A former co-worker of mine who has turned into something of a right-wing nut since he came into some money posted this quote on his Facebook page: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” He attributed it to Thomas Jefferson. I read it and for some reason decided to look it up, and sure enough it wasn’t Jefferson who said it at all. Gerald Ford uttered those words in an address to Congress on August 12, 1974.
My “friend” posted the quote as a continuation of an earlier discussion we had on political issues — a discussion that included some pointed criticisms of each others’ sources. As such, I decided to let him know that the quote was attributed incorrectly, and that he might want to do some fact-checking in the future before posting things.
He took the quote down, along with my comments, and re-posted the quote with the attribution, “a very smart person.”
I then asked why wouldn’t he correctly attribute the quote if I had told him exactly who said it, and added I guess Gerald Ford wasn’t sexy enough.
He removed the quotes and my comments again, and reposted it as “the smartest thing Gerald Ford ever said.”
Personally, I’m partial to this one, from Ford’s swearing-in speech on August 9, 1974: “…there is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people’s urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together.”
The reason I bring this up is because it’s typical of the right-wing echo chamber. No need to look up sources. If you’ve heard it before, or if someone has sent it to you over the internets, just reprint it or say it to others.
I’ve been listening to Joe Lyles’ Limbaugh Lie of the Day (podcast available through iTunes and Zune) quite a bit recently and one of his shows from a few days ago focused on how the right-wing plays fast and loose with its hypotheticals and faulty statistics. Eventually the incorrect or inaccurate stories first heard on right-wing radio shows like Limbaugh’s get picked up by other talk shows or even network shows and repeated as truth and used as talking points against progressive causes.
Sites like Media Matters have been debunking the easily-told lies of right-wing hatemongers for a few years now, and it’s why they are so hated by so-called conservatives. It was so much easier to hoodwink the American public when there was no record of the initial lie, wasn’t it?
Lyles brings up the story about the woman who called 911 because her local McDonalds had run out of Chicken McNuggets and how Rush turned that into a hypothetical about how this could turn into a lawsuit and this is why tort reform is necessary. When the right-wing gets all frothed up, these stories that begin as hypotheticals become circulated as truth — as in “Next thing you know, the courts are cluttered up with lawsuits about McDonalds that don’t have enough chicken nuggets! Is that right? We need tort reform!!”
So on the LLotD titled “Limbaugh Engages in Hogwash Inflation,” Lyles goes on to play clips of Rush stating on December 22nd that $7-8 trillion has already been transferred from producers to non-producers since 1964. Then on January 15th, Rush notes that the amount of money transferred from producers to non-producers in the Great Society is “over $7 trillion.” OK, so that slight difference is perhaps innocent and forgivable. However, by the time Rush speaks at CPAC in February, he has this to say: “We have transferred something like $10 trillion, maybe close to $11 trillion from producers and earners to non-producers.”
So according to Limbaugh, it took us about 45 years to spend $7-8 trillion, then we spent another $3-4 trillion in just a few months. Wow. I guess things are worse out there than I thought!
It will be interesting to find out where these numbers appear next. Will it be on Hannity’s show? Savage’s? Will Limbaugh repeat them? Ingraham? Your next family barbeque? These easily-tossed figures start to make the rounds and there’s little to stop them once they’re out there. This is why it’s so frustrating talking to those brainwashed by Rush, and its perhaps why his listeners get so mad when you try to set them straight. They think they know the figures because they trust Rush implicitly, true facts be damned.
Hopefully, folks like Joe Lyles and his Limbaugh Lie of the Day will just keep hammering away, and eventually the truth will out. If we progressives can show that the de-facto leader of the GOP lies with regularity, it will be easier to reveal the whole party for the hypocrites and liars they truly are.