How to lie, cheat, and steal your way to elected office

by on August 21, 2012 · 4 comments

in Government, Politics

Republicans embark on an unprecedented campaign of dishonesty and deceit.

So this is what it’s come down to.  Republicans can’t win on the merits of their policy ideas, so they have to resort to deliberate and systematic deception in order to win.  And people are buying into it like the fools they are.  In fact, that’s what Republicans are counting on:  That the voters are uninformed dolts that don’t pay attention to detail and swallow the hook of convenient sound bites that fit their ideology, accepting them without question.

Start with the fact that Republican claims of grave concern over the economy.  The truth is that they revel in the slow economic recovery because they think it’s good for them politically.  As long as the economy is still languishing, they can simply blame it on President Obama and spin it into political gold for themselves.  The truth is that they have no interest in seeing the economy improve until they can reclaim control of both houses of Congress and the White House, if even then.

In the 2010 mid-term election, Republicans claimed that “jobs were their #1 priority.”  Yes, jobs was their number one priority by-which-they-mean-abortion, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow likes to point out.  Since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2010, they have not originated a single jobs bill.  Not a single piece of legislation that would serve to put unemployed people back to work.

In other words, they lied.  “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” was not actually any kind of priority for them at all.  Improving the economy is not a priority for them.  In fact, as noted above, keeping the economy stagnant appears to be among their actual priorities.  The New York Times recently reported that Republican budget wunderkind (and now vice presidential nominee)   Paul Ryan deliberately scuttled the proposed budget deal that was being negotiated by President Obama and House Majority Leader John Boehner.  The deal would have combined modest tax increases (very modest) with spending cuts and some changes to Medicare and Social Security.

But Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor couldn’t allow that to happen.  It might have been the right and good thing for the country, and it probably would have helped to bring the debt and deficit down, but it would also have been very good for Barack Obama politically.  They were concerned that any kind of debt deal would “pave the way for Obama’s easy re-election,” and that they just could not have.  After all, the stated number one priority of the Republican Party is to make Barack Obama a one term president.

Even conservatives think that Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the economy.

In a sense you can say that jobs are a priority for them:  Their own jobs, and creating more jobs for people of like mind in Congress.  But it certainly isn’t your job or your friend’s or cousin’s or sister’s job that concerns them.  What is a priority for Republicans, though, is abortion.  H.R. 3, the third bill introduced in the 112th Congress was an anti-abortion bill.  And according to GovTrack.us, 67 bills in the 112th Congress were either abortion related or had anti-abortion riders attached to bills that had absolutely nothing to do with abortion, including H.R. 5855, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, and the National Defense Authorization Act.

There have also been several efforts to pass a federal personhood amendment along the lines of the failed effort in Mississippi and Colorado (an amendment that has already failed spectacularly twice in Colorado).  Vice Presidential pick Paul Ryan is among 64 co-sponsors—all Republicans– of H.R. 212, called the “Sanctity of Human Life Act.”  It’s a bill that is so bad that it could make in-vitro fertilization illegal, and it could open up rape victims to vulnerability to lawsuits if they get pregnant by their rapist and fail to carry the baby to term.

American jobs are not a priority for Republicans.  But voter fraud is, by which I mean enacting laws that will prevent certain minority groups from being able to vote—groups of people who typically vote Democratic.  Republicans have promoted and enacted laws that make it more difficult for people to vote, all in an effort to  solve a voter fraud problem that simply does not exist.  What will happen is that 10 million eligible voters in Pennsylvania will be turned away from the polls; church groups in Ohio who traditionally participate in early voting after services the Sunday before election day will no longer be allowed to do so.  Ohio Republicans have worked to game the system so that counties with Republican majorities would have extended voting hours, while counties with Democratic majorities would have extended voting hours limited, all in an effort to suppress the black vote, and thus the Democratic vote.  In Florida, a voter ID law is in the process of being enacted that has been proven to disproportionally affect minorities, including blacks and Latinos.

Hell, Pennsylvania House Majority leader Mike Turzai flat out admitted that his state’s voter ID law was specifically enacted to help Mitt Romney win his state, the first time a Republican will have won Pennsylvania in a presidential election in decades.

They can’t win on the merits, so they have to cheat and steal the election.

But there’s more.  Oh, so much more!  They lie about Obama’s record.  They like to tell us about how the Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare.  Not true:  It cuts waste and fraud perpetrated by private insurers, but not benefits, and actually strengthens prescription drug benefits for senior.  The ACA also extends the life of Medicare, whereas Mitt Romney’s plan would have it insolvent by 2016.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has repeatedly accused the Obama administration of doing away with work requirements altogether, saying that “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work, and you wouldn’t have to train for a job.  They just send you a welfare check.”  It’s an assertion that earned the rare “Pants on Fire” rating from Politifact, as in “liar liar pants on fire!”

They insist that Obama said that business owners didn’t build their own businesses; that government did it for them.  What the president said was that those small businesses and business owners didn’t build the roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that has allowed their businesses to operate in the first place.  Government did that.  But accusing Obama of saying that “government built your businesses” sounds better to the right wing and TEA Party base, so that’s what they’re running with.  They then trot out business owner after business owner who insist that they built their businesses all by themselves, with no help from anyone, especially not the government.  But they lie, as just about every last one of them has depended on government contracts, or has received some sort of government loan or other government support.  Government may not have built that, but it certainly helped.

Republicans continuously tell us that they supply side/trickle down/voodoo economic policies will help grow the economy, despite the empirical proof we have that their supply side/trickle down/voodoo economic policies have led to the most anemic economic growth in the post World War II era.  But more tax cuts for the rich are needed to grow the economy, they say.  By making the rich richer, everyone else will get richer too!  But that’s a lie.  And we know it’s a lie because we’ve been seeing it for the last 30 years.  The economy thrives when the middle class thrives, and the middle class is not thriving right now.  In fact, it’s dying.

It’s been an extraordinary presidential race thus far; extraordinary in its dishonesty, and it’s all coming from one side.  Republicans can’t win on the facts, so they lie.  They can’t win on the merits of their policies and their ideas, so they cheat.  They don’t want an honest debate about policy because they know they will lose that debate.  Badly.

The sad thing is that far too many voters are far too gullible.  Far too many don’t care for facts; they care only for easily digestible sound bites because facts can be far too confusing and require far too much thought and effort.  And they’ll vote for what sounds good when they should vote for what’s honest and true.

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Andy Cohen

Andy spent 15 years working in the highest levels of the San Diego professional sports world, including both the Padres and the Chargers. He began his foray into writing while a volunteer for Francine Busby's 2010 Congressional campaign, eventually becoming a contributor to the now defunct SDNN. He has reported on local and national politics for both the OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press. When not reporting news and events, he offers political and policy commentary from a liberal perspective, occasionally turning back to his sports roots. While he does not hide his more liberal political bent, Andy always strives for fairness in the telling of a story.
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avatar Anna Daniels August 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Andy- I would point out the abysmal job the media has done in calling out the lies. Citizens are left hearing two conflicting stories about the future of Medicare, for example. (Politifact, which you mentioned, screwed up so badly on their assessment of the Ryan plan that I stopped reading them altogether.) So then citizens have to decide which guy they trust the most. The Republican SuperPacs take care of the spin on that issue. So it boils down to what you, and every other journalist, is willing to call out as untrue. You have clearly embraced that responsibility.

avatar Andy Cohen August 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Yeah, I normally wouldn’t cite Politifact since they often get things so craptastically wrong. But this is a case where the Romney campaign earned themselves the rare and dubious “Pants on Fire” rating. They don’t often dole that one out, especially to Republicans. So in this case I decided to use them.

avatar John Lawrence August 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

The brou ha ha over the $716 billion that Romney says Obama is taking out of Medicare is the biggest lie of all. At the heart of this is the Medicare Advantage program which is a program designed by Republicans to turn traditional Government run Medicare into a privatized plan. It’s the camel’s nose under the tent for the privatization of Medicare in that it’s Medicare provided by private insurance companies. Many seniors have been enticed into Medicare Advantage because the private health insurance companies provide some additional benefits over traditional government run Medicare such as a free annual physical exam, something that was not available for traditional Medicare recipients until it was instituted under the Affordable Care Act. It’s ridiculous that Medicare recipients should not have a free annual physical exam in the first place.

In addition to instituting Medicare Advantage during the Bush administration, Republicans set up the fee structure so that doctors were paid more for the same procedure than they would be paid under traditional Medicare. The whole idea was to lure both parients and doctors away from traditional Medicare and onto a privatized Medicare plan which is what Medicare Advantage is.

The $716. billion that Obama is taking out of Medicare represents the additional money doctors were paid under Medicare Advantage so that under Obamacare doctors treating patients with Medicare Advantage will be paid exactly the same as doctors performing the same procedure for patients with traditional Medicare. What Romney and Ryan would do is restore the financial incentives for doctors and patients to choose Medicare Advantage and undermine government run traditional Medicare. It would continue the privatization of Medicare for seniors about to be eligible for Medicare and those already on it who might be encouraged to switch.

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