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Former RNC Chair Michael Steele all but admitted that the Republicans are a bunch of opportunistic liars who will say anything, the truth be damned, in order to score political points.

The admission came today on “Hardball,” when he was being questioned by Michael Smerconish, who was sitting-in for Chris Matthews.  They were discussing the “Is the ACA mandate a tax or a penalty?” debate that has taken over the right-wing media ever since the Supreme Court came down with its ruling declaring the Affordable Care Act constitutional.

Here’s how the discussion went:

Smerconish: Many Americans are walking around saying that the Supreme Court confirmed it’s a tax, and people who won’t be subject to any increase are nevertheless thinking, “I’m Getting taxed.”
Now does Steele try to rebut what Smerconish has just said?  Does he go along with the Republican talking points and keep insisting, against all the facts, that it really IS a massive tax that will greatly affect many people?  No, he actually agrees with Smerconish’s assessment:
Steele:  Yeah, there is that element of confusion that now exists out there; you’re again talking about the small percentage of the people who don’t comply with the law who would be subject to this penalty/tax but the broader population believes it applies to them.
Well, so far, so good.  At least he’s willing to stick his neck out and admit his Republican colleagues are a bunch of calculating liars, spreading falsehoods in an effort to defeat Obama and the Affordable Care Act.

But does he take it to the next level?  Does he chastise them for their dishonesty? Does he make the case that the broader population wrongly believes that this is a tax precisely because his own party has deliberately and systematically misled them into believing that to be the case?   Does he point out that a campaign based on lies and falsehoods has no place in our American democracy?  Heavens no.  In fact, he spends the rest of the discussion coolly appraising how the Republicans plan on building their case on an admitted untruth.

Steele:  That’s part of the narrative that the RNC and the Republicans around the country are going to be driving home.
In other words, they’re going to be driving home a lie.  He knows they are; they know they are, but all’s fair in love and politics I guess.
Steele:  Which is why what was said on the program [Eric Fehrnstrom‘s admission that the mandate is a penalty not a tax] was kind of a gaffe because it then flips the script, with Romney, or at least his spokespeople, saying “No, it’s a penalty” and that just gives the President a wider swath to make the argument about his health plan being a penalty and not a tax.
Again, no outrage, no moral opprobrium, no holding of anyone accountable for spreading blatant falsehoods, just an inside-baseball look at how all this will affect Romney’s campaign going forward.

This is what these talking-heads on cable news are paid for, I guess, to deliver a look into the nuts-and-bolts of maneuvering and strategy and never question the ethics of what the candidates and parties are actually doing or saying.  Can anyone really blame the American public for being bewildered, misinformed and understandably tuned-out of the political process? And it is amoral, soulless individuals like Steele, who willingly cover for their duplicitous buddies, who make all this possible.

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