Saturday, August 22, 2009

The right-wing lies that are dominating health care have a well-trodden path

Steve Benen has written an excellent post on the path that right-wing lies take from idiots like Betsy McCaughey to the mainstream news. The steps are
  1. Get a crazy to publish a lie
  2. Limbaugh and talk radio pick up the lie and broadcast it to the base.
  3. Drudge picks the lie up.
  4. FOX News and the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board picks up the story.
  5. The rest of the media reports on the controversy.
So what does this tell us?
  • First, the right lies a lot, especially when trying to scare people about health care.
  • Second, when Democrats ignore ridiculous far-right claims [and present good ideas], good ideas become law.
  • And third, in time, the hysterical find new things to get excited about, so there's no point in caving to conservative demands every time they throw a fit.
One real problem is that politics are inherently conservative. That's conservative in the sense that the politicians of today look back to model on the successful politicians of the past. the Obama team is looking back at what the Clinton team did that succeeded and at what failed. Efforts to try new things almost invariably cause a politician to lose the election.

The result is that although the lesson on how not to deal with the Republicans is very clear now, there is no corresponding lesson in how to win the next issue, and the risk of winging it and losing are very high.

It's that strategy for winning that needs to be found now.

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