Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Facts That Republicans Have A Hard Time Grasping: No. 1 In A Series


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.


Jack Jodell said...

Your "friend" is not your friend. You may share the same place of employment, or bar, or entertainment preferences, but you most definitely don't share the same values.

Current Republicans are ignorant and illogical. Their ignorance borders on sheer stupidity. They are very self-centered individuals - so much so, in fact, that all that is presented to them must fit their own preconceived notions or it is categorically rejected as false. These people are not empiricists: they are the same types today who once insisted the sun revolves around the earth or that the earth is flat and one could fall off the edge of it. There is no hope for these idiots; they live in a world of illusion and delusion.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Jack, thanks as always for stopping by. I've found that my right-wing friend and I get along well, provided we just don't discuss politics much.
Here where I live in Texas, progressives are extremely few and far between. The few "progressives" I even know are actually what I'd call moderate right-wingers. These are people who're scared to death of real change and they're as anti-socialist as any Rush listener I know.
I've tried to convince them that socialism and democracy can co-exist---but they don't want to hear about it. I've also tried to tell them that there are many types of socialism, including those where the private sector does have its place. I'm not entirely anti-business---I just want the private sector to be more responsible to society--and I want a government that steps up to the plate to address the shortcomings of capitalism (instead of the system we have now, where the rich & powerful control the government).
In any case, a true friend is a true friend: someone you can rely on. I've had what I thought were "friends" who actually turned out to be back-stabbers---people I wouldn't trust any more than I'd trust Rush himself.

Jack Jodell said...

I'm glad that you and that other fellow get along well in other areas. How in the world did you happen to become the one sane person surrounded by an absolute sea of barbarians there?

Your comments on the private sector mirror my own feelings.

Zach said...

Let's be honest - not ALL Republicans are this ignorant and/or oblivious. It's just the 90% who are that make the other 10% look bad.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Zach, thanks for your comment. Do you really believe that as many as 10 percent of Republicans would dispute Rush's crazy assertion that the CBO is nonpartisan? If so, I just have one question: where, exactly, are these non-Kool-Aid-drinking Republicans? Maybe they existed 20 years ago, but I simply don't see them anywhere these days.
I do see an occasional Republican who is touted as a "moderate." (Someone like Michael Bloomberg, for example). However, if you actually listen to the likes of Bloomberg, there's really nothing "moderate" or "Liberal" about him. He's just another right-wing hack who'd likely agree with Rush on 99 of 100 issues.
Frankly, finding a "moderate" or "reasonable" Republican these days is about as likely as finding a Democrat with a spine. (i.e. they simply don't exist).

Mike said...

Marc said,
Frankly, finding a "moderate" or "reasonable" Republican these days is about as likely as finding a Democrat with a spine. (i.e. they simply don't exist).

The "moderate Republican" of bygone days is today's Blue Dog Democrat. Anyone in the GOP who tries to be anything other than a far-right winger will soon face a primary challenge from a Tea Party candidate and likely find themselves on the street. Ask Richard Lugar. And look at how Orrin Hatch and Olympia Snowe had to kiss Tea Party ass in order to gain permission to stay in the GOP fold. It really is indisputable that Ronald Reagan would not be a considered a serious candidate in today's GOP if he came to the table with the same policies he had during his time in office. He would have to tack even harder to the right in order to curry the necessary favor with the radical views of today's Republican Party. Also, what is truly disappointing is the media's lack of reporting on just how radical the GOP has become. Their "both sides have extremes" coverage is just plainly false. There is no Tea Party equivalent within the Democratic Party. Not since the days of the segregationist Democrats has their been anything even close.

Unknown said...

In case you missed this, explains the ideologues using science: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney?page=1