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A lot of ones and zeroes have given up their virtual lives in the myriad commentaries seeking to explain the Republican landslide in the midterm elections. We've been told that the election was a rejection of Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Democrats, the stimulus, health care reform, imagined socialism, cap and trade, too much debt, too much spending, anger, taxes.....or any cafeteria combo-platter taken from that list.
I don't question that Republican voters actually believe in one or more of those "reasons" from that list. Human beings "believe" a lot of things. For example, there's a short piece in today's Akron Beacon Journal entitled, "Catholic Bishops say more exorcists needed." Obviously, some 21st century humans still believe that invisible demons and/or devils actually exist....and every once in awhile....these invisible beings take over a person's brain activity.
Humans is weird......and so it shouldn't be surprising to find out that when it comes to voting, humans, also, have some odd notions.
Eric Alterman, contributor to The Nation.....
...a New York Times/CBS News poll found that fewer than 10 percent of Americans knew they'd gotten a tax cut, while three times that number were under the misimpression that their tax bite had gotten bigger.
Sure, it's only a poll.....but what do you think accounts for that "fewer than 10%" number? How could a third of average Americans who earn paychecks and who send in yearly tax forms, conclude that their taxes had gone up in the last 22 months?
The discernable facts on taxes over the last 2 years have not been declared, you know, state secrets, or anything. Approximately 98% of all Americans received a temporary payroll tax cut of between $400-600 during Obama's first year in office. No tax increases of any kind have been imposed on working Americans during the 22 months since Obama's inauguration.
Why then, would "fewer than 10%" of voters realize that they had received a tax cut? Why would 30% of voters actually believe that they had been hit with a tax increase when they hadn't?
Rick Pearlstein has a few answers.....
Republican politicians, and conservative commentators, told them (voters) Barack Obama was a tax-mad lunatic. They lied. The mainstream media did not do their job and correct them. The White House was too polite—"civil," just like Obama promised—to say much. So people believed the lie. From this all else follows.
Both of these points.....Republicans and their apologists lie, and Obama is too civil.....are accurate, and help to explain how so many Americans over the last couple years came to embrace those lies.
The day after Obama's State of the Union address, Rush Limbaugh received a call. The caller repeated this Obama SOTU line......
"Because of this plan, 95 percent of the working households in America will receive a tax cut—a tax cut that you will see in your paychecks beginning on April 1."
"Pay no attention to what Obama says. He means the opposite in most cases. What he says is irrelevant."
Shorter Rush version: Obama is a liar....you can't believe anything he says. If he said Americans will get a tax cut, he's lying. You won't.
On Obama's civility....Pearlstein again....
So you find him at a press conference, the day after the midterm elections, saying with all apparent sincerity that he agreed the majority of Americans participated in a "fundamental rejection of his agenda"—who, that is, implicitly believe he raised their taxes.
When he really lowered them.
What happens when numerous sources tell endless lies about you and you don't fight back hard enough to counter the lies because you don't want to seem like a meanie or a whiner...or uncivil?
Way too many people believe in those oft-repeated lies.
The midterm wipeout of Democrats cannot be entirely attributed to voters believing in a host of lies put out their by dishonest conservative propagandists shilling for less-than-truth-telling Republican candidates.....but is there any doubt that quite a few Republican voters who believed in those lies had something to do with the outcome of the election?