Friday, June 12, 2009

Lies Have the Advantage, It's True

When did the Republicans grow so hateful? Did it begin with Joe McCarthy back in the 50s? Before him came Richard Nixon and his smear campaign in California against Helen Gahagan Douglas in 1950, calling her "The Pink Lady" and "pink right down to her underwear."

When Nixon got nominated for president in 1968 he chose Agnew of all people for VP, to go with the Republican "Southern
Strategy" (i.e., racism), and appeal to the "silent majority." As President, Nixon dressed the White House guards in splashy banana-republic looking uniforms, and he compiled "enemies' lists" of people to attack with government power. His fall from power was just.

Ronald Reagan introduced the age of illusion and deficit spending, separating us from reality while engaging in Iran-Contra trading arms for hostages with a big sunny smile. Then H.W. Bush, who, everyone seems to think, was the perfect gentleman, ran the dirtiest campaign I can remember against Michael Dukakis and I think that's when the right wing really got its grip. H.W. allowed Lee Atwater to run those Willie Horton revolving-door and Kitty Dukakis flag-burning ads. Lo, the smears worked!! Democrat Bill Clinton devised Rapid Response teams, and he won in '92 due to Ross Perot and a weak economy; but then the Republicans came sailing back with Newt Gingrich and his Contract with America. (Even so, Clinton reversed the Reagan deficits and delivered a surplus.)

The vitriol and lies against the Clintons turned out to be so much fun that the hate-filled self-righteous right wing got addicted to it. They also discovered the power of the party line, literally. You can tune in to news interviews and talk shows and hear the same Orwellian stuff from all Republican speakers: "death tax" e.g. "Fuzzy math."

You know the old saying, "A lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." The lie is highly organized, unprincipled, unhobbled by facts or even decency.

Now, I'm not saying the left didn't go to town on W. Bush; but not by lying. After all he DID steal the election and preside over 9/11 (which now somehow Cheney is using in the right's favor. "No attacks since 9/11"? Hello? Whose watch did that happen on??) W. DID use false intelligence to start a stupid stupid war which probably had Oedipal underpinnings. In my opinion, some kind of contact with reality keeps us Democrats grounded--many would say in weakness!

Which leaves a disadvantage against Republican Party constantly playing offense, and loose with the truth. In 2008 sanity did achieve victory over a scary sold-out old man and his terrifying demagogic VP choice. But now, after a week or so of introspection ("Should we change? Nah!"), Republicans delight to stir up racist anti-Muslim lies against the President. Nor have they abandoned their low-taxes free-market ideology despite evidence supplied by real-world consequences. True, the opposition got out a little ahead of the ball when they announced they were terribly against WHOMEVER Obama would pick for the Supreme Court; then proceeded to prove it with zeal against Judge Sotomayor. Perhaps we can get hopeful that Gingrich et al. had to back down a bit. Geez, he's starting to look like the reasonable one, which is frightening in itself.

And all along the right-wingers skillfully co-opt the media. Run a Willie Horton ad and get free coverage by news shows running it over and over again. Ditto swift boats. Then: they bought their own channel, Fox News! But even the supposedly non-partisan journalists give credence to the lies. The Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman pointed out years ago that if the Republicans came out and said the earth was flat, the headline would be "Shape of Earth: Views Differ!"

May we see the fast traveling lies bounding over the edge of it, then.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful!! You have addressed the situation very well. It seems to me that the power struggle always shortchanges average Americans. Those in power who are in a position to bring about positive changes are kept so busy fending off the lies and attacks there is little time left to actually DO anything.
Very sad and bewildered, Sarah

3:37 PM  
Blogger Doc Bubbles said...

Hmm, I was watching Fox News after the shootings at the Holocaust Museum. I wish someone else had the chutzbah to talk about anti-semitism and how it is encouraged by the Left's anti-Zionism.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Pru said...

DB.: Very interesting point, and I wonder if any journalists have even thought about it. Might check out Jeff Jacoby.
You were watching Fox News??

11:06 PM  

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