Truth is always a casualty of political campaigns. Politicians lie, exaggerate and bend the truth to get elected.  That’s not news and in that regard this year’s election is no different from others.  As always let the voter beware especially of television ads. To find out the truth of what’s happening the populace has to dig a little deeper.  The problem is that fewer and fewer of the voters are willing to do that.  They judge politicians on whether their lives have improved or not and their own ideologies.  People feel that they cannot actively judge whether a politican’s platform is going to be good for them or not so they vote based on other things. I was reminded of this while watching a political commercial featuring people who claim that they voted for Obama in 2008 but that he has not improved their lives so they should elect the Republicans.

Okay so let me get this straight.  The deregulation that Republicans advocated led to the greed of Wall Street bringing our economy to the brink of depression, the loss of jobs and the destruction of lives. The tax cuts that they advocated have benefited the rich rather than the middle class so much that they have created the greatest income inequality the country has ever seen. The Republicans and especially the Tea Party have prevented the implementation of policies (even those they proposed or advocated) that would have improved the country because they did not want Obama to get credit for it. They advocate economic policies that have never worked e.g. tax cuts for the rich who are supposedly “job creators.” They have denied well established scientific theories like global warming and evolution in favor of Bible stories.  They want to reestablish male control over women’s bodies. They criticize the stimulus package when in reality it was one third the tax cuts that they advocated and restricted by the limitations that they placed upon it. They would not lessen the tax burden on the middle class unless tax cuts on the wealthy were included. These are the people the RNC want me to vote for?

“Swiftboating” is drawn from the 2002 presidential campaign when the Republicans wanted you to believe that John Kerry, a decorated war veteran, actually did not deserve your vote while George W. Bush who stayed at home and served in the reserves only when he felt like it, did deserve your vote.  While it was eventually proved that the allegations against Kerry were lies the damage was done.  What was one of his biggest strengths had been negated while one of Bush’s greatest weaknesses was also negated.  They did this by lying to convince voters that black was actually white and white was actually black.  The debate over Medicare is the same thing.  The Republicans criticized Obama for cutting Medicare when in reality his cuts don’t affect benefits paid to individuals but payments made to providers in order to become more efficient.  At a less political time these would have been cuts applauded by the Republicans. At the same time they are trying to portray themselves as the protectors of Medicare when the budget cuts espoused by Romney and especially Ryan would cut the number of people receiving benefits and the amount they received even more. This is classic swiftboating; trying to convince you through distortions and outright lies that things are the opposite of what they are.

The problem in believing the lies and ignoring the reality is that the reality eventually comes home to roost. The Republican economic plans will not work and will plunge the economy further into recession just as recovery is occurring. Just look at what the austerity plans have done to Europe. The social agenda of the Tea Party dominated Republicans will shred the social net, curtail women’s reproductive rights, and impose an “American Taliban” as Aaron Sorkin has called it. The middle class will fall further behind the rich and the reserve army of the unemployed will continue to grow.

The recession has shaken the middle class tremendously. The American dream of livelong employment, home ownership and a better life for one’s children, has never seemed so far away. The Republicans are using scare tactics, lies and a shell game to get you to vote for them. They are trying to convince you that the deficit (one that they helped create) is the most serious problem we face when it is actually a lack of confidence in consumers that is preventing business from hiring and the economy from expanding. Their plan will indeed help the rich get richer but it will not help the middle class.  If the middle class votes for them they need to ask, “What cha gonna do when they come for you?”

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