Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bringing Chicago To Mainstream America – Part 1 - Bullies and Liars

I remember when I read my first Ann Coulter Book several years ago. It was Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right and it was an eye opener for me. Until that point I hadn't paid a lot of attention to how the media operated. I wasn't very in tune with what was happening in politics, and though I voted Republican it more from force of habit than from force of principle. Slander changed all of that. I began to pay more attention to the 'tactics of the big lie' and I was amazed at how often it's used, and how successful it is. In life, there are some things you learn that you just can't unlearn.

To be fair, Coulter is a rabble rouser and her job is to stir up dissent, which she does very well using only truth and a sarcastic wit. The difference I see in her tactics and those of the mainstream media, is she speaks (or writes) honestly and from the heart. The media has an agenda and it matches that of the Obama administration. During the 2008 campaign Coulter was vocal about her disdain for John McCain as the Republican candidate (she started a mock support group called "Get drunk and vote for John McCain) and it brought forth some ire from those on the right; but as he's been a punching bag for Obama since losing the election (falling perfectly into the well planned "the election is over" sound bite from the health care debate for example) she may have been correct in her assessment. Regardless, she doesn't pander to anything but her own beliefs.

The media, however, is a puppet on a string for the Obama oval office. The Eric Massa scandal is an example. I don't know enough about Massa to know if he's a sleaze or a victim. I suspect as the days go by we're going to hear more and more about bad things he's done and likely we'll learn that he should be tossed out on his can. Arguably, so should the majority of people in congress (that the majority are Democrats is coincidental). Buy why the sudden bum's rush on an 18 month veteran of the House when Charlie Rangel's offenses festered for 18 years (and he still has his seat, if not his chairmanship)? Massa claims that this is what happens when you don't go along with the Obama program. The mainstream media have been reporting on his alleged misdeeds and downplaying the "why now" angle. Watching some of the news outlets over the last couple of days, much has been made of his no-so-quiet exit, but not as much has been said about the allegations of bullying by Rahm Emanuel. When I have seen it mentioned, it's in the context of "what a whacko this Massa guy is" and not "is Rahm really spawned from the devil?" Massa's descriptions were unusually specific, and given his record of voting against the grain of his party you have to admit there's a slice of credibility to his claims. On the other hand, he could just be trying to take someone down with him as he goes. The thing is, if the tactics that he says were applied really happened they've proven to be an effective ploy. Is it a coincidence that on the same day Massa announced that he was pushed out because he was voting against the health care bill, Bart Stupak, who has been strong in his stand against the bill (because of federal funding of abortion) now thinks a compromise is possible? Monday, while Massa was all over the news ranting about Emanuel chasing him down in the showers of the Congressional gym, Stupak said with regard to a healthcare compromise that "I think we can get there." Is the timing more than coincidental? Could he have been told "look, Massa is out – and you're next if you don't play along!"? You be the judge, but it fits in with the Chicago style politics, only now the arm twisting, back scratching, in-fighting, threat-leveling culture is riding high in the oval office and not just Lower Wacker Drive. It's entirely possible that this type of thing has always gone on to one extent or another, but I've never seen it played out unabashedly in the open like this. It's as if they don't care what anyone thinks….well, scratch that. Based on their response to public outcry over the health care bill, we already knew they don't care a whit about our opinions.

And the lies keep getting bigger and more front and center. Yesterday Obama lied to a crowd in Pennsylvania when he said the health care bill "brings down our deficit by up to $1 trillion over the next decade because we're spending our healthcare dollars more wisely. Those aren't my numbers…" they're from the CBO estimates. Except that they're not from the CBO, so even that statement was a lie. The CBO has said that he was off the mark by a about $900 billion dollars, The $1 trillion savings estimate is for the SECOND decade of the plan, not the first, and that the numbers that went into the second decade's estimate are subject to "substantial uncertainty." What is in that $1 trillion? According to Fox News, $130 billion in premium savings, $200 in reduced payments to doctors and $500 billion in savings from Medicare. In other words, 83% of the estimated savings are from things that we have no evidence will be brought about. And this is one of the tactics of the lie. You say whatever you want about a topic. That's what people hear and repeat. When the correction comes, it's not opening segment news, it not on the front page. It's buried on page ten, or relegated to one cable news network that will say something truthful about the president. The correction is never as big as the statement being corrected.

President Bush caught flak throughout his presidency for being ineloquent. For his use of words like "misunderestimated" he was labeled a moron. The "Somewhere in Texas a village is missing it's idiot" bumper sticker was a best seller. The media has descended on Palin like a pack of hyenas on a fresh carcass over everything she says or does. Yet Obama has visited 57 states – wait, it was 58 – lies about his handling of the health care debate, and makes statements about his pet healthcare bill that are off by a factor of ten, and nobody in the mainstream media seems interested. There's no retraction from the White House, no one calling him on the carpet for carelessness with his numbers or saying he's an idiot for miscounting the number of states – TWICE…in one sentence!! No one, that is, except the converted. But the converted didn't vote for him in the first place.

Bush's creative use of the English language was amusing to some, embarrassing to others, but it wasn't going to bankrupt the nation. Obama's math skills just might.

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