Who are These People and Who Would Trust Them?

As the United States approaches fiscal collapse, with Republicans in Congress refusing to avert it, the “news” is not dominated by the debt ceiling crisis but by Rod Blagojevich,  the former governor of Illinois, who was convicted of corruption.  Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pursues a pattern of accepting gifts from people with cases before him without so much as a slap on the wrist.

Blagojevich is a Democrat. Thomas is a Republican.

How relentless are the mills of “justice” when Democrats (like Anthony Weiner) are involved, and how ineffective they are when Republicans (like David Vitter) are at fault.

I sit before the TV stunned by the impunity with which Republicans lie and cheat.

And I am bewildered by the kind of people carrying the Republican banner. Why do media representatives take them seriously?

It doesn’t seem to matter that their associates are no better than common criminals, that Rick Santorum, for example, was on the board of a scandal-plagued health facility in Virginia, or that Rick Scott’s health care company paid a $1.7-billion fine for Medicare fraud before his election as Florida’s governor.

It seems the more blatant the disregard for honesty or decency the more popular they are with the Republican “base.”

Have you listened to Michele Bachmann (featured on the magazine cover above)? Have you watched her look reporters in the eye and deny that she has “ever gotten a penny” from a family farm subsidized by the government?

Today an Associated Press report reveals she is lying. AP reports that Bachmann’s financial disclosure statements show tens of thousands in personal income from the farm.

This woman is not the “flake” that Chris Wallace of Fox News unintentionally suggested (to his instant regret). She is a university trained tax lawyer who knows exactly what she is doing. And what she is doing is telling lies.

I don’t just mean her nonsense about the Founding Fathers ending slavery and so on. I don’t much care that she mistakes Concord, New Hampshire, for Concord, Massachusetts, or mixes up the birth places of John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy. Sure, they show how little concern she has for historical accuracy, but that’s not what keeps me up at night.

It’s when she lies deliberately and with malice aforethought – and gets away with it – that I get scared.

Example:

BACHMANN: “It’s ironic and sad that the president released all of the oil from the strategic oil reserve. … There’s only a limited amount of oil that we have in the strategic oil reserve. It’s there for emergencies.” — On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

THE FACTS: Obama did not empty all the oil from the strategic reserve, as Bachmann said. He approved the release of 30 million barrels, about 4 percent of the 727 million barrels stored in salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. It’s true that the U.S. normally taps the reserve for more dire emergencies than exist today, and that exposes Obama to criticism that he acted for political gain. But the reserve has never been fuller; it held 707 million barrels when last tapped, after 2008 hurricanes.

Example:

BACHMANN: “One. That’s the number of new drilling permits under the Obama administration since they came into office.” — Comment to a conservative conference in Iowa in March.

THE FACTS: The Obama administration issued more than 200 new drilling permits before the Gulf oil spill alone. Over the past year, since new safety standards were imposed, the administration has issued more than 60 shallow-water drilling permits. Since the deep water moratorium was lifted in October, nine new wells have been approved.

Politifact.com, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking service of the St. Petersburg Times, found 17 of 24 recent Bachmann allegations to be false .  For the AP report, including the examples above, click here.

This is no flake. This is a dangerous psychopath with utter contempt for the truth.

But her lies seem to make her even more popular with the Republican “base.” I would not be surprised if she sweeps the Iowa primary and goes on to win the nomination.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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