ignore reality with his lies, he carelessly ignores own claims with his lies. His statements are not only false, they lack even an internal logical consistency. It is the political equivalent of the statement, “this sentence is a lie.”

This is not just splitting hairs, it is an example of how Republicans win the messaging war–lies big and small repeated often enough that they go unquestioned, so people end up believing they are true. Advancing the core message is more important than reality or even logical consistency from one sentence to the next.

Boehner’s lying-as-art-form is unlikely to go away, given how it has proved to be incredibly effective in convincing the public to believe literally the exact opposite of reality.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at