Would you be willing to root for your favorite sports team if they had to lie, cheat, and bribe officials to do it, knowing that if they won, your life, and the lives of most Americans would be measurably worse? Is the pleasure of winning worth all that?
Because essentially, that is what it means today to be a Republican: it’s OK if the people in my party lie to me, and I, in turn, lie to my friends, in order to make the other guys look bad. It’s OK if Republicans have to skirt election rules and play dirty to win elections, even if it means open racism. It’s OK if we use money and our control of the media to ensure that we win. All of this is A-OK with me, EVEN if it means the economy won’t recover. EVEN if people are generally worse off than before.
Now, of course, we all probably know someone who falls into the above category; they fool themselves into somehow believing Rush Limbaugh, even though he’s been caught in more lies than one of the Real Housewives. They say to themselves, “eh, so what if O’Reilly’s been wrong a few times, or if data from the Wall Street Journal shows that Obama has presided over the smallest increase in federal spending since Eisenhower…in my book, O’Reilly’s a God and Obama’s a damned socialist whose increased taxes and spending.” And we know by now that we’re never going to convince people that are this far gone—for them, rooting for the Republican Party is no different than rooting for their favorite team, and the joy of winning blinds them to the negative consequences.
However, I also know this: most people hate the Miami Heat. They hate them partly because they view them as conspiring to an unfair advantage, but they hate them mostly because they hate LeBron James, a leader who chose based on greed and arrogance to betray his home town, his team, and most of his fanbase. So what does that have to do with Republicans lying?
Everything. Because once people find out who someone really is, they don’t forget it, especially if that person cheated them, which is why LeBron James can win as many championships as he wants, but he and his team will be booed for years to come. Yet, the Republican plan to win elections going back at least as far to 2000 is to cheat, distort, or just blatantly lie about the facts so that it hurts the other guy, and then make up new lies about anything else that you know strikes a cord with voters.
Look, it’s a great strategy in the short term, because a lot of people will believe what you tell them. But every time you tell lies on the massive scales Republicans have to tell them, at least a few people are going to find out, and to them, your brand has become forever tainted, just as so many basketball fans hate LeBron James for his “Decision.”
This is especially true considering that the Republican lies we’re talking about aren’t just the little white ones parents tell their kids about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. No we’re talking about lies that rip gaping holes in the fabric of time, lies the cover up or engender massive corruption, lies that hurt ordinary people.
Consider for example, that it has been documented recently that Republican leaders, while Obama was being inaugurated, agreed to oppose anything he proposed under all circumstances, EVEN IF IT WAS GOING TO HURT THE ECONOMY. In other words, making sure that Barack Obama was not re-elected, that he was viewed as a failure, was more important to the Republican Party than helping ordinary Americans by fixing the economy. Couple that with their insistence (and here’s the big lie) that it is Obama’s policies that have failed the economy, even while they refuse to bring up his jobs bills for a vote in the House or filibuster them when they have support in the Senate, and it is galling to anyone that is willing to face the facts. Not everyone has found out about this (evidence that the media is anything but liberal), but many have. Really think they’re going to vote for Republicans anytime soon?
The new Republican lie, now that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has been found constitutional, is that there is some massive tax contained within, targeted at the middle class. The truth: if you choose not to buy health insurance, you pay a tax penalty of $95 a year. OH MY GOD WHAT A MASSIVE TAX INCREASE ON THE MIDDLE CLASS! WHOA WHAT WILL WE EVER DO! SOCIALISM! COMMUNISM! AHHHHHH!
For every voter who discovers that this “job-killing middle class” tax is a measly $95 a year, and that the Republicans are lying about Obamacare for no other reason than to win an election (never mind that their nominee, Mitt the “Etch-a Sketch” Romney, enacted this same law in his state while governor, or the conservative Heritage Foundation came up with the idea), they’re going to be horrified. They’re also going to be horrified that Republicans are willing to go back to a system where health insurance costs increase by 10% every year, where people with pre-existing conditions could be denied insurance or thrown out once they got too expensive, and where there was no regulation on what percentage of premiums actually had to be paid out in patient care (Obamacare mandates that insurers pay at least 80%). Combined with the fact that millions of Americans will have access to affordable care through government subsidies, and that millions of children will receive health insurance for the first time, and one begins to see, really, how evil it is to lie about this legislation for purely political gain.
It’s not the first lie we’ve heard from Republicans, and it surely won’t be the last. Indeed, this election will see the greatest effort to lie to the American people by one party in the history of this nation. And, who knows, at the end of the day it may work. But it will also expose a certain percentage of voters to the fact that Republicans are corrupt, mean-spirited, lying bastards, and those people will join a group whose ranks are swelling—not necessarily Democrats, but, “Anti-Republicans.” These are people that will never again vote for Republicans, regardless of the circumstances. And at some point, that group is going to become so large that it represents a plurality of voters, and then eventually, a majority of voters. When that happens the Republican Party will die, change radically, or something else will take its place. If we take a look at polling data and the shifting demographics of the country, it’s going to happen sooner than later.
So, I guess the point of all this is that Republicans would do better to argue facts, return to their principles, and win elections by actually governing in a way that really helps people, instead of fooling them into voting Republican on false premises. It may take awhile, but the lies are going to catch up with these guys eventually, and that, my friends, is the good news about the awful state of American politics today.