Friday, October 12, 2012
Pants on Fire!
It's a given that all politicians lie. They really have no choice, given the corrupt nature of the system. There are lies within lies, and lies based on entire premises and frameworks being false.
For example, some commonly accepted lies are de rigueur for any public figure, such as the pervasive myth that 19 hapless Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks. Within that false framework, Joe Biden was telling the "truth" during Thursday night's debate when mentioning that "Obama got Bin Laden". Paul Ryan didn't dispute that point - but could have, and would have been correct to do so. The implausibility of the claim that Bin Laden was captured and killed is enormous, given the many reports of his death years earlier. Dumping the body at sea, and taking no steps to prove identity almost begs a challenge. But, this sort of truthful thinking is strictly forbidden for any candidate above the level of county dog catcher. No point in even going there.
So if the entire framework in which the two VP candidates squared off is based on lies and deception, why even bother to pick particularly on Ryan's whopper list?
It's because Romney & Ryan have raised falsehood to a new level, and appear to have designed their campaign strategy around it. This is cynicism that must have Karl Rove smiling in admiration. And the worst part about it is that it seems to be working.
Prior to the first presidential debate, pundits were talking about the Republican ticket sinking into the mud, and Romney's managers were said to be in panic. Romney went into the first debate with a strategy of lying blatantly, repeatedly and overwhelmingly. The lies were so thick that it apparently caught Obama off guard, and he struggled. Viewers thought Romney looked "presidential" as he confidently spun through one yarn after another. Result: Overwhelming perception that Romney struck a knockout blow. Overnight, the polling trends reversed and now it's said that Obama's campaign is in panic mode.
We still have more debates on the schedule, and one would think that Obama will make adjustments in his game plan to counter the lying blitz.
Perhaps the lying campaign strategy will backfire at some point, because hopefully voters aren't completely brain dead and don't really wish to be lied to so openly.
However, if Romney succeeds by abusing the truth, and ultimately takes office, it raises some interesting questions about this country. Does it mean voters are saying "lie to me as long as it feels good"? Do we wish to believe in generous tax cuts for all leading to a balanced budget? That tax cuts for the rich will create jobs? That Obama is a failure at job creation despite the Republicans stonewalling nearly every measure that he proposed? That Obamacare sucks, even though Romney invented the model in Massachusetts?
The price of Romney's possible victory in this manner could be steep. Overloaded with cynicism, the American people will not cut the new administration any slack. When the economy tips in recession once again, and any of a number of pending crises explode, an enormous rage could ignite. Unemployment will rise, and debt will balloon once again. Of course, this could happen with either party in power, but Romney's promised actions threaten to bring us to the brink that much sooner.
Then again, Romney could return to the pragmatic moderate he once appeared to be. The only rage to be heard would then be coming from the Tea Party extremists and right-wing lunatics that took over the Republican party. Business leaders and economists would sigh with relief, and life would go on without much change from the Obama years.
There is a sense of a wild card in the air. Could be an "October Surprise" in the works. Could be Romney's flip-flops will catch up, as Biden put it in the debate, "I'm not sure what Romney's position is at the moment, he changes it so frequently". I had thought Romney was the designated loser, and this could still be the case. Is the lying simply an experiment by the PTB in how gullible the populace is?
The way this election plays out will be fascinating to watch. If the voters choose to buy snake oil from Romney, it's a sad day, but perhaps another sign that the corrupt system is collapsing in on itself. Obama is open for legitimate criticism on many issues, but most economists credit the stimulus plan with staving off complete economic collapse. One truth very few seem to recognize is that the president really doesn't have much control over unemployment.
One more thing: It's rumored that plans are being laid for a lame-duck session of Congress to meet in December and pass a massive tax and spending measure to head off the "fiscal cliff" due to hit in January. Could be that the basics are already negotiated and agreed to, meaning that the entire election-season debate on these issues has been meaningless. Rendered particularly meaningless will be which party wins the presidential election. Oh well. The fix is in.