First, they will fog up the airwaves with sulfuric lies and feigned concern over the nation’s debt and its effect on future generations. Of course, they had no problem during the Bush years spending a billion dollars a week in money borrowed from China to fight two wars. It was of so little concern that the war expenditures were not even part of the Bush budgets, but with a Democrat in the White House, Republicans will repeat the fabrication that they have got religion now when it comes to spending.
What they refuse to acknowledge publicly, however, is that it really doesn’t matter what this President does fiscally—-how much he reduces the deficit or slashes spending or cancels out debt. None of that matters at all because Republicans know that what really matters between now and November 2012 is keeping alive The Lie that won't die. You know the one I’m talking about.
For evidence there was the CPAC spectacle held a few days ago in Washington. While a hopeful revolution was under way among the youthful masses of Egypt, a bizarre pageantry of a wholly different sort was going on among the jades in our nation’s capital — a fantasy revolution of delusional paranoiacs, a Marat-Sade of right-wing loonies. Although CPAC stands for “Conservative Political Action Conference” the acronym could with equal justice have meant “Crazy People Are Coming.” There were more nuts in D.C. for the occasion than in a boxcar-load of Planters Deluxe Mix.
The Usual Suspects were there, of course—Michelle Bachmann, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Donald Rumsfeld, and Ann Coulter. Sarah Palin was represented by an imposter, and there was even a touch of the exotic like Donald Trump. It was all about feeding the base of a Republican party which these days manages to exist wholly outside history, truth, or reason. In fact, there is something of an inverse relationship between Republican politicians, even the more normal ones, and the reality-based world.
The saner you actually are, the crazier the things you have to say to order to inoculate yourself in the GOP against accusations of apostasy. You have to “crazy it up” to even get in the game and to prove your bona fides as a real Republican, which is why even conventional sorts like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, who were once considered to be legitimately sane and responsible, had to do their Birther thing, babbling about the President’s supposed lack of American citizenship like second-string comics working side rooms on the dark side of the moon.
The overall theme of the conference was this: Barack Obama is a president for whom we should harbor distrust rather than loyalty. Evidence of his actual birth in Hawaii or his Christian history (they used to pillory him because of his Church of Christ pastor, Jeremiah Wright; remember?) is to be ignored or cast out of mind, lest we forget that the President is not One of Us..
No one understands the way this motif works better than John Boehner, the most powerful symbol of the Republican mainstream these days, who felt compelled to say on Meet the Press the day after the CPAC circus was over that it was not his job, as Speaker, to tell any of the hard-core birthers among Republican House members (one of whom is Tennessee's own Marsha Blackburn) what to think on the score of the President's citizenship — still less to set the American people straight..
(Mr. Boehner is a veteran dissembler, of course — adept at perpetuating the fiction that he and his party are seriously focused on creating jobs and fixing the horrendous unemployment problem that was created during the Bush years.)
Once President Obama gets a fix on America's financial deficit, he should start tackling the even more serious Truth Deficit. This country is up to its eyeballs in lies, propaganda, and right-wing indoctrination. A growing segment of our population is living in a parallel universe of media-contrived lies which metastasize like a cancer on the body politic.
President Obama needs to end this charade by confronting the liars, summoning every Republican member of Congress to the White House for a nationally televised debunking— broadcast live on all networks—- in which the Birthers and their fellow travelers and enablers will be forced to put up some real evidence or shut up. Finally.
Cheri DelBrocco, the Flyer's “Mad as Hell” online columnist, is a featured guest every Wednesday morning during the “Eyes on Memphis” show on KWAM-AM 990.