There is a page that I run on Facebook called “Politics Without the Crazy Pills” that was setup as a way to cut through the spin and rhetoric that so often dominates political discourse in modern times. One of my goals in entering the world of politics was to deal mostly with actual facts, and spark meaningful debate based on different viewpoints pertaining to said facts. What I found is that it is impossible to engage detractors in any type of substantive debate when they don’t even agree on the basic factual information. How can you convince somebody who believes that the Earth is 7,000 years old that a meteor killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?
Welcome to post-policy America.
The cornerstone of the Republican Party since 2010 has been rampant obstructionism. From the day that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the GOP’s #1 goal was to deny Barack Obama a second term, few can argue that the right has had any other agenda whatsoever. We know what the general blueprint is – eliminate Medicare, gut public investments, repeal the Affordable Care Act — but beyond that, there’s no clear indication that the House even intends to try to pass legislation this year or next. Of course, that is if you don’t count them proposing to defund ACORN, even though it hasn’t existed since 2010. It’s all style, zero substance.
What is the line that can’t be crossed in attempting to discredit the President? Sure, he’s a communist, a socialist, a Kenyan, a Muslim, etc. Should the few remaining politicians with souls be forced to sell them? Is the truth at all important when disagreeing with political ideology? Does it even matter?
Since I made a big deal about facts, I thought I’d give a few simple examples of how the arguments of some conservatives do not seem to be based in reality:
Conservative Argument #1 – Susan Rice lied, covered up, and edited the talking points on the Benghazi attack.
Her involvement was so heinous that despite a decade of exemplary service, she was forced to remove her name from consideration to be the Secretary of State. On a positive note, she was just appointed to be President Obama’s new National Security Adviser To hear Republicans talk about her, she personally shot and killed Ambassador Stevens at the direct order of President Obama. As most people know, it turns out that the intelligence a few days after the attack (as is often the case) was incomplete and inaccurate, and there were some national security issues that needed to be classified in order to protect other American lives. Here is what Ambassador Rice said on these shows that was so controversial. These are exact quotes and transcripts:
On NBC: Meet the Press
Rice described her report as “the best information we have at present” and specifically said, “We look to [the FBI] investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.”
On CBS: Face the Nation
Rice said, “We’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions.” Although she described the intelligence community’s assessment of the attack as a spontaneous protest until “extremist elements” joined in the effort, she did not rule out the possibility that the attack had been plotted for months in advance. She simply said: “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or pre-planned.”
When asked if a terrorist group like al Qaeda might have been behind the attack, Rice acknowledged the possibility in this dialogue with host Bob Schieffer.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al Qaeda had some part in this?
SUSAN RICE: Well, we’ll have to find out that out. I mean I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.
On Fox News Sunday:
Rice said, “Obviously, we will wait for the results of the investigation and we don’t want to jump to conclusions before then.”
Where was Tom Donilon, anyway? He wasn’t even THERE! Sadly even now… today, Fox News is STILL using debunked talking points on the air to oppose Susan Rice’s promotion.
Conservative Argument #2 – The deficit has skyrocketed under President Obama.
This is STILL one of the GOP’s favorite talking points despite increasingly favorable numbers across the economic board. The Dow Jones is over 15,000 and setting new records almost daily. Consumer confidence is at the highest levels in seven years. Housing has rebounded and new home sales are also at seven year highs. Job creation is at its highest levels since April 2008. Unemployment is dropping, the deficit is shrinking.
… None of that matters.
Now, part of it may be because many people do not understand the simple difference between what is national debt, and annual deficit. Part of it is because for some reason, pundits don’t seem to mention that the federal fiscal year does not begin the second that a president is sworn in.
For example, the United States government fiscal year for 2013 (“FY 2013” or “FY13”) is as follows:
1st quarter: 1 October 2012 – 31 December 2012
2nd quarter: 1 January 2013 – 31 March 2013
3rd quarter: 1 April 2013 – 30 June 2013
4th quarter: 1 July 2013 – 30 September 2013
So when conservatives forget that George Bush signed TARP into law on October 3, 2008, or that the budget that was in effect for 2009 was also signed by Bush, it makes it tough to argue that factually, Barack Obama has cut the deficit in half.
Conservative Argument #3 – Obama is Coming for Your Guns
Has anyone signed a law calling for any type of gun confiscation? Has a law even been voted down that would take away guns? Has anybody in Congress even offered this as a potential idea or bill? Have you ever tried to tell your typical “Guntamentalist” this? What typically ends up happening in any of these types of debates is a journey down a conservative talking point rabbit hole with little to no relevance to the actual conversation. Here’s an example:
REALITY PERSON: You know, expanding background checks to cover all gun transactions could cut down on gun crime, and make our country safer.
POST-POLICY PERSON: NO WAY! They just want to know where our guns are so they can come TAKE EM! It is a slippery slope to them coming for our guns!
REALITY PERSON: Actually, in the legislation proposed, it is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison to create any type of national gun registry, so that’s really not a possibility.
POST-POLICY PERSON: COLD DEAD HANDS! FAST AND FURIOUS! BENGHAZI! WHY DON’T YOU JUST BAN CARS AND HAMMERS TOO!?
The point is, we could go down this road all day long. Obamacare’s death panels, the “fake” unemployment numbers, Solyndra, etc. are all distractions that keep people outraged in their bubble instead of engaging people who might have different ideas than they do. Believe it or not, a difference in opinion on how to move the country forward is actually a GOOD thing. The foundation of Democracy is getting some smart people together with different ideas, debating the merits of all of those ideas, and finding some common ground and compromise that incorporates THE BEST ideas for everyone.
… Does anybody remember the last time the GOP had an idea?
–Sean Kemmerer is a freelance writer, administrator of Politics Without The Crazy Pills , and wrote this column as a paid Obama troll from his office overlooking a FEMA concentration camp being circled by black helicopters flown by men in blue helmets.
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