The Republican National Convention was a gathering of liars practicing their trade, either wrestling truth into a sack and pounding it to death or ignoring it completely. It was an exercise in stacking one lie on top of another, seeing who could create the biggest pile, as if they were frantically stacking sandbags against the approaching Isaac.
The Republican convention was a lie fest. Paul Ryan's speech stood out because it was one blatant lie after another and they were often specific. Mitt Romney's lies took the form of inaccurate generalizations and avoidance. People of lesser importance, from Christie to Rubio to Eastwood lied.
More important, they lied because they are a cabal of the elite who believe that the public, their followers included, can be led around by a nose ring of lies. Have to be, in fact, because if they were told the truth the public would reject them.
They lied relentlessly and without remorse because they have no moral core. They are simple-minded. They simply want more money and no amount is ever enough. They project the fantasy world in which they live – a world very much apart from the reality of their followers – in phrases and pictures of fiction. And it's all just a pipe dream used for manipulation, with an ending that gets them more money.
They even adopted the goofy economics of a fantasy writer with a fantasy name, Ayn Rand, and pictured themselves as, in the phrase of Digby on her Hullabaloo blog, Galtian Overlords. Only they buffered it, shielding the crowd from the fundamentals of that fantasy, while they themselves took it to heart.
They lied about themselves and their policies and the results of their policies. That's because they didn't care about the Americans who would be the most harmed by the results. Middle-class taxpayer money would be shoveled out of the Treasury of the United States and into their pockets, as it has been for the last thirty years. They would suck on the federal government teat while denouncing the act. The country would suffer, most of the people in the country would suffer, but their pockets would be overflowing with greenbacks and that's all that matters.
The entire convention was designed to convince people to let them do things that made the convention-goers poorer and the speakers richer. There was no other point.
And no one made the mistake that their lies were the product of ignorance. They knew when they were saying something that wasn't true. Truth was not a factor. Getting The Gullibles to do what they wanted was the sole goal in their fracas of fibs.
They've made claims, those claims were exposed as lies, and they continue to make them because "they work."
The victims of Fox News grinned and applauded the elites on the podium who plan to take away their Social Security and Medicare, who sent their jobs to China, who want corporations and the ultra-rich to be unaccountable and unregulated, and who want to destroy any remaining power that the middle-class has over their lives. What fun!
There are only three groups that can call them out and stop the lies: the media, Democratic politicians, and the public. It's hard to develop hope when you look at that group. Media are large corporations which are Republican and depend on Republican corporations for advertising income. Democratic politicians depend, like all politicians, on wealthy donors, the elite, because campaign advertising costs so much. And the public, in the main, is only tangentially informed about most topics, which doesn't mean they don't have strong views.
So a Convention of Lies seems perfectly natural.
Other presidents and other presidential candidates have lied. George W. Bush lied to start a war and got a lot of people killed and maimed, lied to deregulate (and non-regulate) us into a depression, redistributed huge wealth from the middle-class to the elites, and lied in order to shred the Constitution and destroy individual freedoms and democracy. And Bill Clinton lied about a brief affair. And to the press that makes them equal. Useless fools that they are.
Campaign finance reform should be Job One, but it doesn't happen because the people who have to vote on it are the people who depend on it. So Republicans thrive under rules that allow money to be the main factor in elections, while Democrats fear losing the battle and alienating big donors.
The public? Who has time to study all this stuff and find out the truth? We develop what we consider a good list of reliable sources and check in with them, and that's only if we're engaged. Most people aren't.
I, and you, know people who are victims of Fox who are not particularly political, or are only political for a few months every four years, who watch Fox News because it's flashy or interesting or opinionated, rather than to get their hate fix. Regular people who are as much victims of Fox as diehard kooks.
Where, then, do we find hope? I see a subtle and largely unreported change occurring, especially among the politically unengaged.
As the number of incidents of right-winger quasi-militia types murdering strangers in a movie theater, shopping mall, business, home – or flying a private plane into the Texas offices of the IRS – builds, it's getting through to a lot of people that this group is bad and dangerous. As the number of hate statements against women grow it's making some people re-think their positions. As the hate speech mushrooms people are starting to look askance at the haters. As the economy nose-dived under Republican policies, as the multi-billionaires and mega-millionaires publicly took over the political process, a lot of middle-class people began feeling uneasy.
As deregulation continues to destroy lives more and more people are putting two and two together and getting Republicans. As more and more Democrats are being prevented from voting there's a growing feeling among people in economic trouble that they may be next. As knee-jerk Republican politicians continually block jobs bills but fight for more tax breaks for the 1% the people that used to cheer them on are not cheering as loudly.
Lyin' Ryan and Flip-Floppin' Mitt should have about 30% of the vote right now, and the race is close only because of a highly-organized and highly-funded four-year campaign to denigrate Obama and block all economic recovery bills.
At this point I think more and more people on the right have entered the Stockholm Syndrome phrase where victims cozy up to and support their captors in the hope that will save them from being chosen as the next victim of the captors. Some of the wingers I talk to are less sure of their Republican loyalties lately. Libertarianism popped up because of that dissatisfaction. So, probably, did the Tea Party. They're both going in the wrong direction, of course, but they both indicate dissatisfaction. For those groups it's a first step.
For normal, reasonable people who are only peripherally engaged in politics I think the move to a rational political philosophy is becoming more pronounced.
The Democrats don't really offer a clear alternative, bounded as they are by the need to raise funds for campaigns and the lack of organized support, but they are the only viable other choice. If the choice was clearer the people on the cusp would be more likely to switch. The system is rigged against that clarity, sometimes because of Republican policy making such as the party's Citizen United farce and sometimes by chance (the development of TV and the costs of using it in campaigns).
But there is choice, and the drift is on.