The fourth GOP presidential primary debate — actually more like GOP “mis-infomercial” — aired on Fox Business on Tuesday night, November 10. The term “snake oil salesman” is defined as “someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is themselves a fraud, quack, charlatan, or the like”. That definition seems too kind and mild a description for what took place.
Fact checkers will be mining this debate for quite a while. Many politicians “spin”, but the GOP candidates’ innovations in the field of dissembling and misinformation are breathtaking in scope and speed. It’s as if their sound-bite ghost-writers are engaged in a perverse competition to produce the most shameless, preposterous and easiest-to-disprove fabrication. The more transparently false the statement, the bigger and longer the applause from the GOP base. Scary.
Carly Fiorina began her closing statement by asking, with carefully practiced faux horror, “Imagine a Clinton Presidency …”. To which most Americans will respond, “You mean like the last one? You know, the one that produced record economic growth and broad-based prosperity, reversed decades of deficits and generated surpluses, reduced income inequality?” Yeah, Americans CAN happily imagine it because we had the good fortune to live it for 8 years!
Of course, all the GOP candidates want to reverse Obama on everything as well. Apparently 68 straight months of private sector job growth, 5% unemployment, nearly non-existent inflation, shrinking deficits (less than 1/2 the size of the deficit he inherited from Bush), dramatically improved long-term outlooks for Social Security and Medicare, a healthy and robustly growing domestic auto industry, the lowest uninsured rate and the slowest growth rate in healthcare costs in over 4 decades, booming financial markets, an exploding alternate energy sector, etc., etc., are conditions that no GOP candidate will allow to continue.
Despite all their other misinformation, you can take the GOP candidates at their word that they will in fact do everything opposite of Clinton and Obama, because that has been the track record of GOP presidents since Hoover. On virtually every economic and social metric, Democratic presidents have consistently outperformed their GOP counterparts. It’s as if the GOP misinterpreted the old adage “misery loves company”, as a sort of anti-utilitarian directive to create the greatest misery for the greatest number. In that misguided effort they’ve been tragically successful.