GOP truthinessRepublican mendacity is now so casual that party regulars don't even attempt to bother disguising their lies. This curious development is analyzed quite thoroughly by a piece just published at Salon.com (see URL below). The article's examples include lies by Mitt Romney and Scott Walker.
Romney's lying is demonstrated in a couple of examples, the most recent his campaign ad denouncing President Obama for allegedly saying business owners didn't "build" their own businesses. Obama said nothing of the sort. The canard is easily dismissed by linking to URLs containing Obama's entire speech in question. That ought to demonstrate to any truly rational thinker, and especially all English majors, that Romney's campaign and other Republicans and their supporters have selectively edited Obama's words to twist context and completely reverse the president's message.
The latest local purveyor of this same lie -- not mentioned in the Salon piece, which was published beforehand -- was a bit more subtle: Christian Schneider is an employee of the conservative (but, hey, "non-partisan") Wisconsin Policy Research Institute who doubles as a regular columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He wrote a Sunday column regurgitating the by now widely distributed "Obama is mean to business" theme.
However, Schneider's selective editing was a bit more subtle than that of Romney and others. He left in a small bite of Obama language hinting (to readers following closely) that maybe it was slightly possible that Obama meant something other than the claim Schneider now proceeded to repeat, namely that Obama's words (selectively edited, remember) were an "insult to American ingenuity." Which in itself is an insult by Schneider, insofar as it suggests that among all Americans and all American institutions, only the business class is meaningfully creative.
For Schneider and the GOP meme of the week, mission once again sort of accomplished, but only with respect to lower-information voters who won't read what Obama said in its entirety and in context. (Second URL below points to Schneider's egregious column)
Back to the Salon piece, whose author moved on to his other example of clumsy GOP mendacity, this time involving Scott Walker (boldfacing is my own):
The example I came across that started me on really thinking about this was an op-ed on the Affordable Care Act by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Walker cherry-picked a handful of facts from a legitimate independent analysis of the effects of the ACA on Wisconsin – an analysis that he helpfully linked to in his op-ed, so that anyone who looked at it could easily see his obvious omissions. A typical example: Walker wrote that “for those who are covered by the small-employer group market, the average premium increase will be 15 percent.” But in fact, the study says that 53 percent in that market will have a 15 percent increase, while the other 47 percent will average a 16 percent decrease. In the report, the 16 percent decrease was literally in the next sentence; it would be hard to extract the “bad” part of it without tripping over the “good” part, and obviously anyone who wanted to see whether Walker got it right was going to see that.
Just to be clear: It’s obviously possible to make a case (convincing or not) that Barack Obama’s vision of the United States is different from a Republican vision; that Obama has done too little for business; or that the ACA will hurt Wisconsin. It’s also certainly possible, although I suppose not particularly admirable, to construct careful lies that are not easily disproved. What we’re seeing from Republicans, including the Romney campaign, is something different. Not just mendacity, but lazy mendacity.
So why are we seeing so much of it?
My guess is that it has to do with the growth of the partisan press, and especially the role of the Republican-aligned media – Fox News and conservative blogs and talk radio.
Read the rest of the Salon article to see this theory spun out in more convincing detail. It's a sophisticated variation on the longer standing idea of the conservative media echo chamber. But it's still flabbergasting to consider that Republicans and their enablers now blithely lie despite massive evidence they are lying; and flabbergasting to realize that, even when their lies are pointed out, they continue their deception.
Apparently, if you're GOP, the truth now really is -- as comedian Stephen Colbert has said -- at best a question of truthiness, a declaration that only sounds like it could be true.