Friday, August 31, 2012

Two lies in a pod

I’ve written extensively about Mitt Romney’s blatant and deliberate lies and distortions—far too many times to link to them, in fact. We’re talking about indisputable lies, by the way, not differences of opinion. It’s now obvious that lying is what Romney does as a standard operating procedure.

It turns out that his running mate, Paul Ryan is taking lying to an entirely different level—and making Romney look like an amateur.

His speech to the Republican National Convention was filled with so many lies and distortions that the mainstream newsmedia has barely finished debunking all of them. At The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn debunks Ryan on five of his biggest lies. Titled, “The most dishonest Convention Speech… ever?”, Cohn takes on Ryan because “he was so brazenly willing to twist the truth.”

On MaddowBlog, Steve Benen sums up the offensiveness of the lies:
“At a basic level, what bothers me about politicians who lie, especially at a national level, is that the deceptions are insulting. A candidate who knows the truth, but makes a deliberate decision to deceive, is working from the assumption that Americans are suckers.

“And last night, Paul Ryan made painfully clear that he thinks we're all profound idiots who'll believe an endless string of lies, so long as they're packaged well and presented with conviction…”
Republicans won’t care what a bunch of liberals think, and the mainstream media hasn’t given enough attention to Ryan’s lie-a-thon. However, rightwing Fox “News” published a piece by their paid contributor, Sally Kohn, that put it more strongly than any mainstream media outlet—and even more strongly than anybody I’ve yet seen on centre/left sites:
“…to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.

“The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.”
Fox ought to be applauded for publishing this (yes, really). Sadly, she’ll be at the centre of seriously uninformed—and even unhinged—Internet attacks. So far, most of the retorts I’ve seen have been based on restating falsehoods and insisting they’re facts, that Kohn was wrong and the lie is true. It will get worse.

Dan Amira, writing for New York magazine, pointed out the bottom line:
“But here's the thing: Most of the millions of people who watched the speech on television tonight do not read fact-checks or obsessively consume news fifteen hours a day, and will never know how much Ryan's case against Obama relied on lies and deception. Ryan's pants are on fire, but all America saw was a barn-burner.”
As much as the lies of Ryan (and Romney) appall mainstream American voters who know about them, the vast majority will never know or will, like Sally Kohn’s detractors, insist that the lies are actually true. Since democracy depends on truth and facts to survive, this is a terrible thing.

America, I fear for your future. And that’s no lie.


Roger Owen Green said...

"I’ve written extensively about Mitt Romney’s blatant and deliberate lies and distortions—far too many times to link to them, in fact."

Oh, go ahead, Arthur. You know you want to...

Mike Asplet said...

That was a refreshing article from Fox News actually. Rare, but refreshing. I'm glad to see that the lies that Ryan said at least are coming out. On the other hand, the base - on both sides - care not for factual inaccuracies, or accuracies. Its all about the image, and who has the better one?

Romney is super conservative - some say cold. But calculating. Obama is the "nice guy". This election is definitely about the economy, I wish it weren't so hard to call...

Arthur Schenck said...

Roger: I'm sure the subject will come up again, but do I really have time to do a post listing everything? Hm…

Mike: As I mentioned in the post, I think the worst thing about this whole situation is that most people won't know or, as you say, care about accuracy. That makes it much easier for democracy to be taken away—with consent, no less.

Here's the think I keep coming back to: With the economy as bad as it is, the Republicans ought to be doing victory laps at this point, but they just can't fire. Voters have too many concerns about the more radical aspects of their agenda, and about Romney. Even Republican voters are lukewarm toward Romney. Add it all up, and this is an actual contest.

It will all come down to turnout: Will women voters—who always vote more than men—turn out for Obama and the Democrats? Has Romney lost Florida by picking anti-social security and anti-Medicare Ryan? For that matter, with the retirees in FLorida like the Romney/Ryan plan to cut off Pell Grants for their grandkids? And, biggest question of all, will Republican vote suppression efforts in places like Ohio succeed?

I'm convinced that in the end, turnout will decide the election more than any single issue.