Just As I Thought

Lies and the Republicans who tell them

Wow, people are starting to think for themselves and realize that the Bush campaign is lying. A lot.

In his speech to the Republican National Convention, Arnold Schwarzenegger said of his boyhood in Austria, “I saw tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes.”

… As for those “tanks in the streets,” by the time Mr. Schwarzenegger was born, any Soviet tanks in Austria — there were never any in Styria — were long gone.

So for what purpose did Mr. Schwarzenegger feel it was necessary to tell lies? Perhaps he was caught up in the Bush campaign’s mood of falsehood and distortion.

In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, President Bush attacked John F. Kerry for voting against his $87 billion funding request for Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Bush said: “There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat.”

In fact, Mr. Kerry voted for a version of the bill that contained provisions to provide the $87 billion and against a version that would pass the entire cost on to our children.

Unfortunately, the version that passed the cost on to our children won.

There’s nothing complicated about that.

And now, another example from the hypocrisy file:

Chad Naso [letters, Sept. 1] said, “In his speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention, John McCain said that in waging war in Afghanistan, President Bush ‘took the fight to our enemies . . . seriously injuring al Qaeda and destroying the regime that gave them safe haven.’ ” He then cited what he described as the president’s “reluctance” to pursue the remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda “with the full force of our military.”

I am tired of this canard from the left. The Taliban government was destroyed, and al Qaeda fled, crossing sovereign borders to Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and other hospitable countries.

Would Mr. Naso have us use “the full force of our military” to violate other nations’ sovereignty? Does he think a few hundred thousand troops in Afghanistan would intimidate al Qaeda in Pakistan or Iran? Does he believe that this country can’t do two tasks at the same time?
First off, is this right wing writer actually saying that we shouldn’t violate another nation’s sovereignty? Really? Has he ever heard of the Bush Doctrine?
Secondly, he seems to be claiming victory against the Taliban and al Qaeda. Like the president, he must not read the papers. We’re still fighting those two groups, in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, FAIR has done a bit of — gasp — fact checking. They debunk the lies at the Republican convention which the news media failed to check out:

It is the function of journalism to separate fact from fiction. In covering the Republican National Convention of 2004, the media made isolated efforts to point out some of the convention speakers’ more egregious distortions, but on the whole failed in their vital role of letting citizens know when they are being lied to.

To take the example that dominated the convention perhaps more than any other claim: Professional politicians and political correspondents alike know that legislators frequently vote against appropriations for a variety of reasons, even though they do not seek to eliminate the programs being voted on. They know that different versions of the same appropriation are often offered, and that lawmakers will sometimes vote for one version and against another– not because they suffer from multiple personality disorder, but because that’s how they express disagreements about how government programs should be funded.

No one who has spent any amount of time in or around government would find this the least bit confusing. Yet news analysts generally allowed Republican Party leaders to pretend shock that Sen. John Kerry would vote against an $87 billion appropriation for the Iraq War– as if this meant that Kerry opposed giving troops “money for bullets, and fuel, and vehicles, and body armor,” as George W. Bush declared ( 9/2/04). (The references to Kerry voting against body armor were particularly disingenuous, given that the $87 billion only included money for body armor at the insistence of congressional Democrats– Army Times, 10/20/03.)

And journalists were complacent as Republicans expressed mock bafflement over why Kerry would vote against this bill when he had voted for another version of the bill (or “exactly the same thing,” in former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s words– 8/30/04). The reason that Kerry introduced an alternative bill– because he wanted to pay for the appropriation by raising taxes on the wealthy rather than through deficit spending– was well-publicized at the time (Washington Post, 9/18/03). Yet rather than challenging the dishonesty of this centerpiece of the Republican attack on Kerry, CNN’s Jeff Greenfield after Bush’s speech (9/2/04) called it “one of the most familiar and effective lines of his stump speech.”

Bush himself threatened to veto the Iraq spending bill if the reconstruction aid for Iraq it included was in the form of loans rather than grants; by the logic of the Republican convention, Bush “flip-flopped” exactly the same way that Kerry did on the $87 billion by supporting one version of the bill and opposing another. Yet a Nexis search of television coverage of the convention turns up only one reference to Bush’s veto of the bill, by Paul Begala on CNN ( 9/1/04). Overwhelmingly, TV pundits covering the convention allowed the charade surrounding the $87 billion to pass without critical comment.
I won’t reprint the whole thing here, but there are quite a lot of examples of lies from the right that were not questioned by the media. The liberal media, mind you.

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