One of the most irritating things about political rhetoric is the use of the anecdote. You hear it in campaigns all the time — “People out there are suffering. Like Ida Johnson of Nashville, Tennessee, whose dog died while she was suffering from cancer, polio and shingles.” Anecdotes matter more to people than data, of course, which is why they offer up these allegedly typical stories so often. But you have to at least get the stories right. Ted Cruz got one flagrantly wrong in his fauxlibuster last week:
One of them involved the case of John Connelly, a Rutgers student who found himself in debt, without a permanent job, and forced to sleep on his friend’s couch. His story was one that was all too common in the age of Obama, Cruz concluded.
Well, it turns out that Connelly isn’t the biggest fan of Cruz. What’s more, he is actually a beneficiary of the very health care law that Cruz was protesting during his speech. And in an appearance on MSNBC Friday morning, Connelly explained just how ironic it was that the senator would use his story to bludgeon the president and the Affordable Care Act.
“A friend of mine called me the next morning as I was on the way to an optometrist appointment …. [and said], ‘While Ted Cruz was talking about why the ACA’s bad, he mentioned your name.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s funny. I’m heading to an appointment I can only go to because of Obamacare.’”
So not a victim of Obamacare. In fact, the exact opposite, an example of how someone in hard financial times can still have health insurance. And if facts had anything at all to do with political reality, that mistake might actually matter.