Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Liars Lie Because It Works




Andrew Sullivan remains a forceful conservative, even as he no longer considers himself a Republican, disavowing the party, he argues (correctly), that long since has abandoned true conservatism. Sullivan is among several conservatives I've praised here, on those rare occasions when their sanity rises above the cold heat of steaming tea. Here's a good example of why:

It seems to me that the last year or so in America's political culture has represented the triumph of untruth. And the untruth was propagated by a deliberate, simple and systemic campaign to kill Obama's presidency in its crib. Emergency measures in a near-unprecedented economic collapse - the bank bailout, the auto-bailout, the stimulus - were described by the right as ideological moves of choice, when they were, in fact, pragmatic moves of necessity. The increasingly effective isolation of Iran's regime - and destruction of its legitimacy from within - was portrayed as a function of Obama's weakness, rather than his strength. The health insurance reform - almost identical to Romney's, to the right of the Clintons in 1993, costed to reduce the deficit, without a public option, and with millions more customers for the insurance and drug companies - was turned into a socialist government take-over.

Every one of these moves could be criticized in many ways. What cannot be done honestly, in my view, is to create a narrative from all of them to describe Obama as an anti-American hyper-leftist, spending the US into oblivion. But since this seems to be the only shred of thinking left on the right (exacerbated by the justified flight of the educated classes from a party that is now openly contemptuous of learning), it became a familiar refrain - pummeled into our heads day and night by talk radio and Fox. If you think I'm exaggerating, try the following thought experiment.

If a black Republican president had come in, helped turn around the banking and auto industries (at a small profit!), insured millions through the private sector while cutting Medicare, overseen a sharp decline in illegal immigration, ramped up the war in Afghanistan, reinstituted pay-as-you go in the Congress, set up a debt commission to offer hard choices for future debt reduction, and seen private sector job growth outstrip the public sector's in a slow but dogged recovery, somehow I don't think that Republican would be regarded as a socialist.



I'm tempted simply to lift the whole article and post it, because what follows is a detailed example of how the RWS™ and Fox "news"purloin phrases out of context and repeat them, distort them, build upon them, believe their own lies. But read the article. It says exactly what I've been saying for years.

When I rail against the deceptions and lies, pleading for reasonable discourse, acknowledging that there are bases for disagreement with Obama's policies while depressing over the fact that it's the untruths and the craziness that convince teabaggers to vote against their own interests; when I argue in this way, the negative comments I get are in keeping with the problem itself. With extremely rare exceptions, Obama haters drop by here not to argue intelligently, but to leave neenering snark, no doubt feeling quite proud of themselves. By the various names they leave they distinguish themselves, but not by ideas. They're superimposable.

It seems so obvious that Andrew is right. And yet the divide widens, as the hackery chips away at our foundation. Now, we've arrived at the point where truth is neither sought nor expected. Nor even missed.

20 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

"Sharp decline in Illegal Immigration"!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
WHERE do you live Amigo?? Cause here in the A-T-l("The City too Busy to Hate", oh we WOULD hate you, if we weren't so dad-burn busy) there's more Taquerias, Carnacerias, Lavandarias, than whatever the Een-Glace translations are...
Of course Illegal Immigrations gonna decrease when the US economy is even worse than May-Hee-Co's
Why risk the Coyote's/INS/Fireants(there really mean)when you can make more stampin out shower curtains in an el Ciudad/Juarez Maquiladora???
Pretty Good Health Benefits too, heck, I'd consider movin South if I wasn't allergic to Picante sauce...
and are you gonna continue your whinin for the whole next 2, I mean 22 years???
Cause I'm thankin 8 years of Sara Palin/8 years of Mark Rubio, and by that time Bristol will have enough Gravitas to make a run???
Rediculous?? Who thought the UNDERACHIEVING Bush Son would serve twice as long as his Dad???
Gotta run, have to see a Senorita about an Ep-ee-Duri-O

Frank

Sam Spade said...

Jesus, Frank. My brain atrophied a little while I read that. You certainly have your own style.

I asked you in one of yesterday's threads if you would go to a Dr. Sarah Palin for surgery. I don't ask maliciously, I'm genuinely curious. So how about it?

Anonymous said...

DrekMan...("The Worm DrekAnus")

"With extremely rare exceptions, Obama haters drop by here not to argue intelligently, but to leave neenering snark, no doubt feeling quite proud of themselves."

The Post is about the lying, ass-hattery and practiced credulity of the Insane Clown Party - the ilk of which of which you are a textbook example.

Par examp: First you ridicule the assertion of a "Sharp decline in Illegal Immigration"

Then you segue to affirming the decline with - "Of course Illegal Immigrations gonna decrease when the US economy is even worse than May-Hee-Co's."

Your tactic is straight from the first page of the Republican playbook: frame any discussion away from the central point of the question* - which in this case is the eternal, mindless lying of so-called conservatives!*

*If you can't beat them, bullshit them - right?

You exemplify a comic reversal of the image of the Worm Ouroboros - the dragon eating its own tail; to one of a TeaBagger eternally sticking his head up his own ass and reemerging from his mouth -

An image which I have named: "The Worm DrekAnus."

You may, of course, use it on your web page - with full credit to me naturally.

EugeneInSanDiego

Anonymous said...

DrekMan...("The Worm DrekAnus")

"With extremely rare exceptions, Obama haters drop by here not to argue intelligently, but to leave neenering snark, no doubt feeling quite proud of themselves."

The Post is about the lying, ass-hattery and practiced credulity of the Insane Clown Party - the ilk of which of which you are a textbook example.

Par examp: First you ridicule the assertion of a "Sharp decline in Illegal Immigration"

Then you segue to affirming the decline with - "Of course Illegal Immigrations gonna decrease when the US economy is even worse than May-Hee-Co's."

Your tactic is straight from the first page of the Republican playbook: frame any discussion away from the central point of the question* - which in this case is the eternal, mindless lying of so-called conservatives!*

*If you can't beat them, bullshit them - right?

You exemplify a comic reversal of the image of the Worm Ouroboros - the dragon eating its own tail; to one of a TeaBagger eternally sticking his head up his own ass and reemerging from his mouth -

An image which I have named: "The Worm DrekAnus."

You may, of course, use it on your web page - with full credit to me naturally.

EugeneInSanDiego

Anonymous said...

It was worth repeating - and adding these words of M. Scott Peck - who describes evil as "militant ignorance".

That's "conservatives" these days!

EugeneInSanDiego

Frank Drackman said...

Ewww-Gene
do you kiss your Parole Officer with that Mouth???
and C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-ain't W-W-W-W-W-W-W-e Just G-G-G-G-G-G-et along???
You don't talk about my Anus, and I won't talk about your Child Buggery Indictment...
I know, I know, Guilty until proven Innocent...

Frank

Frank Drackman said...

Oh, Sam...

Brains don't "Atrophy", Muscles do, if you dont jerk off regularly...
Brains DETERIORATE...

Dummy

Frank, "Left Arms still the same size as when I graduated I mean finished HighSchool" Drackman

Sam Spade said...

I'm not so sure, Frank: "a wasting away of the body or of an organ or part, as from defective nutrition or nerve damage."

One of the funnier things I read over the last couple of years was your blog about having your daughter watch a procedure in which a nurse kneaded a uterus "like an old football that a garbage truck had run over," while your daughter cowered behind a curtain. Unfortunately I gave up on your blog because, frankly, reading stuff like your first comment here leaves me wondering if I've had a small stroke. Perhaps you'll attract more readers if you focus more on one or two points and used a more traditional writing style. Paragraphs and careful punctuation really can make writing easier to read. I want to believe that the capitalization is from your exposure to German...

I've been comparing my biceps carefully in the mirror. The results are not encouraging.

So I guess you're happy to watch the Barracuda tear into us, but you'd just as soon have someone else perform your Lasik surgery. I understand, Frank. I understand.

Frank Drackman said...

Hey Sam...
BTW could you explain "The Big Sleep"?? I've seen that movie at least 50 times and still can't figure it out...
That WAS a great post about the post-partum Uterus, wasn't it???...For some reason I can look at almost any injury with a detached professional manner, but something about a Uterus sittin on an unsuspecting New Mother's belly just gives me the Heebie-Jeebies...
and No, I wouldn't let Sara Palin do My Lasik or Hip Pinning, I only go to Bored Certified Surgeons..
Now gettin my Prostrate Checked's a whole different Kettle of Figs...

Frank

Sid Schwab said...

Guess your criteria eliminate Rand Paul, too.

Sam Spade said...

Funny you should ask about The Big Sleep, Frank. I had a drunken disagreement with a near-miss father-in-law on that very question. I assured him that it made perfect sense, and that he was conflating it with Beat the Devil.

Like Mark Twain said, better to let people wonder if you're an idiot, rather than open your mouth and dispel all doubt. Maybe one day I'll learn.

"Sam Spade" is as you know from The Maltese Falcon. It's not so much that I'm a huge fan of the movie; rather, in it, the female lead lures Spade's partner to his death. Spade, by contrast, seduces her then puts her in jail.

Rain is an excellent but relatively unknown John Huston movie. I can see Joan Crawford's introduction in it in my mind's eye as if I saw the movie yesterday.

Frank Drackman said...

Correct-o-Mundo, Sid-O
Only Chicks get to Check out the Drackster's Prostrate...
and you know how "Hard"(get it? Hard)it is to find a Chick Urologist??
I mean one that doesnt look like Barbara Mikulski on Steroids?(Try and get that Image out of your Medulla Oblongata)
its HARD HARD HARD....

Frank (Never been Rectal-Ized, OK, just that one time, and it was a Chick) Drackman

Anonymous said...

I think I might go to Dr. Palin for surgery before I'd go to Dr. Biden for a manicure.

Brujita

Sam Spade said...

Brujita --

Cross your fingers! Dr. Palin might walk halfway through. BA-DA-BING. That's so accurate it's somehow not even funny.

The real Palin's husband was an Alaskan secessionist at one time. That would be equivalent to our Dr. Palin being married to, what, a faith healer?

If it came out that Mrs. Obama was a former secessionist, Beck and Limbaugh would repair directly to their sickbeds with tenacious cases of priapism. Fox would literally discuss it 24/7 for weeks. Why does she hate America???

Anonymous said...

MO never actually said she hates America. ONly that she had never been proud of it. Not even when she was pulling down her $350,000 salary for doing nothing.

Oh, I'm sorry--you were trying to be hypothetical, weren't you? Maybe you should have picked a more...hypothetical topic.

Dr. Biden. That's a title to scare anybody, isn't it? And remember, Biden was Obama's "single best decision." At least he's being truthful there.

--Brujita

Sid Schwab said...

MO never actually said she hates America. ONly that she had never been proud of it.

With that statement, Bj, you lost what little credibility you had here as a semi-sortof-bestthatcanbehopedforfromaRWS™-voice. You are, in fact, a thoughtless repeater of the stupid memes you hear on Fox "news." Even if you have occasionally said something at the periphery of thoughtfulness, I can see now who you really are.

Best of all, it follows on the heels of your expression of disappointment (yeah, right) that I don't rise to your expectations of civil discourse. Pretty amusing.

Sam Spade said...

Brujita --

You make a bold comparison. Michelle Obama said, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." First, she implied that she had been proud of it before. Second, there's no reason why a patriot must be proud of everything about the US. You may well hate the Democratic Party, for instance, so your pride in the US is likely to be nuanced too. Or, it ought to be, but who knows.

In the other corner, we have a man who wanted his state no longer to be a part of our nation. This is one step above treason in the patriotism scale.

I've pulled up a comfy chair and I'm listening intently. Fill me with your knowledge.

(Sadly, Mr. Biden is actually impertinent here.)

Anonymous said...

I guess I'll go with the thoughts of that conservative giant, the LA Times on Todd Palin:

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/15/nation/na-onthemedia15

Hard to believe that the party that had a KKK grand dragon in the Senate is so sensitive about the AIP, though.

Are Michelle's words so offensive to you that I'm not allowed to quote them? Oops--I'm not allowed to "mindless repeat" them? You should think that over.

And of course, "first time" always implies a "before" in your world. Democrats are very strange people.



--Brujita

Sid Schwab said...

Bj, my point -- and I realize it's hard for you to understand an actual point -- is, first, that you misquoted her, and, second, that it's such a tired, over-used and under-contexted quote that it's demeaning to you to think it's somehow either important or actually indicative of who she is. And particularly so after you've had time to observe her as first lady.

If you think that's a relevant and useful argument, well, fine. I happen to think exactly as I said: that you do identifies you as a typical RWS™ who can't make an actual useful argument for your side but, rather, resorts to stupid stuff like that.

So my view of you is unchanged: Vacuous, repetitive, uninteresting. Of the people who comment here from the right, there's only one -- namely, PT -- who is thought-provoking and who, in my view, deserves thoughtful response.

So here's the thing: this is my blog. I write about the things that bother me about the current crop of so-called conservatives. I document. I don't exaggerate. I also have control of the "publish/delete" button for comments. You were, at first, borderline interesting. Now you've become, like so many before you (Frank gets a pass, because he's like the guy who makes funny faces and mimes jerking off behind the TV news reporter) whose idea of argument is "I know you are but what am I."

So don't expect to see your comments posted if they continue in that vein. I'd be happy to recommend a few RWS™ blogs that consider your sort of dialog brilliant. You can misquote Michelle to your heart's content and they'll consider you a god.

Sid Schwab said...

PS: the article to which you refer seems to be making the argument that the AIP is no big deal because in Alaska, it's nearly mainstream; which is like saying lynching in the South was no big deal because everybody did it.

It did say Todd wasn't active in the party; so okay. But to join is to agree, is it not? Personally, I don't think it's important either way. What's important is who Sarah is and that she's a favorite of the people who voted Rs back in charge. I think I've made it clear why I find it deeply disturbing in terms of our future.

THAT'S the sort of thing I write about. I think Todd's association with secessionists is somewhat more revelatory of who he is than that comment of MO's is of who she is; but neither comes close to the importance to our country of the fact that we have an influential block of voters who find Sarah Palin credible.

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