Blatant Dishonesty

Say what you want about the Republican and Democratic positions on the budget showdown (as I’m writing this a shutdown is still looming, though last minute talks continue), Dana Loesch is outlandish in this video clip. Representing the “tea party” she spars with Paul Begala and David Gergen over the issues behind the shutdown.

Her claim: efforts to defund Washington DC’s Planned Parenthood are about spending, not about abortion.   Apparently that’s what is holding up agreement on either a final deal over the budget crisis, or at least a one week stop gap measure to give negotiators more time.  The Republicans want to stick it to planned parenthood because they disapprove of that organization’s position on abortion.

Planned parenthood in DC does much more in terms of womens’ health in a city that where there is real poverty.   Cutting the funds would cut a few abortions, but also cancer screenings and other services.  Moreover, the amount of money spent is negligible.  The Democrats have accepted nearly $40 billion in cuts, something which involves considerable compromise with the Republicans.    The two sides are in virtual agreement about the amount of the cuts.   The only thing standing in the way is the abortion issue.

Now, if the Ms. Loesch was straight forward and said “this is an issue of such principle that we are willing to shut down the government for it” I’d at least respect her honesty.   Instead she makes the absurd claim that it is just about the spending, nothing more.   She then says if the Democrats reject this Republican demand they will be shutting down the government and endangering military pay over Planned Parenthood.   “Do you really want to shut down the government over one organization,” she asked?

The audacity!   The Republicans are the ones choosing to make this an issue and a barrier to an agreement.   They are the ones apparently willing to endanger military pay and shut down the government over their dislike for planned parenthood.   It isn’t about “the spending” because the amount is so small compared to what else is being cut that it has a negligible impact on the budget.    While one might think it bad enough to make that an issue to shut down the government over, the inability to admit openly what is incredibly obvious is over the top.    Truth doesn’t matter, all that matters if you can twist the rhetoric and blame the other side.

Also worrying about a government shut down, Utah Senator Mike Lee charges Obama with planning the shut down last year with nefarious intent.   He says otherwise the Democrats would have passed a budget last year (they did try but a GOP filibuster threat prevented them from moving foward).    I don’t think anyone can doubt that the Democrats have given a lot of ground and President Obama has put political capital on the line to try to reach a deal.   I think he wants a deal (and probably will get one).   To say he’s plotting this to hurt the US or achieve political gain is another example of rhetoric concerned not about the truth but spin.

Yes, people like Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter, who compares the GOP efforts on abortion to Nazi Germany and claims the Republicans want to “kill women” earn the same kind of criticism.  Over the top rhetoric is all too common these days.   Still, it’s troubling to see spin meisters make such blatantly dishonest claims — something no one can truly believe — like that of Dana Loesch.  It is about abortion and planned parenthood, admit it!

Whether or not the government should fund such programs certainly can be debated.    People certainly can and should continue debating the merits of US abortion policy.   But at this point in time the issue is spending and the budget.   Harm could be done to the recovery and to many Americans if the politicians can’t conclude a deal and keep the government operating.  Once a budget deal is reached, discussion can start about the competing budget plans put out by each party and the long term fiscal health of the United States.   Difficult decisions lay ahead.

These decisions and a national conversation on debt and the sustainability of the budget cannot be held unless people talk honestly.    Even if the rhetoric gets heated with comparisons to the Nazis or other bits of hyperbole, clear and obvious dishonesty is the most dangerous obstacle to a serious debate.   If its all a spin game spectacle will triumph over reality and emotion will trump reason.   Dana Loesch should be ashamed of her obvious effort to deny reality because of the political consequences of the truth.   She looked like a fool.

  1. #1 by classicliberal2 on April 8, 2011 - 21:22

    There’s no honesty in any of this, Scott. The press won’t report it, but the dirty little secret behind Republicans’ last-minute poison-pill efforts is that their base wants a government shut-down. That base has made it very clear it won’t punish them for shutting it down–what do they have to lose? Their leader in the House can’t even negotiate on their behalf, because he’s more concerned about maintaining his grip on power than he is with crafting sound public policy. These things don’t just give the present debate critical perspective–it is literally impossible to even understand the present debate without understanding them. Yet on the rare occasions when they’re reported, they’re barely even mentioned.

    To continue in this vein, “spending cuts” have been converted, in the public discourse, into a thing unto themselves, with no one either asking or telling what they really mean. What they mean, of course, is unemployment. Throwing people out of work. I was happy to see Jim Naureckas, over at the FAIR blog try to draw some attention to this today:
    And Naureckas is right–public support for the kind of budget-cutting presently being bandied about would disappear over night, if people were actually told that basic fact. Telling people “spending cuts” means increasing unemployment would help explain Democratic reluctance to embrace big cuts, and it would show how much Democrats have already compromised with Republicans by agreeing to ANY cuts. Regularly pointing out Republicans’ unrelenting obstructionism last year would put a stop to the constant repetition of that line about Democratic failure to pass a budget last year. But none of this is a story the corporate press is willing to tell. There is a vacuum, there, and what’s filling it, instead of the real story, is exactly the sort of cartoon you describe.

  1. Shutdown Would Impact Military Pay |

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