Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why Are Politicians So Willing to Tell Outrageous, Easily Disproven Lies?

Recently, I’ve been writing (here and here) about the use of reconciliation in the Senate and the willingness of Republicans to lie about the history of prior use of reconciliation. Yet even after the E.J. Dionne demonstrated the falsity of Sen. Orrin Hatch’s claims about reconciliation, Republicans continue to ignore the truth and simply lie.

Here’s a video clip from last Sunday’s Face the Nation. First Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) talks about the healthcare bill. Then Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) talks about reconciliation. Pay particular attention to Sen. Graham’s comments.

Did you happen to notice this one particular statement from Sen. Graham:

We’ve had reconciliation votes, but all of them had received bipartisan support. The least was 12 when we did reconciliation with tax cuts.

Now go back and take a look at those previous posts that I linked to above. As you’ll see, Sen. Graham’s statement is a lie. Let me again quote from E.J. Dionne’s editorial in The Washington Post (emphasis added):

But surely the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, which were passed under reconciliation and increased the deficit by $1.7 trillion during his presidency, were "substantive legislation." The 2003 dividends tax cut could muster only 50 votes. Vice President Dick Cheney had to break the tie. Talk about "ramming through."

If you look at the chart that I posted, you’ll see that Republicans used reconciliation with less than Graham’s claimed 12 Democrats at least 6 times (Balanced Budget Act of 1995, 0 Democrats; Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act of 1999, 0 Democrats; Marriage Tax Penalty Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000, 7 Democrats; Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, 2 Democrats; Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, 0 Democrats; and Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005, 3 Democrats). In other words, there’s no other way to describe Graham’s comments than to say that he was lying; it wasn’t just hyperbole or an error in fact. It was a lie. He knows the history of reconciliation. But rather than admit that Republicans used reconciliation without any bipartisan support at least 3 times and that in 2003 Republicans used reconciliation to pass massive tax cuts and had to rely upon Vice President Cheney to break a tie, Graham simply lies. Tell me which is is worse for democracy: (a) The use of reconciliation to allow for a majority vote on a bill that has already passed with a super-majority or (b) a Senator that is willing to go on national TV, look right at the camera, and lie. It’s bad enough that Republicans are so opposed to trying to help American families, but that they are willing to lie to try to stop Democrats from passing legislation that could help sickens me (pun intended).

One more thing: If the mainstream media was, in fact, “liberal”, then don’t you think that lies like Graham’s would immediately be fact-checked, identified, and subject to editorial scorn?

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