Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lies, lies and more lies - the McCain/Palin campaign

It seems as though, over the last few days, the traditional media has woken up to what the McCain/Palin campaign is doing - and are finally - finally - beginning to call them on it - something that the blogosphere's been doing for weeks. Yup - the media is using the "L" word.

The McCain/Palin campaign are LYING LIARS who are telling LIE after LIE after LIE.

I think it began with Paul Krugman's brilliant op-ed piece a couple of days ago in the New York Times. Entitled Blizzard of Lies, it tackles the McCain campaign's descent into the territory of lies, lies and more lies...

Paul Krugman wrote:

But I can't think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign's lies in 2000 were artful - you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.

The Bridge to Nowhere that Palin was for before she was against - and which she continues to lie about in her stump speech...

Kindergarten sex-ed - in which Obama supported legislation calling for "age and developmentally appropriate education" and which the Repubs have lied about, saying he wants to teach little kids about sex before they can even read...

Palin's dodgy dealings wrt Troopergate, bringing her political power to bear on a personal issue - in which she lied by saying she had no influence on the firing, which has been disproved by a number of emails and phone calls - and who knows what else in the thousand emails she's so far refused to release (Cheney-like Executive Privilege, dontcha know?) and which at least some of which were CC'd to her non-office-holding, non-elected husband Todd...

Lipstick on a pig faux outrage - and faux feminism - and faux cries of "sexism" every time Palin's policies, inexperience or ability to be VP are questioned (not to mention McCain's judgement in picking her)...

Lies about earmarks which she and McCain say they're against, but which she certainly was for as Governor -

The Wall Street Journal - before they scrubbed the bolded bit ad replaced it with something more pro-Palin - wrote:
At a rally today, Sen. McCain again asserted that Sen. Obama has requested nearly a billion in earmarks. In fact, the Illinois senator requested $311 million last year, according to the Associated Press, and none this year. In comparison, Gov. Palin has requested $750 million in her two years as governor - which the AP says is the largest per-capita request in the nation.

The list goes on and on and on and on and on. Thank you Paul Krugman for telling it like it is. May the rest of the media continue to follow suit!

Paul Krugman wrote:
Still, how upset should we be about the McCain campaign's lies? I mean, politics ain't beanbag, and all that.

One answer is that the muck being hurled by the McCain campaign is preventing a debate on real issues - on whether the country really wants, for example, to continue the economic policies of the last eight years.

But there's another answer, which may be even more important: how a politician campaigns tells you a lot about how he or she would govern.

Seems like Krugman's comments might just have opened the floodgates - well, maybe made a teeny hole in the dam at least - because now they're all at it:

Making it up as they go along - Robyn E. Blumner in the St Petersburg Times:
The only thing "maverick" about McCain's use of lies to smear his opponent is how breathtakingly blatant they are. If the nation falls for this, the Lying Eyes campaign will have succeeded, and for all of us with eyes that saw through to the truth, there will be tears.

Experience 101 - Dick Cavett in the New York Times:
Back here in the past, when I'm writing this, we have just seen part one of her quizzing by Charles Gibson, with mixed reviews for both. So far I have not seen her confronted with some of the things about which she has been, to put it in that awful Diplomatically Correct phrase, "somewhat less than fully truthful." (Typesetter: If space is scarce, use "lying.") As in claiming "no thanks" to the bridge money while failing to disclose that she kept it.

McCain Barbs Stirring Outcry as Distortions - Michael Cooper and Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times:
In an interview Friday on the NY1 cable news channel, a McCain supporter, Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, called "ridiculous" the implication that Mr. Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment was a reference to Ms. Palin, whom he also defended as coming under unfair attack.

"The last month, for sure," said Don Sipple, a Republican advertising strategist, "I think the predominance of liberty taken with truth and the facts has been more McCain than Obama."

Indeed, in recent days, Mr. McCain has been increasingly called out by news organizations, editorial boards and independent analysts like The group, which does not judge whether one candidate is more misleading than another, has cried foul on Mr. McCain more than twice as often since the start of the political conventions as it has on Mr. Obama.

McCain fumbles Palin's record on earmark requests - Beth Fouhy at Associated Press:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Friday defended two debunked television ads attacking Democrat Barack Obama and claimed erroneously that running mate Sarah Palin never sought money for lawmakers' pet projects as Alaska governor.

Palin sought $197 million in so-called "earmarks" for 2009. In the previous budget year, she asked for earmarks worth $256 million.

McCain Wraps Distortions Around One Truth - Washington Post:
This John McCain commercial, which contains two significant distortions, is part of a larger effort to rule criticism of his running mate out of bounds and to paint her as the victim of unfair attacks from both Democrats and the media.

Palin won't concede change of heart on bridge - The Seattle Times:
"I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' on that 'Bridge to Nowhere,'" Palin said repeatedly in her stump speeches, drawing roars of approval. But numerous news organizations found that she supported the bridge until it became a national symbol of excess, and then she turned against it.

In the latest in a series of interviews with Charles Gibson of ABC News, Palin did not concede any change of heart. "We killed that earmark," she said. "We killed that project."

Her comments came after McCain sat for a grilling on ABC's "The View," where he claimed erroneously that his running mate hadn't sought federal money.

McCain wrong on Palin earmarks - Tom Hamburger and Maeve Reston in the Los Angeles Times:
John McCain got it wrong Friday when he asserted that his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, had not requested any earmarks, the spending directives lawmakers insert in spending bills that McCain has vowed to eliminate.

Palin, in fact, requested $198 million in federal earmarks in February, including such expenses as $487,000 to fight obesity in Alaska and $4 million to develop recreational trails.

By day's end, the McCain campaign backed down from the claim the GOP presidential candidate made on the ABC television show "The View."

Palin camp clarifies extent of Iraq trip - Bryan Bender in the Boston Globe:
Sarah Palin's visit to Iraq in 2007 consisted of a brief stop at a border crossing between Iraq and Kuwait, the vice presidential candidate's campaign said yesterday, in the second official revision of her only trip outside North America.

Following her selection last month as John McCain's running mate, aides said Palin had traveled to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq to meet with members of the Alaska National Guard. During that trip she was said to have visited a "military outpost" inside Iraq. The campaign has since repeated that Palin's foreign travel included an excursion into the Iraq battle zone.

But in response to queries about the details of her trip, campaign aides and National Guard officials in Alaska said by telephone yesterday that she did not venture beyond the Kuwait-Iraq border when she visited Khabari Alawazem Crossing, also known as "K-Crossing," on July 25, 2007.

Asked to clarify where she traveled in Iraq, Palin's spokeswoman, Maria Comella, confirmed that "She visited a military outpost on the other side of the Kuwait-Iraq border."

McCain-Palin Crowd-Size Estimates Not Backed by Officials - Lorraine Woellert and Jeff Bliss in
Senator John McCain has drawn some of the biggest crowds of his presidential campaign since adding Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to his ticket on Aug. 29. Now officials say they can't substantiate the figures McCain's aides are claiming.

McCain aide Kimmie Lipscomb told reporters on Sept. 10 that an outdoor rally in Fairfax City, Virginia, drew 23,000 people, attributing the crowd estimate to a fire marshal.

Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it. Wilson, in an interview, said the fire department does not monitor attendance at outdoor events.

Why McCain is going so negative, so often - Jonathan Martin at Politico:
It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely perch for John McCain to be shamed for his increasingly hard-edged and truth-stretching campaign than the middle seat on "The View."

Yet on Friday morning, there sat the Republican nominee - a politician who has built an all but saintly reputation for "straight talk" over the years - caught in a vise between Joy Behar and Barbara Walters and getting a lecture from each on honesty.

"They're lies," Behar said of two recent lines of attack from the McCain campaign.

"By the way, you yourself said the same thing about putting lipstick on a pig," Walters interjected as a defensive McCain struggled to respond.

The two daytime talk show hosts are hardly alone.

McCain's tactics are drawing the scorn of many in the media and organizations tasked with fact-checking the truthfulness of campaigns. In recent weeks, Team McCain has been described as dishonorable, disingenuous and downright cynical.

McCain-Palin Distorts Our Finding - Brooks Jackson from in Newsweek:
With its latest ad, released Sept. 10, the McCain-Palin campaign has altered our message in a fashion we consider less than honest. The ad strives to convey the message that said "completely false" attacks on Sarah Palin had come from Sen. Barack Obama. We said no such thing. We have yet to dispute any claim from the Obama campaign about Palin.

They call the ad "Fact Check." It says "the attacks on Gov. Palin have been called 'completely false' ... 'misleading.' " On screen is a still photo of a grim-faced Obama. Our words are accurately quoted, but they had nothing to do with Obama.

Palin, McCain contradict each other on spending
- Carla Marinucci in the San Franciso Chronicle:
In a televised interview Friday, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin defended her request for an estimated $200 million in federal projects from Congress - even as earlier in the day her GOP running mate John McCain insisted Palin had never sought money from Congress.

Fact check: McCain on Palin and earmarks - Ryan J. Rusak in The Dallas Morning News:
For more on John McCain's incorrect claim that Sarah Palin has sought no earmarks as governor, click here. The Associated Press reports that Ms. Palin "asked for nearly $200 million in targeted spending for the 2009 fiscal year."

Along the same lines, McClatchy declares a new Republican ad "out of bounds" for its claim that Ms. Palin "vetoed nearly half a billion dollars in wasteful spending and cut earmark requests by hundreds of millions of dollars." While technically true, McClatchy says, the ad takes the remark out of context enough that its meaning is distorted.

McCain still peddles Palin mythology - Jay Bookman in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Oh, and for those who ask, I’ll stop writing about it when they stop lying about it. Why?

Because their strategy is to keep restating these lies until people stop bothering to complain about it. And at that point, the lie will become accepted as the truth.

Except it's not the truth. And the truth matters.

Obama's new tack: McCain-Palin 'lying' - Andy Barr in The Hill:
During a campaign stop in Flint, Mich., on Monday, Obama hit Palin over her reversal on the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere," saying "she was for it until everybody started raising a fuss about it and she started running for governor and then suddenly she was against it."

"You can't just make stuff up," Obama added. "You can't just recreate yourself. You can't just reinvent yourself. The American people aren't stupid."

In addition to calling out the GOP for "not telling the truth" about Palin, the Obama campaign is targeting what running mate Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) called Palin’s "very extreme views."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton:
We will take no lectures from John McCain who is cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern Presidential campaign history. His discredited ads with disgusting lies are running all over the country today. He runs a campaign not worthy of the office he is seeking.

I pray that the traditional media continues to call McCain/Palin on their litany of lies (because I think it's clear that the campaign has every intention of continuing them).

I don't know how you fight against a party that has apparently decided that the truth doesn't matter any more - and who have sunk to these depths. How does a person of honour counter this? What can the Democrats do in the face of lie after lie after lie? It hurts my heart....

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