Conventional Wisdom

It appears that conventional wisdom, at least of the Republican sort, doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny. Two articles in Slate.com do a particularly nice job of exposing the lies, half-truths, deceptions, and misdirections that speakers at the Republican National Convention tried to pass on to the American public:

Here is a (rather lengthy) passage from Saletan’s article, which includes a quote from psuedo-democrat Zell Miller’s speech:

If the convention speeches are any guide, Republicans have run out of excuses for blowing the economy, blowing the surplus, and blowing our military resources and moral capital in the wrong country. So they’re going after the patriotism of their opponents. Here’s what the convention keynoter, Miller, said tonight about Democrats and those who criticize the way President Bush has launched and conducted the Iraq war:

   “While young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats’ manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief.
   “Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today’s Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.
   “In [Democratic leaders’] warped way of thinking, America is the problem, not the solution. They don’t believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself.
   “Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide.”

Every one of these charges is demonstrably false. When Bush addressed Congress after 9/11, Democrats embraced and applauded him. In the Afghan war, they gave him everything he asked for. Most Democratic senators, including John Kerry and John Edwards, voted to give him the authority to use force in Iraq. During and after the war, they praised Iraq’s liberation. Kerry has never said that any other country should decide when the United States is entitled to defend itself.

But the important thing isn’t the falsity of the charges, which Republicans continue to repeat despite press reports debunking them. The important thing is that the GOP is trying to quash criticism of the president simply because it’s criticism of the president. The election is becoming a referendum on democracy. [emphasis added]

Fred Kaplan’s article is no less instructive—or disheartening. Referring to the charge that Kerry voted to curtail funding of all sorts of weapons, Kaplan notes:

…it’s not just that Cheney and those around him are lying; it’s not even just that they know they’re lying; it’s that they know—or at least Cheney knows—that the same lie could be said about him. That’s what makes it a damned lie.

Kaplan then directly quotes Cheney’s own complaint, during his tenure as Bush Sr.’s secretary of defense, that Congress wasn’t cutting weapons programs enough.

I could go on and on, quoting these articles and fuming, but my blood pressure is too high already, so I’ll just leave you to read them in their entirety (they’re linked above) or check out these others:

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