Friday, November 02, 2018

The Power Of Lies

As the midterm elections come to an end, Paul Krugman writes that the Republicans are spouting what has become a cascade of lies:

What are Republicans lying about? As I said, almost everything. But there are two big themes. They lie about their agenda, pretending that their policies would help the middle and working classes when they would, in fact, do the opposite. And they lie about the problems America faces, hyping an imaginary threat from scary dark-skinned people and, increasingly, attributing that threat to Jewish conspirators
Both classes of lie are rooted in the real G.O.P. agenda.
What Republicans truly stand for, and have for decades, is cutting taxes on the rich and slashing social programs. Sure enough, last year they succeeded in ramming through a huge tax cut aimed mainly at corporations and the wealthy, and came within one vote of passing a health “reform” that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would have caused 32 million Americans to lose health coverage.
The G.O.P.’s problem is that this agenda is deeply unpopular. Large majorities of Americans oppose cuts in major social programs, while most voters want to raise, not reduce, taxes on corporations and high-income individuals. 

It's really quite remarkable, because the lies are so out in the open:

Instead of changing their agenda to meet voters’ concerns, Republicans have resorted to a strategy of deception and distraction. On one side, they have gone full black-is-white, up-is-down on policy substance. Most spectacularly, they are posing as defenders of protection for people with pre-existing conditions — protection that their failed health bill would have stripped away, and which they are now trying to take away through the courts. And they’re claiming that Democrats are the ones threatening Medicare.
On the other side, they’re resorting to their old standby: race-based fear.

But what is even more remarkable is the sheer number of Americans who believe the lies. There are Republicans who reorganized the con from the beginning:

It is now impossible to have intellectual integrity and a conscience while remaining a Republican in good standing. Some conservatives have these qualities; almost all of them have left the party, or are on the edge of excommunication.

Nonetheless, this election is all about the power of lies. If lies didn't have power, Donald Trump wouldn't be president.

Image: Pinterest


Lulymay said...

I watch PBS news every night, Owen, as I think it is probably the most 'balanced' of all the news outlets that proliferate in the US. Just lately, Judy Woodruff was doing interviews/analysis from Florida (Trump was coming there next). She did the usual round table discussion - this time with 4 women - and wrapped up by asking each one what their was their concern regarding the coming Mid-Terms.

One woman had only ONE concern, and that was that she was Pro-Life and would vote for the Republican candidate (and Trump) because they were both Pro-Life! That was it...

And it suddenly occurred to me that these are the same people who all vote against any kind of affordable health care plan for all US citizens and don't even view that as the single most important "pro-life" legislation they could implement? It boggles the mind, Owen, it truly boggles the mind.

Owen Gray said...

It's remarkable, Lulymay, that there are so many people who are against abortion who feel that they have no responsibility for other living human beings. I can't call that Pro-Life.

The Mound of Sound said...

I wonder what Donald has in mind by way of a Reichstag fire this weekend. There's not much he won't do to scare easily-frightened Americans into voting Republican.

Owen Gray said...

It's all about fear -- and Donald's own paranoia, Mound. It's worth remembering that it was paranoia that was Nixon's Achilles Heal.

Anonymous said...

I realize that I am not the same kind of progressive as you lot, and the feeling gets reinforced when someone quotes Krugman and the NYT as the basis for a post. Is it a hope that deep deep down, some fundamental decency exists on either side in US "democracy"? That a commercial news outlet is not influenced by anything other corporate or government interests. All the fake news that's fit to print. Bezos owns the WaPo, so that outlet is betond redemption. Canadian media is rubbish and parrots the US standard line, as does Trudeau. We get no variance of views. Everyome's asleep at the wheel.

Past US practice, whether Dem or Repug, has been to beat up the world, buy and influence elections and then react in horror when someone pulls a fast one on them. Squawk! they're such an innocent force for good.

Internally, the Dems have gone totally quiet - not a word emerges on advancing the social agenda for the masses. Obama became the drone king and even got targeting US citizens past the SCOTUS. The place is utterly demented from both "sides" of the political spectrum, a difference without much meaning to the man on the street.

Here's my perspective which I was amazed to read just yesterday. So far as I'm concerned, it's right on:


Owen Gray said...

A thouughtful piece that deserves to be read, BM. Noam Chomsky long ago coined the phrase "manufacturing consent." He would agree that both sides have huge propaganda machines at their disposal. But as imperfect a candidate as Hillary was, it was Chomsky who wrote that the Republican Party is the most dangerous organization on the planet.

Accusing the Democrats of being as equally crass as the Republicans is a false equivalence.