Sunday, August 14, 2011

Big Lie

Richard Nixon and the Big Lie
President Nixon's cynical and racist "Southern Strategy" and divisive use of political wedge issues initiated the Republican Party's descent into polarizing politics and routine use of the "Big Lie." Conservatives discovered many voters respond emotionally and positively to demonstrably false statements if they confirm their biases. Repeat seductive Big Lies often enough, however ludicrous and irrational, and people will believe them.

The biggest Big Lie, that we can have the government services we demand, like a strong defense and Social Security, while cutting taxes, began with President Reagan. That's also, of course, when deficits began to skyrocket. When the national debt tripled Reagan finally realized the danger and agreed to raise taxes.

Duplicitous conservatives have been busy rewriting that bit of history ever since. Why? Because credulous voters reward pandering "tax cutters" with election victories. The Tea Party escalated failed dogma to destructive extremes of anti-democratic intransigence. As we learned from the debt ceiling debate, Republican leaders, intimidated by overreaching Tea Party radicals, are willing to put their historically discredited ideology and lust for power ahead of our country's best interests.

Americans face a stark choice. We can reject excessively partisan conservative politics and tax ourselves at realistic levels as we did under President Clinton, the last time the economy was strong and the budget balanced, or we can become a second-rate, deadbeat country that refuses to pay its bills and reneges on it's promises to seniors.

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