By MARC McDONALD
Republicans these days inhabit a world that is different from the rest of us. Their world is a hermetically-sealed unit through which certain facts can never penetrate. Argue with Republicans all you want, but you will never break through this barrier.
This is one reason you simply can't argue with Republicans on many issues of the day, from Global Warming to the missing WMDs in Iraq. No matter how many indisputable facts you toss into your argument, you'll simply never get anywhere.
In my experience, the Republican will simply deny the existence of facts. If that's not possible, he or she will claim that your source is unreliable (even if your source is rock-solid numbers from, say, the U.S. Treasury Department). If all else fails, the Republican will simply start screaming and shouting his point of the view (as though simply raising one's voice enhances one's argument). Finally, as a last resort, the Republican will simply try to change the subject, or just walk away.
I saw the above tactics in action during a recent argument with a right-wing friend. He was peddling the standard GOP line that "Obama's 2009 stimulus was a failure and a waste of taxpayer money." I pointed out to him that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the stimulus increased the number of people employed by between 0.4 million and 2.4 million. The CBO also noted that the stimulus raised GDP by between 0.3 and 1.9 percent in the third quarter of 2011. In other words, the stimulus was a success and it prevented the Second-Great-Depression-in-the-making that Obama inherited from Bush from ever happening.
My right-wing friend disputed the CBO report. The CBO, he claimed is a Liberal partisan group and in any case, their numbers are suspect. (This is probably what Rush has been peddling to his audience lately).
Earth to GOP: the CBO is hardly "partisan." Basically, it's the government's own statistics agency and its numbers are widely used by both the Republicans and the Democrats. The CBO is a mainstream government agency that is about as partisan as the phone book. All it does is crunch numbers, compile them and then release them to the public.
It speaks volumes about the GOP mindset that my friend would even attempt to attack the CBO as a "partisan" and "non-reliable" source. I mean, if a mainstream government agency like the CBO is unreliable, then who, exactly, is a reliable source?
While he bashes the CBO as "partisan" and "unreliable," my friend, during his arguments, routinely quotes anything and everything Rush Limbaugh says as the absolute gospel truth. If Rush said it, it must be true. Yes: this drug-using, obese, fact-challenged, racist, serial liar is a "reliable" source---and yet a mainstream non-partisan statistics agency like the CBO is "suspect."
Such is the alternate universe in which Republicans live.
Trying to inform these people about basic, fundamental facts that challenge their Rush-twisted world viewpoint is like trying to teach a shark to appreciate Mozart.
One of the hardest facts to try to get a Republican to accept is that the GOP in reality is NOT the fiscally conservative party that it sells itself as. In fact, the Democrats are America's fiscally conservative party as this chart (see below) clearly reveals.
Despite this, the GOP succeeds in continuing to sell their party as America's "fiscally conservative" party. By simply repeating this lie, over and over, they've managed to convince tens of millions of America of this---not just Republicans, but millions of independents, and even many Democrats.
Go to any encyclopedia and look up "Republican" and you'll consistently find the GOP described as America's "fiscally conservative" party. It's incredible that this image endures, despite decades of hard evidence to the contrary.
In this case, not only are Republicans oblivious to the facts. But so is virtually everyone else in America, from encyclopedia authors to the mainstream media. By simply repeating their mantra of "we support fiscal conservatism" over and over, the GOP has managed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes.
I'm sure that future historians, when they survey the wreckage of the collapsed American empire, will marvel that Republicans managed to fool so many people for so long.