Partisanship on Parade

Headlines provide the clue. Romney’s lying machine. The author’s name fits the pattern: Robert Reich. The lede illustrates just what is going on.

“I’ve been struck by the baldness of Romney’s repetitive lies about Obama — that Obama ended the work requirement under welfare, for example, or that Obama’s Affordable Care Act cuts $716 billion from Medicare benefits.”

“Every campaign is guilty of exaggerations, embellishments, distortions, and half-truths. But this is another thing altogether. I’ve been directly involved in seven presidential campaigns, and I don’t recall a presidential candidate lying with such audacity, over and over again. Why does he do it, and how can he get away with it?”

One of the first clues is the use of the term “lie” which implies much more than just a disagreement on some point. A second clue is the generalization about a “lying machine” with just two examples to support it. Third is the money allegations and suspicions. Then there is the appeal to authority: “The mainstream media along with a half-dozen independent fact-checking organizations and sites have called Romney on these whoppers, but to no avail.

There is a reason why the candidate can get away with these two “lies” despite the ‘fact checkers.’ That reason is that there is a truth behind them. The PACA did indeed funnel money from Medicare as a means to pay for its programs. The Administration did issue an Executive Order in July to evade the work for welfare legislation.

There are two issues of integrity at play here. One is that of the fact checkers who stretch credibility in trying to find fault in order to claim foul. The other is with people like Reich who have a long history of being unable to understand why their view of the world isn’t in sync with reality.

Now, if you are interested in a ‘lying machine’ you might consider the allegations about causing death, innuendo regarding tax returns, assertions about an opponent’s view on abortion, complaints about who should be paying a fair share, voter ID positions, Fast and Furious, cronyism … that list gets rather long.

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