There is a news report that yet another right-wing billionaire is going to spend even more millions to run even more poisonous, divisive, racist, degrading, insulting, lying, character-assassination ads designed to turn people against government and democracy. And an added bonus (for Republicans) will be turning people away from even voting. They’re going to do this because it works — for them and the billionaires who back them.
A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.
… The $10 million plan … includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama’s former ties to Mr. Wright…
The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”
Obama is black, black, black, black, black. And in case you miss it, here is Republican Strategist Lee Atwater explaining the Republican strategy:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
Just lying — making stuff up and blasting it out there — works. In 2010 Republicans spent millions and millions on ads saying “Democrats cut half a trillion from Medicare” and captured the senior vote for the first time, throwing the House over to them. It worked, they spent millions broadcasting lies, they took the House — and then voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
From the post, “Half A Trillion In Cuts To Medicare”
In the 2010 election campaign Republican groups ran millions and millions of dollars of ads promising not to cut Medicare, and to increase Social Security. They campaigned against Democrats for “cutting $500 billion from Medicare” and not increasing Social Security cost-of-living. As a result, for the first time the senior vote went to Republicans.
Here are just a few of the ads that saturated the airwaves, saying that Democrats should be thrown out for cutting Medicare:
And voters were sent flyers like this: (click for larger)
The Obstruct-And-Lie Strategy
Republicans have a huge “noise machine” and they know how to use it. And they really, really don’t care if they are telling the truth or not, they say what they need to say to win.
After years of blocking President Obama’s efforts to try to create more jobs, Repubicans are campaigning saying Obama didn’t create more jobs.
After running up huge deficits — Clinton left behind a surplus, Bush left behind a $1.4 trillion deficit — Republicans are campaigning that Obama has run up huge deficits.
This summer when student loan rates double because Republicans blocked efforts to keep them from doubling, Republicans will blast out that Obama doubled student loan rates.
Negative Ads Suppress Turnout
The point of running negative ads is not to get people to show up and vote for someone. Negative ads are about turning people off from voting. Negative ads tell people they should not have hope, that anyone they think could be a leader is actually a scoundrel, etc. The point of the millions and millions of dollars that will be spent by Republicans on negative ads this year is to try to keep the kind of surge election that brought so many people out to vote in the 2008 election from happening this time.
The Media Enablers
Republican media outlets like FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and Rush Limbaugh will go ahead and repeat the party line (when they aren’t out front creating it). They reach a lot of people, and the rest of the Republican “noise machine”‘ is very skilled at echoing the lies until they become “truthy.” But the rest of the media does not serve as a counterweight, bringing people the facts. As a result almost everyone — consumers of the right’s propaganda and people who think they aren’t — is left misinformed in ways that serve Republicans and their billionaire backers and hurt everyone else.
Greg Sargent wrote the other day in, How Mitt Romney gets away with his lying,
If you scan through all the media attention Romney’s speech received, you are hard-pressed to find any news accounts that tell readers the following rather relevant points:
1) Nonpartisan experts believe Romney’s plans would increase the deficit far more than Obama’s would.
2) George W. Bush’s policies arguably are more responsible for increasing the deficit than Obama’s are.
[. . .] The two bullet points above could not be more central to the debate over the debt that Romney’s big speech set in motion yesterday. Yet the vast majority of news consumers who now know that Romney has accused Obama of lighting a “prairie fire of debt” that threatens to engulf our children and our future haven’t been told about either of them.
Sargent writes about how the “mainstream media” for one reason or another won’t call out the Republican machine for spreading lies. Again, the result is that almost everyone — consumers of the right’s propaganda and people who think they aren’t — is left misinformed in ways that serve Republicans and their billionaire backers and hurt everyone else.
Update 2: Huge headline at The Drudge Report today reads: ‘BORN IN KENYA’
Update 3: Rep. Mike Coffman: Obama in his heart ‘not an American’
Update 4: Ben Stein speaking on FOX: Ben Stein: Obama’s not very smart
Update 5: Romney accuses Obama of character assassination: “Character assassination has become the nature of his campaign,” Romney said.
These updates are all from just today, and this is only May.