Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Truth or lies

Todays Times has a fine lead editorial on the Senate race in Wisconsin, between Russ Feingold (D), who is one of the best Senators in a long time, and Ron Johnson (R), a former plastics manufacturer (remember The Graduate?) and political neophyte. Astoundingly, Feingold is trailing in the polls, and if you believe them he is seriously behind. Clearly, the ghost of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy is haunting the Badger State.

As the Times editorial points out, Johnson has got to his present place by dismissing the importance of mere details (like the effect of healthcare reform on costs, the number of people put to work by the stimulus bill and the effect of letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire on the vast majority of small businesses), and by outright lying.

Republicans have had little regard for truth--unless it happens to support their pre-conceived positions--for many years. This year, they have taken their cavalier attitude to new heights.

Truth does not always win out, but it's a better base for getting votes than lies. The truth can't be exposed.

How I would love to see a [Democratic] candidate turn to her/his [Republican] opponent in a debate and say, "If you believe that you are a fool. If you do not, you are a liar. You may choose." Think about how often that would fit.

So, in the last few weeks of the campaign, Democrats ought to make truth an issue. Maybe the issue. Expose the lies. Ask the voters: Do you want people to tell you the truth, or people who lie. If the voters choose the liars, they will get what they deserve. (You and I shall not deserve that, of course.)

(I do not suggest that Democrats and truth are perfectly congruent, or that all Republicans lie; there must be some who do not. But the difference is sufficiently great to be significant and worth making a bloody fuss over.)

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