I have really been struggling lately to figure out what in the world has happened to my Republican friends who used to make so much sense and to the so-called cable news channels which have become more and more of an oxymoron. But I struggle no more.
I now realize that what appears on the surface to be self-destructive insanity is really just a posthumous victory lap being run by that great champion of the Right--Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
It was Lenin, after all, who almost 100 years ago stated what has become the mantra of the angry Right and the deluded media nearly a century later:
A lie told often enough becomes the truth
It's ironic but appropriate that at a time when Right wing leaders are comparing Obama to Mussolini, Hitler, and Marx that the GOP should get in on the historical bandwagon. And it couldn't come at a better time. With the Republican Party leaderless and falling in popularity, the Right is in desperate need of a philosophical guru with a solid resume and a recognizable name.
Actually, the first sign of the GOP's modeling of Lenin appeared during the 2000 Republican presidential primary campaign in South Carolina when "Bush's Brain" Karl Rove launched a massive phone smear campaign against John McCain during which callers told the locals that McCain had fathered a black baby. In fact, McCain and his wife had adopted a child from Bangladesh.
When caught in the lie, instead of apologizing and stopping the calls, Turd Blossom (as his boss affectionately referred to him) Rove ordered his charges to just keep smilin' and dialin' and repeating the lies with greater conviction than ever. Bush knocked McCain out of the race and thus a movement was born.
Once elected, Bush carried Lenin's formula to new levels. He assured us that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and had tried to procure nuclear fuel from Niger long after he knew that neither statement was true. He talked about Pat Tillman's heroic death at the hands of a hostile enemy for weeks after he was told that Tillman was killed by friendly fire. He assured us that Americans don't torture--even as he insisted we needed to keep doing it. He promised us that no American need worry about abuse of warrantless wiretaps--even as he claimed they were essential. It was Lenin's model--lie, and if you get caught, keep lying. No apologies, no shame, just lies.
That's a mini recap. Everyone but Dick Cheney now knows all that stuff. But it helps explain a lot.
Otherwise one might think that the clowns who now call themselves leaders of the GOP came up with this whole idea about lying and lying some more on their own. It is comforting to know they're just copying their gurus Lenin and Rove.
So when President Obama insists on not bailing out bankrupt banks or car makers without getting rid of bad management or limiting executive pay and Republicans accuse him of nationalizing American business or being a socialist--now I know they're not stupid, they're just lying.
And when they say that Obama is raising all our taxes when he's actually cutting them for all but a handful of the wealthiest Americans, I am comforted that they're not confused. They're just doing what Rove did when he assured Scott McClellan and the American people that old Turd Blossom had nothing to do with the outing of Valerie Plame.
I no longer worry about those who still believe that Obama is a secret Muslim or that he is not an American. They are just angry hateful people who lie to give their screeds a thin patina of respectability--very thin.
And when my Republican friends call for a teabagging party (I'm not even going to go there) and complain that we're being taxed to death at the very time when taxes have never been lower in our lifetimes, I don't even bother trying to straighten them out any more. Because I know they are not misinformed--they are just lying and lying and lying and lying.
Actually, most Americans know they're lying too. That's why while the Right claims that there is a revolution afoot and the common folk are mad as hell, polls continue to show that Obama's popularity is rising toward 70 percent while the popularity of Republicans is at a 30-year low. Those same polls show that three times as many of us believe the country is now on the right track as felt that way six months ago. That doesn't sound or feel much like a revolution to me.
Based on those polls and common sense, it seems that Lenin's mantra might not be working so well in an age of blogging, the Internet, Google, fact-checking, Wikopedia, and YouTube. It's really a shame. Now, after honing the art of lying and denial to a perfect science, my Right wing friends might have to look for another approach.
So much to do and so little time. No one ever said it would be fair.