Thursday, December 22, 2011


PolitiFact, a subsidiary of the Tampa Bay Times made news on 12/20/2011 when it published its 2011 Lie of the Year. The controversial expression was “Republicans voted to end Medicare.”

PolitiFact provides several instances of the expression being used from 3/31/2011 to 8/30/2011. In a post on the fund-raising efforts of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), I also noted its use:

Harry Reid on 9/19/2011:
“Paul Ryan dreams of ending Medicare forever.”

James Carville on 9/30/2011:
“Jim DeMint will end Medicare.”

The good news is that the “Lie of the Year” designation has caused a modification in language used by the DSCC. A 12/22/2011 fund-raising letter (two days after the PolitiFact publication) uses this phraseology:

Kick Grandma Off Medicare & Give Her a Coupon: Republicans all lined up in favor of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s extreme budget plan earlier this year that would kill Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program.

I suppose that’s progress, but the style and intent remain: Republicans are bad people who want to steal from our Seniors. Those are classic Democratic Party themes.

The use of truth or fiction by a political movement becomes subordinate to the task of repeating the themes. In the Middle East, Arabic cultures teach that Jews are bad people. In Asia, the North Korean culture teaches that Americans are bad people. The techniques of repetition are widespread in both anti-Semitic and anti-American cultures.

Is something like that going on here?

One thing we do know is that if you want to be cool like the cast members of Saturday Night Live, you had better not be a Republican.

And when you are on the DSCC mailing list, you receive an even stronger message.

In teaching a belief system, truth or fiction is not an issue. What’s important is the repetition.

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