Living in a bizarro world
December 16, 2014
When I was younger and read comic books, one of my favorite storylines was Superman and his interactions with Bizarro World. This was a planet where everything was inverted and backwards. Reality was turned on its head. I always thought this was an interesting idea. Little did I know I would end up living in a version of Bizarro World, brought to us by right-wing politicians and media.
Republicans have constructed their own little universe, and they believe in it just as the people of Bizarro World believed in theirs. Anything that contradicts their viewpoint must be a lie by the Liberal Mainstream Media. Republican members of Congress can say totally ridiculous things, such as ISIS is bringing Ebola into the U.S., and their followers lap it up. Reality is ignored; whatever reinforces their worldview is accepted.
I've lost count of how many times our currency was going to collapse, or inflation was going to skyrocket, or our guns would be confiscated, and so on. Amazingly, these claims keep popping up; only the dates get changed. There are far too many of these claims to discuss even in a year of columns, but here are a few.
A recent claim is actually funny, except people believed it. President Obama appointed a woman named Loretta Lynch to be the next U.S. attorney general. Right-wing media went nuts, claiming this woman had helped the Clintons during the Whitewater scandal. Clearly she's unfit to be attorney general! Except the Loretta Lynch who worked with the Clintons is a white woman who got her law degree at Yale. The Loretta Lynch nominated by Obama is a black woman who got her degree from Harvard and is a U.S. attorney in New York. Two different people. But in Bizarro World, no problem. Same name, so someone is guilty of something.
Another example of this twisted logic is Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who owes over a million dollars to the federal government because he believes it has no authority over him. However, when one of his cows wandered onto Interstate 15 and caused a serious accident, injuring a woman, Bundy blamed the state. He said it wasn't his responsibility; the state should have fixed the broken fence. He even blamed the woman for killing his cow. This is the quintessential Republican attitude: Keep government off my back, except when I want it to take care of my responsibilities.
Republicans get hysterical over Obama's handling of Benghazi, but when President George W. Bush had over 60 Benghazi-type events, that was OK. Republicans want to impeach Obama for issuing 147 executive orders (so far), but they didn't mind when President Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders. I wonder if today's Republicans would have been outraged when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. After all, that was an executive order. The horror!
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Here are some other claims Republicans make.
Claim: Obama has violated the U.S. Constitution.
Reality: Bush actually violated the Constitution when he violated the 1984 U.N. Convention against Torture signed by Reagan. Bush admitted torturing detainees. Republicans supported him, even though the Constitution, Article Six, Clause Two, says treaties approved by the U.S. are the law of the land. Since Bush was a Republican, no problem. But Obama using a perfectly legal executive action, the same actions used by Reagan and GHW Bush, is an impeachable offense. Only in Bizarro World.
Claim: Obama is spending recklessly.
Reality: According to Forbes magazine, Obama has increased federal spending by 1.4 percent annually, far less than Presidents Reagan (8.7 percent) or GW Bush (8.1 percent). Obama's rate is the lowest since Eisenhower. Clearly, he must be stopped.
Claim: Obama has accumulated more debt then every other President before him combined.
Reality: Percentage-wise, the champion here is Ronald Reagan, who tripled the national debt, followed by GW Bush, who doubled it. Number-wise, about $5.8 trillion has been added under Obama, compared to GW Bush, who added about the same amount. Much of Obama's spending has been to pay for the tax cuts and wars Bush ran up on the national credit card. Whether Republicans like it or not, in the real world, we have to pay our debts.
What these lawmakers need to do is write a book about their alternate universe; then they and their followers can sit happily and amuse themselves by reliving all the terrible things Obama has done. The rest of us could then live in the real world and work on solving real problems.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at email@example.com.
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