In the campaign of 1956, I wore an “I Like Ike” button, but I was only eight years old. I actually understood many of the issues four years later, and I was the only member of my family to support Kennedy. Now I have followed over half a century of campaigns and have seen plenty of zingers in that time, but I have never seen a campaign where a party’s entire effort was based on deception, until now.
Honesty is a lost art. Facts are for losers. The truth is dead.
Whatever the term of art, they all signal a dark turn, and, this week, the Republican Party took that turn with reckless abandon.
Lying is certainly nothing new in politics. One could even argue that it’s fundamental to politics. Saying incredible things in a credible way is the art; using math of vapors to sell dreams of smoke is the craft.
But Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech on Wednesday took things up a notch.
Sally Kohn, a contributor to Fox News, said:
“Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.”
Business Insider called it “factually shaky.” A Washington Post blog called it a “breathtakingly dishonest speech.” Salon’s Joan Walsh said the speech was “stunning for its dishonesty” and contained “brazen lies.” Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic used the headline: “The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?” You get the picture.
So much was written about this and other Republican attempts to distort and deny the truth this week. But I’m beginning to worry that many Americans are growing weary of isolating the lies, coming as they did in torrents… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NY Times>
Photo credit: Sodahead.com
Ryan’s speech may have been the worst, but entire convention was wall-to-wall lies. Ed Schultz catalogued three days of lies in the Republican convention.
Remember that everything said by a Republican in that video was a lie.
The stock argument to counter this is that the Obama campaign is doing the same thing, so the two parties are equivalent. But examining the record disproves the equivalence myth. Here are what the fact checkers claim are lies from the Obama campaign.
The truth-twisting has not been limited to Republicans. Democrats gleefully repeated an out-of-context quote that made it sound as if Mr. Romney enjoys firing people. An outside group supporting Mr. Obama ran an advertisement giving the unfair impression that Mr. Romney was responsible for the death of the wife of a steelworker who lost his job and his health insurance when Mr. Romney’s old company, Bain Capital, closed down the plant where he worked.
And the Obama campaign ran a commercial falsely suggesting that Mr. Romney opposes abortion even in cases or rape or incest; he says he supports such exceptions…
Inserted from <NY Times>
Democrats did repeat the quote that Romney enjoys firing people out of context, but I can’t see where context changed the meaning.
In the first major example the ad said that a women lost her health care when Bain raided her husband’s employer. Without the ability to pay, she could not get the cancer treatment she needed and subsequently died. These things are true. The ad never said Romney was responsible for her death. The only stretch in the ad was a statement that Romney does not care about the effects his business practices have on peoples lives. Considering the thousands of lives that Romney devastated while at Bain, and considering that he never spent a penny of his vast profits to mitigate those effects, concluding that he does not care is hardly a stretch.
The second ad is centered around Romney’s own statements that he does not support such exceptions. That is not at all deceptive. The only question of deception here is was Romney lying when he said he does not support exceptions, or was Romney lying when he said he does?
The bottom line here is that there is no equivalence between the parties on the subject of campaign lies. That is because only one campaign needs to lie to have a chance to elect their candidates. What better reason could there be not to elect that party’s candidates?