The closer we get to the November elections, the more glaringly obvious it becomes that Republicans and their supporters are becoming desperate now that it’s becoming clear that their usual bag of underhanded tricks — blatantly untrue political ads; anonymous robocalls telling minority and elderly voters they might be arrested at the polls; bogus voter disenfranchisement legislation meant to remedy nearly non-existent voter fraud problems — are not likely to be enough to hand them the election. And with desperation comes errors, forced and unforced.
Witness Tuesday’s second presidential debate on Long Island, where the most telling moment came when Mitt Romney’s habit of arrogantly making up lies out of thin air came back to bite him in the ass. I’ll bet that Candy Crowley might not have even corrected Mitt when he insisted that it took two weeks for President Obama to label the Benghazi embassy attacks as terrorism, except Mitt was actually being cocky about it, acting as if he was the one catching Obama in a falsehood.
What a tool. It offended my sensibilities regarding fair play, and I’ll bet it offended Crowley’s, too. So she stepped in and handed Romney his ass in that perfect moment from the second debate that crystallized what this election is about: our reality vs. their myths.
Mitt looked a little dazed after being called out on his fib, didn't he? You could tell it threw off his entire sense of rhythm at the debate because, well, if he can’t lie, he might have to actually talk about what the GOP actually stands for, and there are good reasons why he can’t do that. He’s been running on everything but what that for which he truly stands. They know they can’t get elected to much of anything outside of some reliably wingnut districts if they had to run on their actual beliefs. Poll after poll bears out this simple fact: when Republicans run on what they and their base truly believe, they lose.
But this is how the GOP is operating these days: simply repeat an untruth until it enters the collective conscience of a mainstream media which has been cowed by accusations of liberal bias, and then wait for it to become received wisdom by the talking heads on cable television.
They attempted this the day after the debates when Crowley of CNN was back on her network discussing how she did as moderator. That’s when Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, decided to tell Crowley that “it wasn’t necessarily your place to try to be fact checker right there.”
Got it? Fact-checking is verboten in the GOP scheme of things, and I think we all know why.
That is not to say that Democrats don’t lie, twist facts or misspeak. All politicians do these things. But the Republican playbook lies by design, whereas the national-level Democrats seem to do it mostly by mistake. That is a very big difference, especially since the Republicans like to wrap themselves in the 10 Commandments — including, presumably, that one about bearing false witness.
Which is why it’s so nice when their impending desperation causes any GOP candidate to do something that shows the rest of us exactly who they are.
One of the moments came, of course, during the Oct. 1 Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren debate.
If you relied solely on Sen. Brown’s debate demeanor and campaign ads, you might come away with the impression that he’s on the side of women’s rights and people who’ve been wronged by rapacious corporations selling asbestos long after it had been shown to make people deathly sick — despite that fact that nearly his entire legislative record before the U.S. Senate makes those two thoughts laughable. Yet there he was, putting Warren on the defensive by making it seems as if her legal advocacy work on behalf of asbestos victims was really her working on behalf of the manufacturer. Get it? Just lie as if you know what you’re talking about.
Then came the magic question: Which U.S. Supreme Court justice did Brown admire most?
First (and honest) reply? Antonin Scalia, an answer so awful the audience actually booed. (Yay, Massachusetts!) Then: a look of panic on Brown’s face, and his late addition of Kennedy, Roberts and, most insincerely, Sotomayor, whose confirmation vote he missed despite her being one of his favorite justices.
He should have just gone for broke and told moderator Gregory, “David, my perfect justice hasn’t been confirmed, but she’d be a black feminist lesbian who’s a single welfare mother.”
Hey, it would have been just as believable.
I’ve been throwing this moment of truth in the face of my friends when they try to tell me “we need Scott Brown as a GOP moderate voice in Washington.” Scott Brown votes moderate when he has to do so, and not on deeply (or even shallowly) held principle. When we really need him, he will vote with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Period.
And speaking of McConnell — the man who’s a leading light of the religious Right and who’s also been leading the fight to retain the Defense of Marriage Act — guess who hosted him in Massachusetts for a self-serving political fundraiser recently?
If you guessed openly gay Sixth Congressional Candidate Rich Tisei, give yourself a pat on the back. It’s another a-ha! moment that illustrates perfectly who these “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” frauds really are. Tisei is another one whose political record and party affiliation say one thing, and public utterances during the current campaign say the opposite.
Tisei is dangerous because being gay makes people think he’s got some skin in our game.
But as his McConnell fundraiser suggests, his true masters will be in Washington.
We’ve seen all this nonsense before in the form of “moderate” Gov. Mitt Romney, and we all know how that turned out.
Will we be fooled again?