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Hullabaloo


Friday, March 30, 2012

 
Fraudulent recordings? It's just how they roll

by digby

A conservative lawyer learns that the RNC is a lowdown, dirty, organization that, like most conservative organizations, will engage in fraud and deceit as a matter of routine, even when they don't need to. Welcome to reality, sir:

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration really could not have had a better week. They did a tremendous job framing their constitutional argument against the statute to the public, the lawyers on their side were brilliant, and it appears that they had a receptive Supreme Court majority. It was an eleven on a scale of one to ten.

Now this. The RNC released an advertisement (embedded in the story linked below) with audio from the halting beginning to Don Verrilli’s oral argument on the individual mandate to make the point that (as the ad’s title says) “ObamaCare: It’s a tough sell.” So far as I can tell, it is less a real ad that would actually run than a stunt intended to draw attention – no less a stunt than the DNC surely has done in lots of other contexts.

But Bloomberg News had the good sense to actually compare the actual argument audio with what the RNC distributed. It turns out to have been materially doctored. As the Bloomberg piece says, “A review of a transcript and recordings of those moments shows that Verrilli took a sip of water just once, paused for a much briefer period, and completed his thought, rather than stuttering and trailing off as heard in the doctored version.”

I’ve been in practice for seventeen years, and the blog has existed for ten, and this is the single most classless and misleading thing I’ve ever seen related to the Court. It is as if the RNC decided to take an incredibly serious and successful argument that has the chance to produce a pathbreaking legal victory for a conservative interpretation of the Constitution, drag it through the mud, and vomit on it.


Well, that is their specialty.

Sadly, I doubt that this will have the effect that this delightfully naive fellow thinks it will. Nobody cares. Lying right wing operatives have no limits and can literally get away with anything. They couldn't care less about "serious arguments." They don't need them. It'll be fine --- it's just red meat for a slavering base that is addicted to it.

I have to wonder why this person isn't more concerned about the fact that at least three of the Supreme Court justices seem to be among those who are demanding a piece of that bloody carcass. They certainly seemed to have absorbed all the Tea party talking points. (Of course, one of the Justices is married to a major Tea Party organizer, so I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised.)

If he has a problem with the Republican Party losing its grip, he really should check out this Chris Mooney post (which David also referenced below) and ask himself how it could have happened:

For a while now, I’ve been aware of a powerful new paper that directly tests the central argument of my 2005 book The Republican War on Science—and also validates some key claims made in my new book, The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--and Reality. I’ve had to keep quiet about it until now; but at last, the study is out—though I’m not sure yet about a web link to it.

The research is by Gordon Gauchat of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and published in the prestigious American Sociological Review. In the study, Gauchat uses a vast body of General Social Survey data to test three competing theses about the relationship between science and the U.S. public:

1) the cultural ascendancy thesis or “deficit model” view, according to which better education and engagement with science lead all boats to rise, and citizens across the board become more trusting of scientists and their expertise;

2) the alienation thesis, according to which modernity brings on distrust and disillusionment with science (call it the “spoiled brat” thesis if you’d like); and

3) the politicization thesis—my thesis—according to which some cultural groups, aka conservatives, have a unique fallout with science for reasons tied up with the nature of modern American conservatism, such as its ideology, the growth of its think tank infrastructure, and so on.

The result? Well, Gauchat’s data show that the politicization thesis handily defeats all contenders. More specifically, he demonstrates that there was only really a decline in public trust in science among conservatives in the period from 1974 to 2010 (and among those with high church attendance, but these two things are obviously tightly interrelated).

And not just that.

Gauchat further validates the argument of The Republican War on Science by showing that the decline in trust in science was not linear. It occurred in association with two key “cultural break” points that, I argue in the book, heightened right wing science politicization: The election of Ronald Reagan, and then the election of George W. Bush.

This one figure from the paper really, really says it all:



This isn't really much of a mystery. Pay attention people.


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