‘Tis the season to be lying.
For Republicans currently vying for the GOP presidential nomination, the skillful art of telling half-truths and bold lies is becoming a profession worthy of the attention of the 99 percent. Last week, flailing Texas Governor Rick Perry received media coverage after releasing an ad misrepresenting President Obama’s statement from a recent international business summit.
In it, Perry claimed Obama had called Americans “lazy”, when in fact he was discussing the international business community and their lackluster performance promoting American goods abroad. Perry called the president’s policies socialist (though it was unclear if the governor fully understood the meaning of the word) and claimed Obama’s legislative efforts were “killing jobs”.
It bears noting that the American Jobs Act, for which the president is currently campaigning, would produce more than 2 million jobs in the short-term, and the 2009 stimulus package saved or created more than 3 million U.S. jobs alone, according to reports from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Fact or fiction? Fair and balanced? You decide.
WATCH ‘THE LAST WORD’ COVER DISHONEST ANTI-OBAMA COMMERCIALS:
[MSNBCMSN video=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640″ w=”592″ h=”346″ launch_id=”45424758″ id=”msnbc2723bd”]
Earlier this week Romney’s campaign launched an intentionally dishonest ad falsely portraying a 2008 quote from John McCain’s campaign as one of Barack Obama’s own. Romney then attacked the president in a widely distributed email to his supporters from Communications Director Gail Gitcho with the subject line “Game On.”
The email stated: “The White House doesn’t want to talk about the economy and continues to attempt to distract voters from President Obama’s abysmal economic record.” In defense of the misleading ad, Gitcho says the campaign resorted to dishonesty because of the President’s refusal to discuss the economy. There’s only one caveat here: President Obama has been talking about nothing but the economy.
The president’s jobs proposal, which most economists agree will put millions of Americans back to work, has become the central communicative tenement of the Obama White House and Congressional Democrats.
A quick visit to the White House website underscores a number of speeches the president has recently given, all discussing jobs and the economy. In fact, on November 21st, the day Mitt Romney’s campaign actually released its faux-ad, President Obama attended a bill signing to address concerns for America’s veterans and remarked:
“Tomorrow, I’m heading to New Hampshire to talk about another proposal in the American Jobs Act, and that’s a tax cut for nearly every worker and small business owner in America. Democrats and Republicans have traditionally supported these kinds of tax cuts. Independent economists from across the political spectrum have said this proposal is one of the best ways to boost our economy and spur hiring. It’s going to be easier for us to hire our vets if the overall economy is going strong. So there’s no reason not to vote for these tax cuts.”
Any comprehensive, objective look at Obama’s public speeches, web addresses and official statements released by the White House for the past three months have largely focused on the American economy. Why should political ads be exempt from laws regarding fraud?
By any standard of journalistic integrity, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are releasing campaign ads that quote President Obama out of context in a way that severely distorts the meaning of his words, and as such are objectively dishonest. Many among the political classes will say this is par for the course when running for high office, and the nature of the beast that is Washington.
But it seems that this president, in particular, has been forced to defend against a war of lies and innuendo on all fronts for the past three years. His character has been assassinated in ways that no modern president has been forced to contend.
From the rise of the birther movement, to suspicions that he is secretly Muslim and planning a jihad against America, to the ridiculous assertion that he hates the nation, doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, and has traveled the world “apologizing” for America, it seems the GOP is hell bent on inventing an alternate universe in which we all sip tea with talking rabbits and mad hatters.
Despite the 2008 jubalince and hails of a post-racial era, the nation has actually been setback on a regressive course for fear that the ruling political and economic class has lost its grip, because this son of an African father has managed to grasp hold to the seat of power they assumed would always belong to them.
The question now becomes, will these tactics backfire? Will voters see through the lies, and the glossy campaign adverts to decipher that most of the anti-Obama rhetoric and false claims are fundamentally dishonest? And will the press cease giving a pass to Republicans who claim their perspective is a matter of opinion, not fact?
Truth matters. Jobs matter. The lives of American troops matter. Health care matters. And while Romney, Perry, Gingrich, Bachmann, and Cain are toying with policy proposals, misrepresenting this President’s record, and using smokescreens to cover their own flip-flops, the nation remains at war, the economy teeters on the edge of recovery and most Americans can’t afford the happy meal, let alone the side order of lies.