There’s these two guys, one named Thomas Mann, of centrist/liberal Brookings Institution, and the other being Norman Ornstein, from the conservative American Enterprise Institute They are “longtime political observers” by trade, and have won the respect of both Republicans and Democrats for their independence and incisiveness. To quote: they are “two longtime centrist Washington fixtures” who generally yak about some pretty boring issues, like global economic policy and governance. But let’s not hold that against them.
Here’s what Mann and Orenstein had to say about 2012 – the “greatest untold story of the year” was the blatant, consistent, ideology-based LYING that the Republicans resorted to all through the Presidential campaign.
In the view of Mann and Ornstein, the Republican Party displayed themselves as “ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
“I can’t recall a campaign where I’ve seen more lying going on — and it wasn’t symmetric,” said Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who’s been tracking Congress with Mann since 1978. Democrats were hardly innocent, he said, “but it seemed pretty clear to me that the Republican campaign was just far more over the top.”
One conclusion some people have drawn is that it explains why the Republicans were so completely shocked and nonplussed when they got whipped in the election – the GOP could not believe the polls because they were caught up in such a web of lies they completely lost track of reality.
Whoa! Embarrassing! How did they get away with all this LYING, anyway?
Two ways. One is the complete utter balderdash concerning “balance” in the media. This is where, if somebody makes an intelligent, reasoned, factually-researched argument on some topic, the media feels duty bound to find somebody – be it lunatic, liar, or totally-uninformed-man-on-the-street – to provide “balance”. This creates a false equivalency – where intelligent, reasoned, factual argument is scrimmaging with some loopy Birther nonsense on the same field. THEY DO NOT BELONG ON THE SAME FIELD. In a world where reason prevailed, news outlets would not be ideologically guided by people with vested interests in misleading the public, which causes them to fire the reporters that actually call out false equivalencies.
The second special and wonderful thing that completely enables certain segments of our society to
completely bullshit you mislead the citizenry is the fact that lying is not illegal in the US! But Fox News was banned in Canada because it’s illegal to broadcast lies and label it news, according to Canadian law.
Have you heard about the overturning of the Stolen Valor Act? That was a law that was passed that prevented people from entirely fabricating a heroic military record, complete with commendations and medals, often in service of their being elected to something. But the Supreme Court, led by that shining legal light John Roberts, struck down this law under the auspice of free speech. So now, lying is actually free speech, which means the SCOTUS has given the constitutional go-ahead to everybody in the US to lie about anything they want. The NRA can lie about guns. Monsanto can lie about gene-spliced food. And General Electric can pretty much lie about everything it sells.
Wow! How could THAT possibly be a problem!
So let’s get back to the issue of lying Republicans in the last election. Sure, there were lots of kind of stupid lies, like about how Mitt was really a hip, cool guy, which most anybody could see right through. Far worse in effect were the BIG lies the Republicans tirelessly wallpapered the nation with. In the words of columnist Dan Froomkin, the Repub Party’s “most central campaign principles — that federal spending doesn’t create jobs, that reducing taxes on the rich could create jobs and lower the deficit — willfully disregarded the truth.”
Republican lying gets people to vote for things that don’t make sense because sooooo many Republicans are low-information voters. Although the recent study that “proved” Fox News viewers had lower IQ’s than people who didn’t watch ANY news was a hoax, there remains the troubling fact that Fox News lies through its teeth on a regular basis. Also, people who watch Fox News have a big fat confirmation bias problem – meaning, they will pretty much swallow anything they hear that agrees with what they already believe, of which beliefs are constructed on what they already heard on Fox News. The relentless reconfirmation of ridiculousness, over and over, eventually becomes “truth” in the fertile fields of the conservative mind, aided and abetted by the astonishingly unbelievable flights of fancy the Republican National Committee kept implying was FACT.
Here are some of the real plum lines of complete bullshit from various conservative sources:
“Obama is a socialist”. Oh please. The guy is more conservative than Nixon was. Go ahead, check the record!
“Obama was born in Kenya.” How about if we don’t beat this dead horse any longer.
“More guns in the streets makes people SAFER”. Okay, check with your own internal compass on this one. Mine points straight to “obviously idiotic”.
“You didn’t build that.” Refer HERE to what Obama ACTUALLY SAID before Republicans built a vast edifice of unsupportable propaganda on top of it, complete with extended TV ads.
“President Obama controlled the Congress and got everything he wanted for the first two years of his term.” Obama had a Senate majority for only 4 months at the end of his first year. Republicans had the House, Senate and Presidency (Bush) for FOUR consecutive years! Gosh, ya think they might have done something about abortion then, if a majority of the nation actually wanted to? OR, if the Repubs didn’t need a reliable topic to whip their low-info constituents into a frothing manic frenzy every few years? Gawd, it is SO OBVIOUS.
“Obama is conducting a war on religion.” Okay, this was the Catholic contraception brouhaha. First of all, WHY DO MEN GET VIAGRA ON THEIR INSURANCE, while women have to PAY OUT OF POCKET for contraception? Let’s see, what’s more taxing on somebody’s health: having a frickin’ baby (roughly similar to carting a live watermelon around in your belly for 9 months and then shoving it out through a pea shooter) or not getting your pecker up when (and of course, WITH WHO) you want to?
And then, when Obama works out the problem in a properly inclusive way, the Repubs have a COW about the “war on religion” when he came to EXACTLY the same conclusions as 1. George Pataki, REPUBLICAN governor of NY (2001) 2. the REPUBLICAN Iowa Legislature (2000) 3. The Arkansas legislature and REPUBLICAN governor Mike Huckabee (!!) (2005) 4. REPUBLICAN Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who signed a healthcare overhaul that kept in place a contraceptive mandate signed by his REPUBLICAN predecessor. (2006)
Okay, I’m tired of tormenting myself by looking up all this offensive and disturbing proof that the Republicans are HUGE dissemblers. And DO NOT tell me “Oh, the Dems are just as bad!” THEY’RE NOT. They lied too, sure. Here and there. Peripherally. But not in the institutionally sanctioned, consistent and constant way of the Republicans, where “the party’s most central campaign principles… willfully disregarded the truth.”
But I guess when your message has been demonstrated to be crap, you resort to desperate behavior. As this well-dressed dude points out, and rightly so –