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Believe It Or Not: Republicans Hate Jesus
If Democrats were to pull a Watergate caper and steal the Republican campaign playbook, they might accuse Republicans of committing the ultimate blasphemy to Christians. They might say that in seeking to denigrate and tear down everything government tries to do to help the poor, the sick, and the needy, Republicans are secretly waging war against the teachings of Jesus Christ. They might conjure up a catchy slogan like REPUBLICANS HATE JESUS and treat it as a self-evident truth.
They could then proceed to turn the slogan into a campaign strategy and use it to preclude any real debate on the issues. When did Republicans start to hate Jesus? Why do Republicans hate Jesus? Do all Republicans hate Jesus or mainly just politicians, CEOs, and the Super Rich? And they could debate these questions endlessly on a popular TV channel that disguises its propaganda as news. They could use this smear tactic in every political campaign from here to eternity – or at least until it stops working.
By this standard, it doesn’t matter whether or not a slur or slogan is true. What matters – indeed, the only thing that matters – is whether or not it produces the desired results because nothing succeeds like success.
This is the point of Jill Lepore’s fascinating essay entitled “The Lie Factory” in the latest (September 24) issue of The New Yorker. Lepore shows how Leone Baxter and Clem Whitaker, the ingenious couple who invented the art and science of political consulting back in 1933, transformed American politics with a simple insight, namely that repeating a lie over and over again is the surest way to win elections.
Lepore tells a riveting story of how Baxter and Whitaker created the first political consulting firm in the U.S., Campaigns, Inc., and “licked” Upton Sinclair when he ran for governor of California in 1934 by getting the Los Angeles Times to put a box with an Upton Sinclair quotation in it on the front page every day for six weeks before the election. The quotes were not from Sinclair speeches and interviews, but rather from fictional characters in his novels. Clever, huh?
When Sinclair lost the election, he wrote a long post-mortem, “How I Got Licked”, published in installments in 50 newspapers. The reason he lost, he said, was that the Republicans ran what he called a Lie Factory. (Did I mention REPUBLICANS HATE JESUS?)
The Lie Factory would go on to play a major role in defeating two early attempts at guaranteed health care, one at the state level (then Governor Earl Warren’s proposal for a universal health insurance system in California), the other a compulsory, comprehensive national program (President Truman’s proposal in 1945). Today, we are living – and dying – with the consequences.
How did Baxter and Whitaker do it? Two steps: 1) persuade physicians and the powerful AMA lobby that letting the state get into the act would be fatal for the free exercise of the healing arts; 2) persuade the American people that national health insurance was the first step on the road to totalitarianism (think Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia). Campaigns, Inc. gave opponents of affordable health care the only weapon they would ever need, namely a poisonous label: “socialized medicine”.
Of course, it was (and is) a lie. Guaranteed health care is not a synonym for socialism. Nor is it incompatible with a robust market economy. The empirical evidence drawn from the experience of many countries – most notably, our closest allies – and decades of economic history is overwhelming, which means that anyone who pretends otherwise is a fool or a liar.
And if your name happens to be Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan you are lying through your pearly white teeth. But lying is what the heirs of Baxter and Whitaker – you know, nice guys like Roger Ailes (think: FOX News), Karl Rove, and Grover Norquist – want you to do. Winning is what you want to do. You want to win? The facts are not in your favor? Okay, tell lies, a lot of lies, big lies, dirty lies, and wrap yourself in the flag while you paint you’re opponent as a socialist, atheist, or (if he happens to have an unusual middle name), perhaps a Muslim.
Back to the point: REPUBLICANS HATE JESUS. Remember the Sermon on the Mount? Does anything in it remind you of today’s Republican leadership? (Yes? What Bible are you using? No? That’s the one we used when I was in Sunday school.) Or do you remember the New Testament accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John where Jesus “cleanses the Temple”; that is, He throws the moneychangers out (by contrasting, Republicans bail them out). A little fuzzy on that, are we? Kindly re-read Matthew 21: 12-13, to cite one example from what Christians consider Holy Scripture.
Or has that changed? Seriously, it’s difficult to imagine the historical Jesus endorsing the pack of lying liars who now head the Republicans party (aka, The Lie Factory).
So, please repeat after me: REPUBLICANS HATE JESUS. Repeat it over and over again, like a mantra, okay? Do it at least until November 3. Be sure to start repeating it again at least a year before any election. It’s of utmost importance that we all use only these three words until everyone in America believes it. (Think: “duckspeak” in 1984. Orwell was onto something.)
Remember the sweet little children’s song, “Jesus loves me! This I know…”? Well, kiddies, guess what? Republicans are different. They don’t love you.
More proof that REPUBLICANS HATE JESUS (and affordable health care).
And that’s no lie.