Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Truth is a stranger

In much of our politics, be it local, Virginia, or nationwide, the truth has become a stranger.

All politicians of whatever stripe, from whatever era, and manipulating whatever form of government engage in exaggeration and boasts, in selective forgetting and remembering, and in false advertising. But in modern American politics, especially on the Republican side, the truth has become an absolute stranger.

Consider that the forces driving today's GOP reject science (until they need a transplant) in fields such as biology and climatology. They refuse to accept the president's (how many ways can you prove it is valid) birth certificate. Republicans, tea partiers, and their honchos on Fox and talk radio regularly engage in spewing "false facts." Oh, I guess they sound knowledgable and convincing to the ditto heads, but truth has become a stranger. Facts don't matter. Repeat lies often enough and big enough and there are fools who will believe.

As Leonard Pitts noted in a recent column, "...Americans increasingly occupy two realities, one based on the conviction that facts matter, the other on the notion that facts are only what you need them to be in a given moment."

The recent Supreme Court decision on health care has ginned up the Republican "false facts" talking machine to new levels of dishonesty. Mitt Romney, for example, just earned 4 Pinocchios for Romney’s claim on an Obama health care pledge for twisting and perverting the meaning of 2008 campaign statements made by candidate Barack Obama.

Before the ink was close to dry on Chief Justice Roberts' decision, the Fox fact-free zone was deriding the mandate and penalty as a "tax." Arrogant Eric Cantor went into hyper-lie mode as he promised to hold a (political posturing and meaningless) vote on July 11 to repeal Obamacare. Those talking points have filtered down to local tea partiers and wingntus and are being heard on call-in shows and in barber shops in the Shenandoah Valley.

Permit this bird to push back against the distortions and false facts currently littering my nest. I guess the  mandate and penalty in the Affordable Health Care Act is a "tax" in the broad sense that every payment to government is essentially a tax. Shenandoah National Park entrance fees are a "tax." Get caught failing to drive by the rules you get a fine... I mean penalty... I mean "tax." The mandate and penalty in the Affordable Health Care Act is quite similar to the well established principle that if you want to license a car and drive on our government built roads you have to have insurance. If you fail to do so, you must pay a uninsured motorist fee... or a penalty... or a "tax."

Ezra Kline @ The Washington Post.
Another oft repeated Fox/Republican false fact that is making political rounds locally as well as nationally is that Obamacare represents the largest tax increase in history. Wrong. False. Untrue. As the Washington Post's Ezra Kline concludes, "So no, the Affordable Care Act isn’t the 'biggest tax hike in history.' It’s not even the biggest tax hike in the past 60 years. Or 50 years. Or 30 years. Or 20 years."

I'd like to add that the mandate and penalty, if it is a "tax," is (like the uninsured motorist fee) a voluntary tax. You choose to be irresponsible and not be insured... then, and only then, you pay the tax. It is all about personal responsibility and paying your own way. But, we shouldn't be surprised that Republicans only give lip service to personal responsibility and paying the costs of what they want.

In their zest for removing President Obama and putting politics above nation, Republicans appear to have taken to heart the advice of Mark Twin when he wrote in a letter to San Francisco Alta California, dated May 17, 1867, "The most outrageous lies that can be invented will find believers if a man only tells them with all his might."

More Mark Twain wisdom on lying liars and the lies they tell.


James Young said...

Or this represents the typical pseudo-intellectual, sanctimonious arrogance of the far Left.

Civus Vallus said...

I wonder what type of reception you would garner if you were honest with the boys down at the Barbershop about your contempt of them?

Moon Howler said...

It sounded right on to me.

As to the barbershop question, sometimes its just best to get your hair cut, exchange pleasantries and move on. Its probably not a wise idea to talk politics while you are getting your hair cut.

Belle Rose said...

No contempt for the men in the barbershop. Sometimes I take Moon Howler's advice and we keep the talk away from politics, religion, or trucks. But, if someone insists on citing "false facts" (for which I do have contempt) I, in a civil tone, attack the idea without attacking the person.