I’ve read thousands upon thousands of comments by Republicans in the 18 months since I founded my page Right Off A Cliff. Usually what they say doesn’t bother me, because often it’s just ridiculous. The thing that does drive me nuts is that about 95% of what they say is completely inaccurate.
Let me shred some of their Fox News fed rhetoric:
Obama has been the biggest spending President in history! FALSE. Year to year spending increases have been less than 1%. They’ve also been at their lowest rate of year to year increases since Eisenhower.
Obama has spent more than all other Presidents in history! FALSE. On January 20, 2009 our national debt was $10.6 trillion, today it’s $17.6 trillion—for a $7 trillion increase. For the mathematically challenged, $7 trillion is less than $10.6 trillion. This also doesn’t factor in the money spent in 2009, which gets tagged to President Obama, was actually passed by Bush.
*This also doesn’t take into account much of the cost of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars had not been put on our books by the Bush administration.
Obama is a Muslim! FALSE. You’re an idiot and I’m not even going to explain why.
Obama isn’t an American! FALSE. See above.
Obama is responsible for the immigration crisis! FALSE. He’s actually just following the law signed in 2008 by George W. Bush dictating how we must treat immigrants from non-contiguous countries.
Obama is the reason why our troops were pulled out of Iraq! FALSE. Actually we pulled our troops out of Iraq because of a SOFA agreement that was signed by George W. Bush.
Obama has ruled like a dictator with his use of executive orders! FALSE. He’s actually on pace to issue fewer executive orders than both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Illegal immigration has been out of control under Obama! FALSE. Actually, illegal immigration was much worse under Ronald Reagan.
Obama is a Communist/Socialist/Fascist! FALSE. They’re all different—it’s impossible to be all 3. Then with stocks setting new records and increasing by more than 100% since their lows in 2009 - he would be the worst Communist, Socialist or Fascist that has ever existed.
Obama is always on vacation! FALSE. President Obama took 131 vacation days in his first 4 years in office. That puts him on pace for 262 days during 8 years in the White House. By contrast Bush took 1,020 days (including a 5-week vacation–the longest by any President in nearly 4 decades), and Reagan took 484 days. Once again for the mathematically challenged, Obama is on pace to take fewer vacations than both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
The economy has gotten worse under Obama! FALSE. Are you insane, have selective memory or both? In February 2009, we lost 651K jobs. In February 2014, we added 175K jobs. Again, for the mathematically challenged, that’s a positive shift of 826K jobs from our losses in February 2009 to our gains in February 2014. We’ve also created 9.9 million private sector jobs for 53 consecutive months of private sector job growth.
I’ve seen the rebuttal to these numbers, so I’ll squash it right now before moving on:
Those jobs numbers are a lie! No, they’re from the same source which Republicans have used to saddle Obama’s job losses (from his first year in office… and only his first year). So you can’t use a source to support your argument, then ignore that very same source when it no longer supports what you want to believe.
Unemployment is at record highs! FALSE. Unemployment hit a high during November 2009 of 10%, it’s now at 6.2%.
I can already hear the Republican rebuttal to this one as well, “But that doesn’t include the people who have stopped looking for work!” I hate to burst your bubble, but the unemployment rate never includes those who have given up looking for work. This isn’t a shift in what defines our unemployment rate, this is how it has been calculated for quite some time.
Fun history lesson: When Reagan took office, unemployment was at 7.5%. Within his first 18 months in office unemployment shot all the way up to 10.8%.
Obamacare is unconstitutional! FALSE. The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, signed by the President and the Supreme Court ruled that it was in fact Constitutional.
Obama has been terrible for business! FALSE. Corporate profits are up 171% since President Obama took office and are at their highest levels, relative to the size of economic growth, since 1947.
Obama has waged a war on the rich! FALSE. We’ve set a new record for number of millionaires in the United States at 9.6 million.
Obama is out to take away our Second Amendment rights! FALSE. Well, not anymore than Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush wanted to. He wants to put back in place the assault weapons ban that was supported by Reagan and Bush that expired in 2004. He also wants to limit magazine size to 10 rounds and require universal background checks for all gun purchases–something that is overwhelmingly supported by most Americans, regardless of political affiliation.
I’ll stop there. I could have continued, but I’d risk going into fringe stories such as microchips and FEMA concentration camps that really don’t deserve anyone’s attention.
The point is, these statements comprise the vast majority of comments I read from Republicans, and they’re completely inaccurate.
This is why political debate goes absolutely nowhere these days. It’s hard to have rational discussion with people who are starting their argument based on complete lies. Not only do they base their argument on these lies, they want these lies to be true. Even when you present them with indisputable factual data that contradicts their beliefs, it makes absolutely no difference.
And therein lies the problem. They’re suffering from cognitive dissonance. Simply put, it’s where the brain creates it’s own reality when faced with two conflicting beliefs. You see this often in abusive relationships. One partner is abused, but wants to believe their partner loves them–because that’s what they’re told. They then equate abuse to love and convince themselves that it’s okay, because they want to believe that the person abusing them actually does love them. Their brain can’t comprehend the conflicting realities, so they create some alternate form of reality which justifies these conflicts.
That’s where we’re at with Republicans. They want to believe the lies they’ve been fed, even though reality doesn’t support them. With this conflict they’ve created an alternate reality where facts don’t matter, science doesn’t matter, reality doesn’t matter, history doesn’t matter and math doesn’t matter…
And that’s very dangerous.
*Some changes have been made to this article to reflect updated numbers and events since the article was first published. Last edit on August 10th, 2014.