(h/t to George Orwell for the title0)
Everybody lies. Big lies, little white lies, lies told in what is thought to be in the service of a greater good...even lies we tell to make ourselves feel better. In our culture it's generally frowned upon to be dishonest, or at least openly, brazenly dishonest unless it's associated with some attempt at humor.1 Unless you're in politics.
“Sure, politics ain’t bean-bag"2, never has been, but it seems as if the tolerance for politically-motivated dishonesty has never been stronger. Case in point, courtesy of Paul Krugman:
Previous attacks on Obamacare were pretty much fact-free; this time the claim was backed by an actual survey purporting to show that a third of enrollees hadn’t paid their first premium.I'm not inclined to believe that the GOP staffers in the House are too stupid to understand the numbers or to think that such a bogus claim on their part wouldn't be noticed. The only reasons remaining are, as Krugman states, to fire up the Republican base and to reinforce the false idea that Obamacare is a failure.3 And he's right in that there's no real price to be paid for dishonesty, but I'll go further and say that, on the right, a demonstrated willingness to lie is a necessary behavior; so necessary that it's become institutionalized within the modern Republican party.4,5
But the survey was rigged. (Are you surprised?) It asked insurers how many enrollees had paid their first premium; it ignored the fact that the first premium wasn’t even due for the millions of people who signed up for insurance after March 15.
And the fact that the survey was so transparently rigged is a smoking gun, proving that the attacks on Obamacare aren’t just bogus; they’re deliberately bogus. The staffers who set up that survey knew enough about the numbers to skew them, which meant that they have to have known that Obamacare is actually doing O.K.
Democrats and lefties have a number of things they should be openly and proudly discussing, yes, but there's one other thing that we all can-and-should be talking about in the run up to the 2014 elections: Republican dishonesty.
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What's not getting talked about enough is the GOP's dishonesty problem. We're quick to point out inaccuracies and bald-faced lies on an item-by-item basis, but Democrats generally seem unwilling to address this Republican culture of dishonesty...and why, I have no idea; the last time Dems went up against the GOP with a similar message, they won the House and Senate and "regained a majority of state governorships and control over a plurality of state legislatures."6 Of course, that's when we had an active Howard Dean heading the DNC:
I mean, no doubt, there will be investigations because there's been so much corruption in the White House and the vice president's office, even the Republican Senate president is under investigation for insider trading. The Republican House leader had to resign. The new Republican House leader just killed all the ethics legislation.In the 2006 elections, voters,
It's pretty much of a culture of corruption on the Republican side in Washington now, and I think you're certainly going to see some investigations.
when asked which issue was extremely important to their vote, more voters said corruption and ethics in government than any other issue, including the war, according to national exit polls.Integrity is a perennial campaign issue, and highlighting Republican dishonesty - of which there's plenty of, no exaggerations needed - is a way to impugn Republican candidates' integrity. Not only should we be talking about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's lies about his nepotism and the millions it takes away from education, but Democrats should be tarring all Republicans with the same brush...a culture of dishonesty and a party-wide lack of integrity.
Or am I barking up the wrong tree? Are there any more GOPers that could be considered poster children for their party's dishonesty? Does something like #McConnelling fall under this idea?
..........footnotes, comments, etc..........
0 Full quote: "In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
1 Or, associated with humor once the lie is made public, "oh, that was just a joke...have a sense of humor, will you?"
2Thank you, Mr. Dooley. Full quote: “Sure, politics ain’t bean-bag. ‘Tis a man’s game, an’ women, childer, cripples an’ prohybitionists ‘d do well to keep out iv it.”
3Given the relatively good news coming out of late about Obamacare, that wall of denial has quite a few cracks that need filling.
4Open dishonesty is also a behavior that's well-rewarded on the right, similar to expressions of bigotry.
5Which means that conservatives are playing defense.
6Admittedly, the losses and subsequent gerrymandering after the 2010 elections will make the results of 2006 harder to replicate.