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Sarah Palin's Lies - manifestation of Republican traditional values?

by: MurlandGuy

Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:26 AM EDT

The following is shamelessly lifted from Maryland's own Hilzoy, who posted it on 06Sep2008 at Washington Monthly. Although Hilzoy's post applies to politicians, so much of it reminded me of the strategy of trolls and other on-line propagandists, as well as the futility of playing with them, of which I have been guilty of late. It's a bad habit, and I am now going to stop doing it.

Oops! She Did It Again

ABC's Political Punch reports on Sarah Palin's speech today:
    "She said she "championed reform of earmark spending by Congress, and I told the Congress thanks but no thanks on that 'Bridge to Nowhere'", she said, ommiting (sic) mention that she'd campaigned for governor supporting the bridge."
I take it most readers of this blog will know that this is a flat-out lie.

When politicians lie -- and here I mean not just putting the best spin on things, but out and out lying -- they might as well walk up to each and every one of us and say: Hello! I have no respect for the value of your time! You might have other things to do -- work, playing with your kids, taking a long hike in the mountains, whatever -- but I don't care. I'm going to put you in a position where you're going to have to research everything I say, or else just give up on your civic duty. You don't get to assume that my words are, if not exactly true, at least somewhere in the general vicinity of the truth, and decide whether or not to vote for me. If you want to be an informed citizen, you'll have to become obsessive, like hilzoy.

They might as well add: I have no respect for democracy. In a democracy, citizens listen to what each side has to say and decide who to vote for. To work, it requires that what each side says bears some resemblance to the truth. If I cared about democracy, I'd respect those limits -- maybe stretching the truth every now and then, but generally maintaining some sort of relationship between what I say and reality. But guess what? I don't care about democracy! If winning requires that I make things up out of whole cloth and hope that I'm successful enough to frustrate the popular will, then that's what I'll do. Don't like it? Think democracy is a good system, one that we should cherish? That's just too bad.

But Palin has gone beyond this. She is not just telling lies; she's telling lies that have been exposed as lies, and that have gotten a lot of attention. Assuming she does not actually want to lose, she must assume that her audience either doesn't know that she's lying, or doesn't care. In either case, it's deeply cynical, and deeply insulting.

I just hope she isn't right.

I share Hilzoy's hope.

John McCain's lies deserve maximum airing as well, especially his claim that his proposed tax cut will help the middle class more than Obama's. I plan on getting to that diary one of these days, hopefully soon.
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Where's the Pork?

by: Isaac Smith

Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 10:40 AM EDT

Part 3 of FSP's post-July 4th catching up on news stories we missed:

This Baltimore Sun piece on congressional earmarks raised my eyebrows, and it took me a while to figure out why. For starters, let's look at the group that apparently spurred this article:

Citizens Against Government Waste has asked all 535 members of Congress to release their requests. As of Friday, 56 had complied, according to the Washington-based independent group's Web site.

"The requests tell you a whole lot about what the members' mentality is, what they want to get, what they're trying to get," said Leslie K. Paige, a spokeswoman for the group. "It's a very interesting window into their attitude and their culture."

The thing to know about CAGW is that they're a right-wing front group, known for their advocacy for the tobacco industry, Microsoft during its antitrust battles, even Jack Abramoff. Though they claim to oppose wasteful spending, they all too often conflate pork (earmarks) with all government spending. So I would take anything they say with a grain of salt.

The other thing to note, which undercuts CAGW's argument, is this paragraph buried deep in the article (emphasis added):

Earmarks account for less than 1 percent of the federal budget. But the increase in their number, from 4,126 in 1994 to 15,268 in 2005, and projects such as the "bridge to nowhere" -- the $223 million span proposed to connect a sparsely populated island in Alaska to the mainland -- have helped to focus public outrage.

This is what makes the debate over earmarks somewhat baffling: Compared with the military, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the impact of earmarks on the federal budget is trivial. Much like welfare and foreign aid, though, its size is routinely blown out of proportion.

Having said that, earmarks are troubling because they are often used, as Kevin Drum has observed, as an incumbent protection racket. Don Young's "Bridge to Nowhere" was egregious, of course, but more common are plausibly useful things like Roscoe Bartlett's earmarks for a train station and naval weapons manufacturing. Few people are going to oppose things that benefit their district, which makes it harder for challengers to mount a credible campaign against the incumbent.

As for the main point of the article -- that Maryland Republicans have been more open recently about their earmarks than Maryland Democrats -- it is dismaying, although given that Republicans have been mostly responsible for the rise in earmarks to begin with, a little rich. But we're going to find out about everyone's earmarks soon enough, so it's not as if we're being kept in the dark permanently about this. There is, however, one congressman whose earmarks I'd like to know more about...

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