Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dems Go the "Lying Liars" Route

So far in my Kant course at the University of Washington the philosophy prof has emitted two political zingers.  I regret to say that neither were high-toned reflections of his philosophical knowledge.

One zinger was a put-down on former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, representing him as a knuckledragging mouthpiece for a theocratic state.  The other was repeating the current Democratic talking point that Mitt Romney won the debate last week because he lied.

It is astonishing how educated people like you and me just parrot the partisan talking points of our political masters.  I mean, couldn't this chap come up with a zinger out of Horkheimer or Rorty?

Look.  All politicians lie.  They lie because we the voters insist on it.  We cannot stand the truth.  But if Mitt Romney lied in the debate then what about President Obama?  He insisted that Romney had proposed a $5 trillion tax cut.  Which is true if you leave out the other half of his tax plan.  On the one hand he proposes to reduce incomes taxes by reducing the tax rates.  On the other he proposes to balance that by eliminating tax loopholes.

Romney's proposal is standard Republican boilerplate that goes back at least to President Reagan's 1986 tax cut, which reduced tax rates across the board and also swept away a whole forest of deductions.  The philosophical, political and practical reason for this is that all deductions and subsidies create distortions in the economy, and that reduces economic growth.  Moreover, as Republicans (and occasionally Democrats) have reduced tax rates the overall share contributed by the rich has gone up.  See here.

But you can see the appeal of the "lying liars" attack.  It gets the partisan government university professors all riled up and you need your supporters to be all riled up in order to be certain that they will get to the polls and vote.

Here is a thought that just occurred to me.  The big hit on the Democrats this election will be in the African American vote.  President Obama just shamed the whole African American community with his Affirmative Action performance in debate.  They say that the purpose of negative ads is to demoralize the opponent's supporters.  And if you are an African American you have to be ashamed of the president's performance.

All of which goes back to the assumption in most of the polls that the turnout in 2012 will at least approximate to 2008.  I suspect that this is utter fantasy.  My guess is that African Americans are going to revert to normal voting turnout, Hispanics are going to turn off the president, and Republicans are going to be crawling over broken glass to get to the polls.  And then there are women.  What will women think about the negative body language from President Obama last week?  They will think about cheating husbands trying to hide something from them with reduced eye contact and scowls.

They say you should live in the moment, forgetting about the hopes of the future and the glories of the past.  That probably applies in spades this October.  There will probably not be a better month to be a Republican and a conservative again in my lifetime, and maybe in yours.

And if it all ends in tears?  Hey, live in the moment!

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