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November 14, 2013

Americans just don't like being lied to

The Daily Star

---- — It is difficult to fathom that it has only been little more than a year since America re-elected Barack Obama president by a healthy five-million-vote margin.

If healthy is the word of the day, the president’s approval rating is anything but healthy, due in large part to the disastrous rollout of the new health care law.

Whether you call it the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, it has frustrated those who have tried to use it and put a big dent in the president’s approval rating.

Anyone who has been online knows the axiom: “To err is human, to really mess things up takes a computer.” Americans didn’t like it when the program’s website wouldn’t work, but they were generally willing to blame it on the computer geeks and give the president a pass, at least temporarily.

But Americans are far less forgiving when they think they have been lied to.

All through the aforementioned campaign, Obama defended the Affordable Care Act by telling us that if we wanted to keep our health insurance, we would be permitted to do so.

But, as he admitted last week, that just isn’t the case.

Put simply, if you have an insurance plan that doesn’t come up to the standards established in the Affordable Care Act, you won’t be allowed to keep it. Whether your plan would be inadequate if you come down with a serious injury isn’t the point. The point is that you were told you could keep it if you wanted, and now you can’t.

One reason Obama was able to win a year ago despite a struggling economy and a high jobless rate was that the voters liked him. They told pollsters that he was a good family man and they trusted him.

However, a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday reported that 52 percent of Americans don’t find the president honest and trustworthy. Almost half of respondents said he “knowingly deceived” them when he said they could keep their health plans.

“Any elected official with an 8-point trust deficit is in serious trouble, said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Obama spent a good part of last week apologizing for misleading the public, and he’s promised to make things right, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy. With Republicans eager to tear the whole program asunder now being joined by Democrats nervous about the 2014 elections, Obamacare is teetering.

The president has a very short time frame — perhaps as early as Friday — to fix things. If he doesn’t, he can forget about any meaningful political agenda, including immigration reform.

And that’s the truth.