Politics Devolves into Correcting Lies

Correcting lies dominates a growing part of American political discourse.  Too much that is passed off as one politician’s ‘opinion’ of the policy of another is actually outright lying.  An article in the Jewish publication The Forward hit it home for me.  (Disclosure:  I think President Obama has been too easy on Israel in attempts to lure the Netanyahu government back into peace negotiations with the Palestinians.  I disagree with his decision to send Israel bunker busters while the Israeli government stiff-arms the President on peace negotiations and continues settlement expansion.)

The article discusses the heavy lifting Jewish supporters of Obama have had to do to combat a conservative narrative that Obama has ‘kicked Israel under the bus.’:

For the past three months, a group of President Obama’s Jewish supporters has been getting together for a weekly conference call to discuss strategy. The group, includes, among others, former White House adviser David Axelrod, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Congress members Robert Wexler and Mel Levine, Chicago Jewish activist and attorney Alan Solow, and mega-donor Penny Pritzker.Together, they have been trying to figure out how to overcome a relatively successful Republican attempt to plant doubts among Jewish voters regarding Obama’s relations with Israel.

The fruits of both their labor and the labor of other campaign and White House officials has become evident in recent weeks: A pro-Israel blitz, which has included conference calls, website updates and opinion articles, and which culminated in the president’s address to the United Nations, has Democrats feeling that they are taking back the initiative.

One example:

Dan Senor, a Republican strategist, took issue, in a recent article, with the Democratic notion that Obama’s problem with Jewish voters has to do solely with getting his message out. “Obama has made some meaningful exceptions, particularly having to do with security partnership, but overall he has built the most consistently one-sided diplomatic record against Israel of any American president in generations

The Obama problem with Jewish voters is not ‘solely with getting his message out.’  The problem is with misrepresentations and outright lies Dan Senor and other Republicans have spread about Mr. Obama’s commitment to or relationship with Israel.

Republicans have accused him of abandoning Israel, caving in to the Palestinians and, as Senor admits, spread the ridiculous claim that Obama ‘has built the most consistently one-sided diplomatic record against Israel of any American president in generations.’

I think most Israelis would give that award to George H.W. Bush who threatened to cut off Israeli loan guarantees to get Israel to sign the Oslo Accords with Yassar Arafat.  Mr. Obama vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.  He put the US reputation on the line by promising to veto any SC resolution on Palestinian statehood.   Shortly after he came into office, President Obama authorized and delivered the ‘iron dome’ missile defense system to Israel.  More recently he authorized delivery of bunker buster bombs.  Obama’s sanctions against Iran has throw rocks into the Iranian nuclear program.

Senor credits Obama with a good ‘security partnership’ with Israel, as if in an aside.  No part of the American relationship is as important to Israel that the security partnership between the two countries.  And only recently have neoconservatives like Senor and the Emergency Committee on Israel even given lip service to what Israeli commanders call the strongest military ties between the two country that grew under Mr. Obama.

This is a sensitive issue.  Neoconservative propaganda was initially effective in driving Jews away from the Administration. Oops!  Even now Netanyahu has to give credit to an American president he may hate but has proven to be a good friend.

But what a waste of time.  No President has ever had to spend so much time beating back lies about his background, his policies, his motives, he patriotism or his religion than Barak Obama.  It’s a disgrace.

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3 Responses to Politics Devolves into Correcting Lies

  1. jameyer40 October 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Okay, you may have had good points up until the last paragraph. No president? Why do you have to go off the deep-end like that?

  2. Carlyn Meyer October 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    hmmm….actually, I was going to end it another way but ran out of time. I don’t think the last paragraph was off the deep end. If you can name another President who (objectively!) has had more and a broader range of misrepresentations thrown at him while in office, I’m open. That said, I could have left last paragraph out. The rest speaks for itself. Thanks.

  3. Jake October 7, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    I think Carlyn Meyer’s last paragraph is right. No other president has ever faced such persistent lies that he’s not even an American citizen. The distortions about Obama are fundamental: Rather than merely criticizing him, his opponent entirely redefine him. They say (with some success at being convincing, somehow) that he’s secretly Muslim, that he secretly has been lying this whole time about what country he was born in, that he’s secretly socialist. All bunk.

    GWBush and Clinton both had zany accusations leveled against them, but they were always on the fringe. There were claims that Clinton secretly had a program to murder his political enemies, and there were claims that Bush secretly orchestrated 9/11. The claims that Obama is lying when he says he was born in Hawaii are alarmingly mainstream, even now.