I just saw a 30 second spot on TV featuring Fred Thompson. The impressions created by this spot? Everyone got tax cuts from Bush; the tax cuts kept the economy from crashing after 9/11; and Obama plans to raise everyone's taxes at least 10%.
Fred Thompson. Good Ol' Boy. Occasional movie actor. Crusading district attorney. (On TV, so actually a fake district attorney, but somehow, seeing him help get the bad guys thrown in jail week after week just adds to our instinct to trust him to do what's right.)
Oh, and actual U.S. Senator. Who seems to have no problem in deceiving, by implication, the American people.
The spot I saw in TV is a cut down version of this,found on the Republican National Convention blog:
Here are some of the highlights of the pitch: (emphasis mine)
President Obama and the Congress have a nasty habit of doing exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time.Note how letting tax cuts expire became tax increases.
Here’s the perfect example.
Our economy is as weak as a kitten, crawling out of a horrible recession and Congress is on the verge of letting the Bush tax cuts expire.
Yes, it's true. On Dec. 31 of this year, all of the Bush tax cuts will expire completely in one fell swoop.
Unless Congress acts, those tax hikes are going to hit like a ton of bricks.
When the Bush cuts expire, income tax rates will rise by 10 percent or more for every tax bracket.
Capital gains taxes will rise by one-third, and the top rate on dividend taxes will almost triple.
These tax increases will have a devastating effect on the economy.
They will crush jobs, deliver a fresh dose of misery to small business owners, and if you’re wondering whether or not your taxes are going to go up, here’s your answer:
If you pay taxes, your tax bill is going up — way up!
Note the claim that everyone's taxes are going to rise significantly....which is a bald-faced lie.
Note the claim that the tax cuts are what kept the economy from tanking after 9/11. And here we all thought it was our heeding Bush's call to spend, spend, spend that kept our economy strong.
The implication that taxes will rise for everyone is in the short spot. The implication that Bush's tax cuts affected everyone, not just those in upper tax brackets, is in the short spot.
Notice that I say "implication." Really effective propaganda rarely contains out-and-out lies. Just carefully crafted implications, that those with less devious minds will take as truth.
When the health care plan was being debated, I had people here in Texas swearing that they'd read the part of the plan that mandated death panels. This is the power of carefully crafted propaganda....and this is the kind of thing the Republicans do better than anyone else.
Thompson's pitch is brought to us by The League of American Voters, which did it's best to kill health care reform. A check of this organization's website reveals that it's perfectly willing to stretch the truth as well.
On Dec. 31, 2010, the historic Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 will automatically expire if Congress does not act; assuring almost every working American will be hit with a massive, across-the-board tax increase.The League has already been caught twisting the truth during the health care debate:
And according to Sourcewatch, at the time that the League was defaming Obama's health care plan:
The organization's Web site contains photos of 26 unidentified people of all ages and races on the home page, which gives an impression of a widespread and diverse membership. The site seeks monetary donations and provides a way to donate via credit card, but gives no telephone number or email address and does not list its funders. The League of American Voters is not listed in Guidestar, a widely-used database of information on nonprofits.There is now contact information on the League's site and a "staff" list, which shows that the League's officers are Bob Adams, a Republican strategist; Alexandra Preate, a "public relations consultant" who's client list includes "high level government officials, Fortune 500 companies, Wall Street firms as well as national and international media organizations"; Phil Brennan, press secretary for Gerald Ford and a correspondent for the National Review; and a conservative radio talk show host called Barry Farber.
The League describes itself as "a national non-partisan and 501(c)4 non-profit organization created to keep our elected officials in Washington and across the nation accountable." Since those in control are all conservatives, forgive me if I discount the "non-partisan" label.
So here we go again. The half-truths twisted into whole lies. The distortions and implications that people will accept as truth. The willingness to do anything, ethical or not, to stop Obama from taking actions that annoy the rich and powerful.
Be prepared for the emails "proving" that Obama will hike every working American's taxes. Be prepared for demands that Congress stop Obama's tax hikes, even though it was George Bush who said that these cuts should be temporary.
Be patient. Explain. Refute. And the next time "Law and Order" shows up on your TV, resist the urge to throw something large and heavy at Fred Thompson's image on the screen.