You Can’t Handle The Truth

During that 60 Minutes interview with the impressively slimy Eric Cantor, there is one moment that stood out. As Steve Benen notes, when Cantor’s press secretary from off camera yelled that it simply was not true that Reagan raised taxes, Stahl went on to show a clip of Reagan announcing a tax cut and uttering the dreaded “compromise” word. As Benen notes, contrary to the current myth that Republicans push that Reagan never raised taxes, Reagan is actually one of the greatest tax increasers of the modern era.

It would be nice if we could just dismiss these guys as liars, but the truth is even worse. Many of them don’t even know they are lying, they are living so safely inside the cocoon they have created for themselves. They are operating inside a constructed alternate reality, and have been for quite some time. Inside the bubble, vaccines cause cancer, the death penalty is never implemented when it shouldn’t be, Jesus rode on the back of dinosaurs, a semi-meiotic glob of cells is a person, and if you just keep cutting taxes and regulations, the growth fairy will leave increased federal revenues under the pillow.

It’s insane.

67 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    I want to go Godwin so bad already on this thread I almost can’t stand it.

    I keep thinking that we are, as a country, going to pass out of this period into a saner one and look back to wonder how so many crazy people could have held power for so long.

  2. 2
    MikeBoyScout says:

    And yet after taking us to an unjust war in Iraq and after destroying the global economy the Murikan people in 2010 elected a majority of Republicans in the house whose mantra was we did not go far enough during the Bush years.

    Amerika!

  3. 3
    Jerzy Russian says:

    I guess it depends on how you define the word “raise”.

  4. 4
    Amir Khalid says:

    Rather than calling them all liars, it’s certainly closer to the truth to say that some of these people are delusional rather than liars. But which ones are lying, and which ones are delusional?

  5. 5
    mellowjohn says:

    nononono, john. vaccines cause autism and mental retardation. get your paranoias straight.

  6. 6
    Mino says:

    It truly boggles. But climate change is gonna take care of that problem pretty soon, in evolutionary terms. Too bad we’re gonna take so many other species with us.

  7. 7
    Raven says:

    Four new threads in 10 minutes and nothing on football.

  8. 8
    ploeg says:

    Even in cases where they recognize that Reagan raised taxes (Ron Paul, for example), they say that the compromise was made in a moment of weakness and must not be repeated. We must vote against raising the debt limit, even if it causes the US to go into default.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    Also, Lesley Stahl is the one who has to call them on these lies??

    Is the rest of the DC Press Corps currently submitting their resignations and/or killing themselves?

  10. 10
    cathyx says:

    Everything will be great again after we invade Iran.

  11. 11
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    And who should you blame Cole? The politicians or the people who elected them? People like you who voted for Bush twice.

  12. 12
    msskwesq says:

    These Republicans just cannot live within reality. I am in Iowa and Newt Gingerich just ran a commercial with the tag line, after ranting about how the others are picking on him and spending too much money in the process, that voters need to vote for him and not let the “liberal establishment of the Republican Party” steal the election! I was stunned by the “Liberal” moniker for the Republican establishment. Who IS that exactly and isn’t Gingerich one of them?

  13. 13
    Yoodow says:

    @MikeBoyScout:
    This is the result of the Republican war on education. Remember, informed people make informed decision. Informed decisions never favor Republicans.

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    Speaking of the truth:
    An Important Read

  15. 15
    msskwesq says:

    Oh, just to get it in early: GO BADGERS!!!!

  16. 16
    msskwesq says:

    I think we need a LIKE (and maybe a dislike) button on comments. There are always comments I want to agree with, but don’t feel like going all the way to comment.

  17. 17
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    @Raven: This is a political blog last I checked. 1 blog a day on sports is too much imho.

  18. 18
    MattF says:

    The (relatively) good news is that all the wannabe Fearless Leaders are turning out to be obviously either dumb, delusional, crazy, and/or soulless. Just lucky for us, I suppose, since the existence of a charismatic figure is a central element in any successful Fascist takeover.

    Added: Grifters also.

  19. 19
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    @Corner Stone: Another obsessed drone freak. You and Cole should get together on IM and obsess endlessly back and forth how the drones are coming to get you.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    Disputes about policy are so last century. The 21st century is about disputes about reality. Get with the times, Cole.

  21. 21
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Gust Avrakotos: Clearly some of us disagree. I’ll be packing the rest of the day, so bicker among yourselves.

  22. 22
    RalfW says:

    Reminds me of some sci-fi plots: a people that once had high tech become too dumb to invent the stuff they use. As it becomes unstable, they worship it to keep it running. But it fails because they spent all their time bowing, praying and burning sacrifices. No one had the smarts to say “we need to bone up on this policy and science stuff so we can keep it going!”

    It’s pathetic, really, what has become of the modern GOP.

    Equally pathetic is the unwillingness of most media types to acknowledge the truth: one party is run entirely by faith-based idiots.

    And I don’t mean the jeebus faith-based. I mean faith in St. Ronnie of Trickledown.

    When one party thinks mandating CFL bulbs is tyranny and letting polluters destroy the plant is g*d’s free market plan at work, we’re pretty fvked.

  23. 23
    msskwesq says:

    @Corner Stone: I read the Washington Post article with great anxiety and sadness. But after some thought, I wonder really how is this different than the targeted bombings Clinton did in the middle east during his terms? This seems at least to be a little more pinpoint in the targets than those by Clinton. That is not to say I think we are doing the right thing. Although, if it means that we don’t send troops over and invade, or do a scattershot “shock and awe” wipeout, then I guess the drones are the least bad tactic in fighting terrorism. I hate all war, period.

  24. 24
    Barry says:

    And how soon we forget that Reagan compared Islamic fundamentalists to our Founding Fathers and dedicate a space shuttle to them.

    Of course that he provided Islamic fundamentalist with high tech weapons, training, and cash should never be mentioned.

  25. 25
    msskwesq says:

    @Gust Avrakotos: Just to throw it out there, but recently drones were used by a local police force against local citizens. In the USA. That does kinda bother me as a defense attorney…

  26. 26
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I call your depressing New Year message and raise you one Blue Monday…

    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com.....ds-to.html

  27. 27

    @Amir Khalid:

    Rather than calling them all liars, it’s certainly closer to the truth to say that some of these people are delusional rather than liars. But which ones are lying, and which ones are delusional?

    Which ones do you want steering the boat? The liars or the deluded ones?

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    @msskwesq: I think the linked article discusses some of the meatier issues with the drone apparatus.
    Essentially, it’s a creeping spread of bureaucracy where contractors are financially incentivized to approve life/death decisions on time pressure. Not to mention that oversight is essentially absent.
    We’re targeting/killing people with no regard for merit and no one has any incentive to reign it in.

  29. 29
    Kola Noscopy says:

    I think a lot of these right wing freaks are Willfully Delusional.

    As in the lead up to the Iraq War, it takes a purposeful denial of reality to come to many of the positions these craven pigs hold dear.

    Simply saying they are delusional lets them off the hook too easily. It’s an act of will.

  30. 30

    @MattF:

    The (relatively) good news is that all the wannabe Fearless Leaders are turning out to be obviously either dumb, delusional, crazy, and/or soulless. Just lucky for us, I suppose, since the existence of a charismatic figure is a central element in any successful Fascist takeover.

    You’re right, of course.

    I do think that Fascism, btw, is particularly vulnerable to ridicule. Liberalism can laugh at itself. Fascism can’t.

  31. 31
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @Gust Avrakotos:

    If you had any shame, I’d ask that you use it. Now.

  32. 32
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Kola Noscopy:

    Delusion; Listening, or promulgating a lie until one believes it.

  33. 33
    Cacti says:

    @Barry:

    Of course that he provided Islamic fundamentalist with high tech weapons, training, and cash should never be mentioned.

    And no one ever seems to mention that it was Reagan’s handling of the Marines in Beirut that convinced bin Laden that America was a blustering coward, and ripe for future attacks.

  34. 34
    Tonal Crow says:

    Stahl went on to show a clip of Reagan announcing a tax cut and uttering the dreaded “compromise” word.

    Tax *increase*.

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    But which ones are lying, and which ones are delusional?

    The same problem faced by the Ministry of Magic after the first You-Know-Who war: who was imperiused, and who was an actual Death Eater?

  36. 36
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @13 Yoodow: Yes. A large part of the anti teacher and anti Dept of Education mantra is to keep the rubes dumb.

  37. 37
    cathyx says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: David Atkins nailed that one.

  38. 38
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @cathyx:

    Too hot a topic for BJ :>)

  39. 39
    Corner Stone says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: We’re not allowed to link to something from digby’s site without some type of “Debbie Downer” reference. Just like if you link to atrios you have to denigrate him for not writing an exegesis with every thread, or Kthug is “teh awesome at economizing, but is teh stoopid at teh politicizingess”.
    Even though it’s by Atkins, I’m pretty sure the rule still applies.
    But, wts, touche! I answer your call!
    Jonathan Turley, Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011

  40. 40
    Knight of the Living Memes says:

    Last night on 60 Minutes

    Stahl: But you know, your idol, as I’ve read anyway, was Ronald Reagan. And he compromised.

    Cantor: He never compromised his principles.

    Stahl: Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes.

    Cantor: Well, he — he also cut taxes.

    Stahl: But he did compromise —

    Cantor: Well I —

    At that point, Cantor’s press secretary, off camera, interrupted the interview, yelling that Stahl was lying when she said Reagan raised taxes. As Stahl told “60 Minutes” viewers, “There seemed to be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one in 1982 during a recession.”

    Of particular interest is the “Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982,” the largest of Reagan’s tax increases, and generally considered the largest tax increase — as a percentage of the economy — in modern American history. In fact, between 1982 and 1984, Reagan raised taxes four times, and as Bruce Bartlett has explained more than once, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office.

    Why do Cantor, his press secretary, and Republicans everywhere deny what is plainly true? Because reality is terribly inconvenient: the GOP demi-god rejected the right-wing line on always opposing tax increases; he willingly compromised with Democrats on revenue; and the economy soared after Reagan raised taxes, disproving the Republican assumption that tax increases always push the nation towards recessions.

    In other words, Reagan’s legacy makes the contemporary Republican Party look ridiculous. No wonder Cantor’s press secretary started yelling: Stahl was bringing up facts that are never supposed to be repeated out loud.
    _____________________________

    While its always entertaining to demonstrate there are some conservatives out there who are allergic to the inconvenient truths of St Reagan’s tenure, I think articles like this (and possibly Ms Stahl) miss an important point: today’s GOP is not opposed to taxes on principle; it is OPPOSED TO TAXING THE RICH. Their approach to subsidies is identical: transferring billions from the Treasury to Wall Street, oil companies and the Pentagon is ok, but social programs get the axe.

    Cantor is indeed a buffoon, but more importantly he’s a dishonest sleaze. He’s only repeating this incoherent argument in order to advance the demonstrably false notion that Republicans oppose all forms of taxation equally, and that simply isn’t true. He’s only saying that to keep the rubes voting Republican year after year, despite the fact that all these tax cuts have the same effect on everyone who ain’t rich, regardless of political philosophy and voting habits.

    In the last 30 years, the GOP has become essentially a huge PR machine. Fox News has become an extreme example; Rush Limbaugh still occasionally reverts to a low-rent form of rightwing populism, but is essentially another organ for Republicans. Other than those two examples, there is virtually no MSM forum which is not dominated by Republicans spewing incoherent garbage about lowering taxes but who throw a tantrum anytime the topic comes around to inequality or class warfare.

  41. 41
    cathyx says:

    @Benjamin Franklin:
    @Corner Stone:
    No Digby, Firedoglake, Glenn Greenwald, DKos most of the time, Matt Taibbi, or Atrios. I’m sure I’m missing a couple.

  42. 42
    msskwesq says:

    @Corner Stone: I will read this newer article, thank you for posting it.

  43. 43
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Creating jobs in the Senate…zero sum game? I blame teh momentum and continued public and media apathy.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011.....-citizens/

  44. 44
    Corner Stone says:

    @cathyx: The word “orthodoxy” comes to mind.
    Let the twitjihad continue!

  45. 45
    cathyx says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Jonathan Turley should be on that list as well.

  46. 46
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @cathyx:

    Add George Carlin and Hunter S. Thompson.

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @msskwesq:

    Just to throw it out there, but recently drones were used by a local police force against local citizens. In the USA.

    Would it have been any worse if they had sent up a helicopter or airplane to get the same kind of information? It’s not as if the drone by itself was giving them something new they didn’t have before. The time to bitch about this was when the Supreme Court used the war on some drugs to punch a bunch of holes in the 4th Amendment. Maybe you can use this as an example of the overreach of the WOSD and convince people that we need to restore some real protections against government overreach, but as a practical matter that ship has sailed.

  48. 48
    catclub says:

    @Linda Featheringill: The liars. The liars will not steer purposely for the falls.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Alas, when the cops in SoCal started using helicopters to fly over neighborhoods on standard patrols, it was all over.

    Drones are just more stealthy and less expensive to operate. The principle itself has long since been eviscerated.

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: It’s not about the tool. It never has been. That’s an easy shortcut for people who want to dismiss the issue.
    People like Zander want to squeal about DRONEZZ!! in his pants because it lessens the impact and blunts the severity of why the program is being allowed to proliferate in the manner it is.
    It’s a redirection.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Alas, when the cops in SoCal started using helicopters to fly over neighborhoods on standard patrols, it was all over.

    I went to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl this summer and the orchestra had to pause and wait for an LAPD helicopter to stop hovering directly over the Bowl and drowning out the music. They’ve been a daily feature of LA life for at least the 20+ years I’ve lived here.

    I have to admit, I also don’t see what the quantitative difference is between an unarmed drone and a helicopter. Is it that the helicopter is noisier and thus the person being observed is more likely to realize it?

  52. 52
    Elizabelle says:

    Krugman’s column today was exceptional, and written simply enough that those in the delusional/liar world might twig that he’s right.

    Savor every word. “Nobody understands debt.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01.....-debt.html

  53. 53
    Montysano says:

    Many of them don’t even know they are lying

    Yes, they do.

  54. 54
    mike says:

    Reagan may have raised taxes, but he cut them more and revenue as a % of GDP was lower when he left office than when he started. He also shifted more of the burden from the rich to the middle class. This is exactly what today’s republicans are trying to do. You’re not winning any arguments by simply pointing out that Reagan raised taxes when the truth is overall he lowered them and started the massive increase in deficit spending that is the legacy of the republican party. When all you say is that he raised taxes it plays right into their argument that raising taxes reduces revenue and vice versa.

  55. 55
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It’s a redirection.

    Hm..redirection? Like someone bringing up the completely unrelated topic of drones in a thread about how slimy and delusional Cantor and the Republicans are? Almost as if to provide cover for said Republicans?

  56. 56
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    And there are valuable, non-infringing uses for aircraft in police work. They’re very helpful during hot pursuit, since a suspect will have a much harder time shaking them than cars or officers on foot. My impression, for example, is that they’ve greatly reduced the danger associated with high-speed freeway pursuits; the police can back off, not scare the driver they’re pursuing into doing anything especially crazy, and plan a roadblock to stop him somewhere ahead. They’re also great for various kinds of non-law enforcement public safety things that police get involved in, like S&R and traffic control. I don’t think I’d want to make the police give up their aircraft, even if I could; I’d just want to cut down on some of the things they do with them.

  57. 57
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    @msskwesq: That is not the federal black helicopters coming to get you. More like Buford Pusser going after the bandit. My only question is who the fuck is paying for that? Surely they have better things to spend money on in some backwoods county.

  58. 58
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    @Kola Noscopy: You trying to lecture me on morality or something? That’s pretty funny!

  59. 59
    Ian says:

    @MikeBoyScout:
    I seem to recall that in 2010 the Rethuglicans mantra was jobs, jobs, jobs.
    Havn’t heard a word of it since the election tho.

  60. 60
    Ian says:

    @msskwesq:
    That requires a link.

  61. 61
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Case in point about wingnut stupidity and reality cocoons…

    http://constitutionclub.org/20.....a-patriot/

    —-
    We [the American colonists] never asked for international aid (we asked for money) in the form of military intervention. We hunkered down and decided on brilliant new tactics- both on land and at sea.
    —-

    According to Wikipedia

    —-
    France, Spain and the Dutch Republic all secretly provided supplies, ammunition and weapons to the revolutionaries starting early in 1776. After early British success, the war became a standoff. The British used their naval superiority to capture and occupy American coastal cities while the rebels largely controlled the countryside, where 90 percent of the population lived. British strategy relied on mobilizing Loyalist militia, and was never fully realized. A British invasion from Canada ended in the capture of the British army at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. That American victory persuaded France to enter the war openly in early 1778, balancing the two sides’ military strength. Spain and the Dutch Republic—French allies—also went to war with Britain over the next four years, threatening an invasion of Great Britain and severely testing British military strength with campaigns in Europe. Spain’s involvement resulted in the expulsion of British armies from West Florida, securing the American southern flank. Though the decisive naval victory at the Battle of the Saintes thwarted French and Spanish plans to drive Britain out of the Caribbean, and the joint Franco-Spanish attempt to capture the British stronghold of Gibraltar also resulted in similar defeat.

    French involvement proved decisive[11] yet expensive as it ruined France’s economy.[12] A French naval victory in the Chesapeake led to a siege by combined French and Continental armies that forced a second British army to surrender at the Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded roughly by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west.[13][14]
    —-

    That blog, as with most wingnut blogs, censors out dissenting voices that might mention reality. That’s the only way the wingnut denial of reality can survive – a constant repetition of lies between people unwilling to engage with the truth.

  62. 62
    Triassic Sands says:

    I made the mistake of watching the Cantor video — now I have to take a shower.

  63. 63
    khead says:

    Speaking of the truth:
    An Important Read

    Weird. When I last left you, Corner Stone, you were telling me how this shit is happening here in the US. You know, right now.

    Yemen must be one of the 57 states.

  64. 64

    […] Balloon Juice » You Can’t Handle The Truth (The emphasis is mine) During that 60 Minutes interview with the impressively slimy Eric Cantor, there is one moment that stood out. As Steve Benen notes, when Cantor’s press secretary from off camera yelled that it simply was not true that Reagan raised taxes, Stahl went on to show a clip of Reagan announcing a tax cut and uttering the dreaded “compromise” word. As Benen notes, contrary to the current myth that Republicans push that Reagan never raised taxes, Reagan is actually one of the greatest tax increasers of the modern era. […]

  65. 65
    wilfred says:

    Cantor is a diehard Israel Firster – his mistakes on anything and everything else are irrelevant.

    I predict that Romney will choose him as his running mate. He shores up support from the Christian zionists and their Jewish counterparts and covers Romney from attacks on his religion.

  66. 66
    moderateindy says:

    There is a reason why the current conservative movement is appealing to evangelicals. And it’s not just God guns gays and racism. When you consider that the basic message of Jesus Christ was extremely liberal, and the raging moralizing of much of today’s conservative is really more old testament, you would think that evangelicals would be ripe to convert to much more liberal policies. In fact, many of the conservatives I know are extremely generous with their time, and cash when it comes to helping the less fortunate.
    Besides the constant pandering to the god crowd, I think that the evangelicals and fundies are simply more comfortable with the right wings mind set and methodology. The right wings entire outlook is based on mythology, and belief, and faith, and nothing trumps that. (Reagan never raised taxes, Republicans are more fiscally responsible etc.) Likewise, for evangelicals and other conservative Christians. When your entire outlook on life, and a huge part of your identity is based upon easily debunked stories, then living in a place that is ruled by facts, and evidence can be an uncomfortable thing. So perhaps being attracted to a group that literally “thinks like you” isn’t surprising. And thus what you think, is less important than How you think.

  67. 67
    DanielX says:

    It’s a matter of faith with some/most Republicans that Reagan cut taxes. Raising taxes? No way, he never did that! But remember the word faith…one definition of which is believing in something for which there is no empirical evidence. The modern Republican party should be considered more a religion than a political party, as Reagan’s raising taxes is far from the only point on which Republican beliefs are in conflict with evidence and reality.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Balloon Juice » You Can’t Handle The Truth (The emphasis is mine) During that 60 Minutes interview with the impressively slimy Eric Cantor, there is one moment that stood out. As Steve Benen notes, when Cantor’s press secretary from off camera yelled that it simply was not true that Reagan raised taxes, Stahl went on to show a clip of Reagan announcing a tax cut and uttering the dreaded “compromise” word. As Benen notes, contrary to the current myth that Republicans push that Reagan never raised taxes, Reagan is actually one of the greatest tax increasers of the modern era. […]

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