Thursday, April 15, 2004

Um, excuse me, but did you know your pants are on fire?

I like to think I'm a reasonable person. I'm know for a fact that I'm a very data-driven person. I keep an open mind. If you can make a claim, and can back it up with real facts, I'm prone to believe you. If you tell me that George Bush's tax cuts will improve our economy, I'm actually willing to listen. I don't think that they will improve our economy, mind you, so you'll have to show me some really good data. But I'm open to the possibility.

Don't, however, try to bullshit me. If I find out you've been lying to me, not only does that piss me off, but your argument will immediately get thrown out, and everything you say from now on will be viewed as suspect.

That's why I think I'm falling in love with They call both political sides on all the proverbial wool they try to pull over our collective eyes. And who knew there was so much of it?

Take this example. Just yesterday, I caught the first of what I'm sure will be many Bush campaign ads. This wasn't one put out by some Committee for Family Something-or-another or the People for Preserving Virtuous-sounding Institution. It started out with a voiceover from Dubya himself saying that he approved the ad. [1] In it, the ad states that Kerry voted for higher taxes more than 350 times. I even checked the official George Bush election site, and it says:

...John Kerry has voted for more spending not less, and higher taxes not lower. He has voted for higher taxes more than 350 times, and he has consistently flunked the scorecards of tax watchdog groups...

Geez! Say Kerry's been in political office for roughly 20 years, and that's roughly 1.5 votes for higher taxes per month, every month. I almost always lean Democratic, and I'd have a hard time voting for someone that did that.

Ah, but wait!

Thanks to the folks at, we know this is misleading:

[This claim] includes votes Kerry cast to leave taxes unchanged (when Republicans proposed cuts), and even votes in favor of alternative Democratic tax cuts that Bush aides characterized as “watered down.” ... It's simply untrue that Kerry voted for tax increases 350 times.

Now, the Bush camp splits hairs saying that Kerry voted for "higher taxes" not "tax increases." (Yeah, that difference is crystal clear.) I'm sorry, but claiming that Kerry voting for modest tax cuts is voting for higher taxes is bullshit. Keeping taxes the same is not "higher taxes."

Yes, I understand that spin drives politics. Politics is perception and all that stuff. But this is a blatant attempt to deceive the viewer. That's what I like to call a lie. That's what pisses me off. And regardless of your political affiliation, it should piss you off, too.

Next time (after I calm down): Don't look now, but the Democrats are doing the same thing.

[1] I'm hearing these a lot recently, but don't remember ever hearing them before. The candidate comes on and says, "I'm so-and-so, and I approve this message." The fact that these statements are almost word-for-word identical makes me think they're required by some election law.

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