Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 5, 2011

THE RATIONALE BEHIND CANTOR'S DISHONESTY.... No matter how shameless congressional Republicans might be, the health care repeal push creates at least a little awkwardness.

For two years, the GOP has pretended to care deeply about the deficit and fiscal responsibility. And yet, in their very first week as the new House majority, these same Republicans have decided to push a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which would add more than $100 billion over the next decade.

How would Republicans pay for this? They wouldn't -- in fact, they're creating an exception to their own rules, which they just created, that allows them to pursue repeal without regard for adding to the deficit that they pretend to consider important. It's quite a way to start a new majority.

Asked to justify this, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has an explanation.

"...I think most people understand that the C.B.O. did the job it was asked to do by the then-Democrat [sic] majority, and it was really comparing apples to oranges," Mr. Cantor said. "...Everyone knows beyond the 10-year window, this bill has the potential to bankrupt this federal government as well as the states."

In Cantor's mind, the CBO score showing significant deficit reduction is wrong, because Democrats cooked the books, creating "10 years' worth of tax hikes and six years' worth of benefits." As such Republicans can repeal the entirety of the bill and not break their promise.

Cantor is either deeply confused or is deliberately telling falsehoods. For one thing, if Cantor were telling the truth, his caucus wouldn't have to waive its own budget rules in order to pass the repeal bill. For another, if the argument were legit, Republicans wouldn't be afraid to submit the repeal bill to the CBO for a score. For that matter, as Ezra Klein explained today, "[W]hat Cantor is saying just isn't true" when one looks at the original CBO report the Majority Leader is referencing.

But the issue here isn't just Cantor's demonstrably false argument. It's why he's making it.

...Cantor and the GOP know full well that the bill is unpopular largely because people think it increases the deficit. Polls have shown that only 15 percent of Americans know that CBO said it will reduce the deficit. If, in the repeal fight, it becomes widely understood that the bill reduces the deficit, it will become more popular. So it's crucial, as the repeal effort goes forward, for Republicans to become much more brazen in falsely asserting that the bill doesn't really reduce the deficit, and that even if the CBO does say it reduces the deficit, that they're saying that because they've been tricked somehow. But CBO wasn't tricked. If it were, Cantor, who has a staff dedicated to figuring these things out, would have a better argument than the one he's offering.

The moral of the story: confronted with an awkward political dispute, and evidence of Republicans violating their own stated principles with their own legislative agenda, the new majority isn't above lying.

Steve Benen 4:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Comments

Right only 15 percent of the population knows that it will create a deficit reduction.. and, gee what, only 40 percent of Americans even know that the Repiglicans have regained control of the House itself ... welcome to the United States of Stupid ..

Posted by: stormskies on January 5, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans weren't above lying 24/7 the last time they controlled anything, why should this be any different?

Posted by: Keith Sader on January 5, 2011 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Cantor is either deeply confused or is deliberately telling falsehoods."

Why do we keep pretending that these people might be anything other than pants-on-fire liars?

Posted by: Reginald Perrin on January 5, 2011 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Lying always works for the GOP. Always. Why? Because of corporate-owned traditional Mass Media. the Post and the Times simply won't call Cantor on his lying. Not in any meaningful ways. And the TV gasbags? Hah.

When there's no-one to call you on your lying, hey, lying works pretty well with a profoundly deluded electorate.

Posted by: LL on January 5, 2011 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

IF only 15% of the public know it decreases the deficit... Why the @&$$)(7!( Hell does not the Dems start running commercials and ads and web spots telling people this. ARE you waiting for the media to tell the world? good luck with kicking that ball Chuck. Unless you run a continual campaign for months... People will not get it. Don't youse guys know anything about PR, advertising, etc? GOTT IN HIMMEL you would think people who came of age in the era of TV would be more media savvy.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on January 5, 2011 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I certainly understand that the GOP lies and obfuscates to suit its ideological pursuits, but isn't there a provision where the tax increases to Medicare I believe for those earning over $250K start at once, but some of the benefits the BFD provides do not kick in until further down the road? And doesn't the $100 billion depend on Congress cutting medicare reimbursements in the future which seems like wishful thinking based on past history and the real need for health care providers to agree to treat medicare patients? Was there any scoring beyond 10 years? None of this has anything to do with the GOP zeal to repeal the BFD, but the sad fact is that the BFD is really not such a BFD when it comes to controlling health care costs which apart from the military industrial complex is really the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to long term fiscal health.

Posted by: Terry on January 5, 2011 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think most people understand that the C.B.O. did the job it was asked to do by the then-Democrat [sic] majority

That's an outrageous lie, but more outrageous still is that the D.C. press corpse -- which should at least know that the CBO is non-partisan -- quotes Cantor's lie uncritically, lets alone pointing out the blatant falsehood.

Posted by: Gregory on January 5, 2011 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Right only 15 percent of the population knows that it will create a deficit reduction.. and, gee what, only 40 percent of Americans even know that the Repiglicans have regained control of the House itself ... welcome to the United States of Stupid .. "

"The Republicans weren't above lying 24/7 the last time they controlled anything, why should this be any different?"

"Why do we keep pretending that these people might be anything other than pants-on-fire liars?"

"When there's no-one to call you on your lying, hey, lying works pretty well with a profoundly deluded electorate."

Yes, yes, yes, & more yes!

Posted by: Mark-NC on January 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

DUH! Michelle Backman is still out there stating that "The American people know that 'Obamacare' will bankrupt the country." Speaking to right wing idiots who just are too afraid or stupid to call her on her own blazen lie. Like all republicans, especially Cantor, They go into the stratosphere of idiocy to confuse so their lies won't be exposed. Made up facts...nothing but lies and no idea on how to improve the economy.

Just look at Daryl Issa, who was caught stealing cars (but not convicted)3 times, once at gunpoint. The House is filled with republican crooks and we expect these goobers to know what they are doing. They are led by the Bawling Boehner who gets his marching orders from the corporate lobbyists. 2yrs of "Oh My God, what have we done".

Posted by: bjobotts on January 5, 2011 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

When a Republican says "Most people believe ..." or "The American people know ...", it's like theyre lighting a big neon sign that reads "COMPLETE AND UTTER LIE COMING UP."

When they're merely spinning, they can cite actual people (who are wrong) who agree with them.

When they're telling the truth ... well, I'm only 46 years old; I haven't seen it yet.

Posted by: Rick Massimo on January 5, 2011 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Pop Quiz--multiple choice.

This crap wouldn't work if we had:

1. A real functioning press.

2. A real functioning Democratic party.

3. An administration not afraid of touting its accomplishments.

4. Any of the above.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 5, 2011 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Two years is an awfully long time to keep all one's lies straight. What happens when one lie is told on Tuesday, another on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday are spent in lying about Tuesday's lie? After a point sheer brazeness becomes self-defeating.
Even if our lame excuses for journalists, continuing with their pretence of "neutrality", refuse to address the issue, that won't prevent viewers from noting what is going on.
After all, when it's a choice between your own "lying eyes" and what a lying (literally) politician says...

Posted by: Doug on January 5, 2011 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to comment on the national debt,we all know that in the past when the country was ar war taxes were increased on the top earners to pay for the wars, we are fighting Bush's wars completely by increasing our debt, now they (repubs) want to pay for it by cutting benefits for the poor and needy. The new tea bag members that refuse to increase the debt limit do not seem to realize what we are borrowing for!

Posted by: joan on January 6, 2011 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

Come on, Benen.

The "rationale" behind everything, everything that Republicans and conservatives do is the same:

to keep the rich rich, to make them richer, and to do so to the detriment of everyone else.

I mean, duh.

Posted by: terraformer on January 6, 2011 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 5, 2011 at 5:22 PM

1. A real functioning press.

No matter how frequently the President does tout his accomplishments (in speeches, on the White House.gov web site) it is sucked into the vacuum of the non-functioning media, and the anti-communications of Fox News.

Do I get a prize?

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on January 6, 2011 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Everytime you accuse a Republican of ignoring deficits, a Tea Party politician gets his wings

http://www.afoolsgame.com/?p=34

-AFG

Posted by: AFoolsGame on January 7, 2011 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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