Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Odor of Mendacity

Burl Ives as Big Daddy
Hendrik Hertzberg writes in the New Yorker about "political cognitive dissonance," in which, "frightened by joblessness, the 'American people' rewarded the party that not only opposed the stimulus but also blocked the extension of unemployment benefits. Alarmed by a ballooning national debt, they rewarded the party that not only transformed budget surpluses into budget deficits but also proposes to inflate the debt by hundreds of billions with a permanent tax cut for the least needy two per cent. Frustrated by what they see as inaction, they rewarded the party that not only fought every effort to mitigate the crisis but also forced the watering down of whatever it couldn’t block."  Hertzberg asks how this could happen.  His answer, in part, is that Obama and the Democrats did not try hard enough to explain the truth.  In addition, as Rick Perlstein explains in the Daily Beast ("How Obama Enables Rush"), Obama refused to challenge the outright falsehoods perpetrated by the opposition.  According to Perlstein, "we live in a mendocracy," i.e. rule by liars.  Thus, thanks to Rush Limbaugh and his aiders and abettors, "by a two-to-one margin likely voters thought their taxes had gone up, when, for almost all of them, they had actually gone down. Republican politicians, and conservative commentators, told them Barack Obama was a tax-mad lunatic. They lied. The mainstream media did not do their job and correct them. The White House was too polite—'civil,' just like Obama promised—to say much. So people believed the lie. From this all else follows."  The fatal flaw with Obama's refusal to confront the liars is that: "when one side breaks the social contract, and the other side makes a virtue of never calling them out on it, the liar always wins. When it becomes 'uncivil' to call out liars, lying becomes free."  Now Rush is at it again.  His latest target is the pre-existing condition language in the health care act.  In a move geared to ease repeal of  the law, he is trying to convince the "American people" that "it's not insurance, its welfare."  Let's see who, if anyone, calls him out this time.


lonbud said...

Where's Al Franken when you need him?

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