Thursday, November 24, 2011

Standard Of Decency

Republicans seem to be trying to set a new low on decency- or perhaps a new high in honesty, as reflected in a tweet from the 2008 Repub presidential nominee:

Wow, Dana strikes a nerve “@SenJohnMcCain : Dem mouthpiece Dana Milbank sinks to disgraceful & false attack on @SenJonKyl - a decent man.

What triggered Arizona Senator McCain's of- to be generous- dishonest sense of outrage was this column by Dana Milbank in which the Washington Post columnist called out Arizona Senator Kyl for his "cold and ruthless" and, apparently successful, effort to thwart whatever effort the GOP contingent on the debt commission may have made to reach a compromise.

Kyl, Milbank noted, also walked out in June on budget talks with Vice-President Biden. It is not surprising, then, to learn that the Arizonan is one of a number of Repub members of Congress bought and paid for by an infamous, single-minded, anti-tax extremist. Grover

Norquist, who worked to defeat a compromise, brags about his control over Kyl. When Kyl made remarks in May that appeared to leave open the possibility of tax increases, Norquist called Kyl and adopted “the tone of a teacher scolding a second grader as he recalled the conversation,” Politico reported. Norquist boasted to the publication that, after he upbraided Kyl, the senator “went down on the floor and he gave a colloquy about how we’re against any tax increases of any sort. Boom!”

Milbank, further demonstrating Kyl's obstructionism and lack of common decency, unintentionally illustrates the Republican's impressive honesty. He notes

“Walking napalm” is how one Democratic aide involved in the supercommittee described Kyl this week. And if the senator makes some mistakes as he burns down the village — well, that’s just a cost of doing business. Earlier this year, when Kyl was leading an effort to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, he claimed on the Senate floor that abortion is “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.” The actual number is 3 percent. An aide to Kyl explained: “His remark was not intended to be a factual statement.”

We know about the right's ongoing effort against birth control and the places which provide it. But the combination of honesty and arrogance displayed by the Arizona senator during the debate over funding of Planned Parenthood was stunning: his "remark was not intended to be a factual statement." Perhaps it was a low in both honesty and indecency.

Or perhaps not, because this past week we got another extraordinary example, this from the camp of Mitt Romney. The likely GOP presidential nominee recently released an anti-Obama ad (video below) in which, Dave Weigel explains,

The offending moment comes when Obama says "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." That was a quote from a way-too-honest McCain adviser that Obama loved to repeat on the trail. By evening, the ad had been attacked, derided, parodied, and ruled "pants on fire" worthy by Politifact. The Romney campaign could have cared less.

"We want to engage the president," explained Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom in the spin room. "We look at him as our rival. It's all deliberate; it was all very intentional."

A Romney operative said the ad "worked" and, admittedly, it is dramatic and engaging, bothin sight and sound. Whether putting words in someone's mouth or boasting that a claim is "not intended to be factual," there is no admission of regret, of error, or even of serendipity. No, there is no subtlety here- just an in-your-face brazenness characteristic of the GOP's modus operandi, circa 2011.


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