The Exact Opposite Part I

Beyond Lies: GOP Living On The Bizarro World

by Baron Dave Romm

The Exact Opposite series
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Back to Political Links

these originally appeared on
Bartcop-E, and all links worked when posted


The exact opposite

A standard conservative Big Brother technique is to make wild random claims, sling mud and repeat lies until some of the mud sticks or one of the wild claims has a small germ of truth. More recently, emboldened by Ford's pardon of Nixon and GHW Bush's pardon of high-level Iran-Contra crooks, Republicans have been enormously successful with another slanderous technique: The exact opposite. Accuse your opponents of the very despicable acts you are doing, then duck and lie. This is a reflection of George W. Bush's lack of moral compass. Throughout his life, his first impulse is to run away, and is second impulse is to lie about it. Now, it the lies are institutionalized as Republican gospel, with entirely different standards of "truth" for the Democrats and the GOP.

Every time a Republican has been investigated, indicted and/or convicted, they inevitably whine, "it's a political vendetta!" In fact, the exact opposite is true: US Attorneys were under orders to go after Democrats and not investigate Republicans.

The exact opposite describes most of the Republican claims over the past decade. The prime example: When the GOP rose en masse to declare their outrage over Bill Clinton having consensual sex with someone not his wife, it turned out that many of his more strident accusers were having affairs of their own, or covering up for pedophile predators. Forgotten in the hubbub was that they were forced to use this lame excuse because all the other random charges against Clinton turned out not to be true. Complete exoneration in Whitewater, the Travel Office firings, etc. Pretty much the same about charges against high-ranking figures in his administration. No one did anything illegal while they were in office, though they caught (and caught up with) a few previous crimes. Sphincter Conservatives will never admit the truth: The Clinton administration was squeaky clean. Morally, George W. Bush makes Bill Clinton look like a saint. Most Republicans would rather die (or have our brave troops die) than admit the obvious.

And now, philanderers Newt Gingrich and Rudy Guiliani are running for president. What's pathetic is that some Republicans are taking them seriously. Moral Relativism at its highest.


An historical perspective

Virtually every major position taken by "conservatives" over the course of the United States has been wrong: Slavery, Prohibition, isolationism in the 30s, McCarthyism, Vietnam, Reagonomics, denying global warming, Iraq and so on.

What defines (and self-defines) "conservative" changes over time, hence the quote marks. Still the movement as a whole is characterized by massive self-deception and a willingness to break the rules it insists others follow. For the most part, when someone on the far right makes a claim, the chances are good that the exact opposite is true.

On a smaller scale -- running a mom-and-pop business or making individual religious choices -- a conservative approach may be the best. On a larger scale -- running a country or creating religious freedom for a nation -- "liberalism" (also in quotes) may be the best. This is the American Experiment, and it's failing due to the moral cowardice of the far right.


Loyal Bushies

The questions that the mainstream media isn't asking: What about the US Attorneys who were not fired?

Department of Injustice by Paul Krugman, NY Times 3/9/07 (requires paid subscription for the Times archive.) (Truthout archive):

For those of us living in the Garden State, the growing scandal over the firing of federal prosecutors immediately brought to mind the subpoenas that Chris Christie, the former Bush "Pioneer" who is now the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, issued two months before the 2006 election - and the way news of the subpoenas was quickly leaked to local news media.
 
The subpoenas were issued in connection with allegations of corruption on the part of Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat who seemed to be facing a close race at the time. Those allegations appeared, on their face, to be convoluted and unconvincing, and Mr. Menendez claimed that both the investigation and the leaks were politically motivated.
 
Mr. Christie's actions might have been all aboveboard. But given what we've learned about the pressure placed on federal prosecutors to pursue dubious investigations of Democrats, Mr. Menendez's claims of persecution now seem quite plausible.
 
In fact, it's becoming clear that the politicization of the Justice Department was a key component of the Bush administration's attempt to create a permanent Republican lock on power. Bear in mind that if Mr. Menendez had lost, the G.O.P. would still control the Senate.
 
For now, the nation's focus is on the eight federal prosecutors fired by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. In January, Mr. Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee, under oath, that he "would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney for political reasons." But it's already clear that he did indeed dismiss all eight prosecutors for political reasons - some because they wouldn't use their offices to provide electoral help to the G.O.P., and the others probably because they refused to soft-pedal investigations of corrupt Republicans.
 
In the last few days we've also learned that Republican members of Congress called prosecutors to pressure them on politically charged cases, even though doing so seems unethical and possibly illegal.
 
The bigger scandal, however, almost surely involves prosecutors still in office. The Gonzales Eight were fired because they wouldn't go along with the Bush administration's politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance.

I hate to tar so many people with the same brush, but the evidence piles high. Even when the GOP finds comparatively honest Republicans, they get fired for not being "loyal" enough. Do the fired prosecutors still think of themselves as Republicans? Probably. They just don't get it: Whatever the principles of the Republican Party pretend to be, the Bush administration (like his father's and Reagan's and Nixon's before him) has spat on them.

Inevitable conclusion: Republicans don't believe in Democracy, Conservatives don't believe in America


Liberals Democrats are the mainstream

Fortunately, Lincoln was right: You can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007
Pew Research Center, 3/22/07:

Even more striking than the changes in some core political and social values is the dramatic shift in party identification that has occurred during the past five years. In 2002, the country was equally divided along partisan lines: 43% identified with the Republican Party or leaned to the GOP, while an identical proportion said they were Democrats. Today, half of the public (50%) either identifies as a Democrat or says they lean to the Democratic Party, compared with 35% who align with the GOP.
 
Yet the Democrats' growing advantage in party identification is tempered by the fact that the Democratic Party's overall standing with the public is no better than it was when President Bush was first inaugurated in 2001. Instead, it is the Republican Party that has rapidly lost public support, particularly among political independents. Faced with an unpopular president who is waging an increasingly unpopular war, the proportion of Americans who hold a favorable view of the Republican Party stands at 41%, down 15 points since January 2001. But during that same period, the proportion expressing a positive view of Democrats has declined by six points, to 54%.

When the GOP was winning elections with an identification in the low 40s, they claimed "a mandate" and "a permanent Republican majority". The exact opposite has happened: They are now the lunatic fringe and the Democrats have the hearts and minds of America. The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is larger than any Republican control of the House since the early 1950s.


Nine Commandment Christians

Bush is grandly claims to be a Born Again Christian, the second time he flip-flopped on his religion. When asked to name his political inspiration in the 2000 debates, he said Jesus, "because he changed my heart". Odd, considering how little he follows the example of his Savior.

Bush lies by narrowly interpreting Bearing False Witness to mean "lying under oath". He is admitting that if he -- or any "loyal Bushies" -- do not have their hand on their version of The Holy Bible, they are lying. You utterly cannot trust them. You know that they want to lie to you. Whatever Christian virtues they claim, they follow the letter of the law, not the spirit. This is why Rove is so dead set against having any conservative Republican testify under oath: Lying to US citizens is okay, even encouraged. Lying to G_d is a one-way ticket to hell. These people just utterly don't get it. They're too busy living in some convoluted ideal of the next world to run this world.

Further, it seems, there are a lot of Signing Statements attached to the conservative version of The Ten Commandments. Anyone tell Halliburton that it's not okay to steal? That the admonition Thou Shall Not Kill has far fewer escape clauses than "unless the country has oil"? When you Honor Your Father and Mother and your father has run a war in Iraq, you should, perhaps, listen to his political advice.

Apparently, "character matters" only if you're a liberal. We should be proud to be held to that standard while the right wallows in hell.


Hubris, or just more lying?

Just at the time W was claiming "a mandate" for squeaking out a tainted victory in 2004, it turns out the exact opposite was true. Voter intimidation and possible voter fraud kept turnout in key areas low. Lying about Kerry and spending massive amounts of money on gullible Republicans pushed a few purple states to red. Massive protests around the election were routinely underreported by the conservative news media. The Bush administration illegally infiltrated and spied upon anti-war protesters.

As Jim Dwyer of The New York Times reports (March 25, 2007) (probably requires free registration before disappearing into the archives):
City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention

For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.
 
From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.
 
They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.

What should have been a sobering reminder that Bush rules by fear instead resulted in the exact opposite, an attempted coup.


Too big for one column

A little bit of research dug up more examples of the exact opposite than I had initially suspected. Continued next week.

If you can think of any other examples (and can provide specifics and links) please send them to Baron Dave


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