Lies, shams, and visions | Bleader

Lies, shams, and visions

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Up-and-coming shaman
  • Up-and-coming shaman
A lie is one thing. A sham is another. We don't like liars—but when shamsters, whose lies are just small parts of an elaborate con, show up in movies they're the heroes. "Of course, the whole thing was largely a sham. But it was a well-organized sham," blogger John Cassidy wrote respectfully on the New Yorker website, summing up the Republican convention.

Cassidy went on, "Even after attending several G.O.P. conventions since 1998, I find it breathtaking, and a bit unnerving, to watch the party of Ryan, Todd Akin, and Grover Norquist present itself as a moderate force devoted to the causes of deficit reduction, middle-class prosperity, and equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless, of sex, race, or creed."

Yet that's what the Republicans did, and pretty well. Don't grade the party on fidelity to reality. Grade it on the quality of the illusion. "The more familiar and less appealing faces of today’s G.O.P.—hard-right billionaire donors, social activists, religious zealots, libertarians, economic crackpots—were virtually absent," Cassidy observed, "as was the last Republican to hold the Presidency: George W. Bush."

Blogging for the journal The Point, Jon Baskin made a complementary observation.

Recalling the Bush aide (Karl Rove?) who said years ago that his administration didn't belong to “the reality-based community,” Baskin wondered what this admission signified. Possibly that the Republican Party is more concerned "with changing reality than with studying it." And certainly that politics is "about more than facts."

Which politics is.

By all means point out the lies, Baskin argued. "But Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney just spent two days articulating an apparently seductive vision of American society—if we want to stop them from changing reality the way Bush did, we had better find a way to question something bigger than their facts."

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