Republicans in Congress

I’m sure all politicians careen between saying what they believe and spouting whatever crap will get them elected. But it seems like* Republicans have adopted a universal strategy of popular deceit, and if they speak truth it’s only by coincidence. Here’s the pattern I’ve seen:

  • Toss out a slew of outrageous lies.
  • Watch for one to capture the public’s imagination.
  • Turn it into jargon (“death panel”) that sticks in voters’ heads.
  • Step back from the lie when it’s debunked, and craft a milder (still dishonest) version. But keep the original jargon.
  • Repeat as necessary. Debunkers eventually move on to tackle some new lie, leaving the last version in place and the jargon established.

Republicans sound like they’re conducting a giant experiment in saying whatever they can get away with, and I suspect they’re surprised as any of us by some of the results. That’s probably too harsh, though. What’s worse is that a good chunk of them might believe the stuff they say. That’s the difference between, for instance, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann. Either way, the country loses.

Take a closer look at the comments described in the video.

* It’s been pointed out that people might interpret this bit of hyperbole literally. To be clear, I do not believe that all Republicans are liars, or that the average Republican citizen lies more frequently than the average Democrat — merely that the abundance of deception from many leading Republican politicians made it seem so (you know, as when people say something along the lines of “It seems like no one says ‘thank you’ anymore,” without meaning it absolutely literally). I’m a bit surprised I need to clarify my use of this common expression, but I’ll admit it was needlessly inflammatory, and I do apologize to those Republicans who have not uttered lie after lie after lie in an attempt to bring down Obama by any means necessary, including the deliberate deception of their constituency.

If you want to heckle the president during his address to the nation

I’m referring to Addison Graves Wilson — or Joe Wilson, as he prefers to be called. At Obama’s September 9 address to a joint session of Congress, Joe yelled, “You lie!”

Joe later explained, “Illegal aliens could get the benefits, they could get the subsidies.” Politifact has shown this itself to be a lie.

If you want to suggest smacking around your wife doesn’t truly count as assault, and neither does killing homosexuals

Watch this clip of Louie Gohmert. At the 1:00 mark he starts in with outright lies:

I’ve dealt with this sort of analysis in a prior post. Check it out for a complete debunking. For now just note what Louie said about LGBT hate crime victims in 2007, “There were only 242 crimes where there was actually some — truly an assault.”

He’s referring to these figures. Here’s how you get his number:

  • Ignore anti-gay murders. These are listed in his source, just two columns over from the 242 number, but he doesn’t mention them. So killing gays doesn’t count.
  • Ignore anything the FBI calls simple assault. Simple assault simply doesn’t count as assault to him. The FBI give an example of simple assault:

A married couple was arguing about financial problems. The husband slapped his wife and left the house. The wife followed him, and they continued their argument. The police responded to a call by a neighbor. The wife told them that her husband slapped her. The police arrested the husband for domestic violence.

So, to Louie Gohmert, smacking around your wife doesn’t truly count as assault.