James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Posts Tagged ‘Cathy McMorris Rodgers’

The Affordable Care Act and the GOP’s really big lie

Posted by James McPherson on July 2, 2012

Washington Post chart

Defeated by the Supreme Court, Republicans and their conservative allies have apparently decided that their best strategy to try to overcome the Affordable Care Act is simply to lie. Now they’re calling it the biggest tax in U.S. history. And, as you can see from the Washington Post chart above, they’re lying.

Rush Limbaugh is lying (yeah, big surprise). Sarah Palin is lying (OK, that’s expected, too). Mike Huckabee is lying (especially disgraceful for a former pastor who claims he can teach history) Sean Hannity is lying. James Pinkerton, also of Fox News, is lying. Conservative author Edward Klein is lying. The Washington Times is lying. The Daily Caller is lying. My cardboard cutout Congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is lying. House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority leader Eric Cantor and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell all lied. Alaska Tea Party loser Joe Miller is lying. Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummus is lying. California Congresswoman Mary Bono is lying. Louisiana Congressman Jeff Landry is lying. Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is lying. Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarlais is lying. Georgia’s Republican governor is lying. Congressional candidate Ben Quayle, son of a former vice president, is lying. Forbes apparently wants to lie, but can’t decide. New York Congressional candidate Dan Hollaran is lying. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance is lying. Naturally, conservative bloggers are lying and lying and lying and lying and lying and lying and lying and lying.

Republicans now claim that Barack Obama knowingly lied when he said the individual mandate upheld by the Supreme Court, but that’s a little tougher to prove. Not only to legal scholars disagree about whether it is a tax or not, even Mitt Romney, Obama’s 2012 challenger, apparently agrees with Obama on the issue. (Of course this is Romney, so he may disagree with himself any time now.)

We know that politicians lie, generally to get elected. But rarely do they lie as blatantly or as widely as Republicans are lying now in reaction to a Supreme Court decision. And the problem is, their supporters don’t care. As Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts wrote:

Falsehoods are harder to kill than a Hollywood zombie. Run them through with fact, and still they shamble forward, fueled by echo chamber media, ideological tribalism, cognitive dissonance, a certain imperviousness to shame, and an understanding that a lie repeated long enough, loudly enough, becomes, in the minds of those who need to believe it, truth.

That is the lesson of the birthers and truthers, of Sen. Jon Kyl’s “not intended to be a factual statement” about Planned Parenthood, of Glenn Beck’s claim that conservatives founded the Civil Rights Movement, and of pretty much every word Michele Bachmann says. It seems that not only are facts no longer important, but they are not even the point.

Or, as I noted when interviewed by the New York Times for a story about right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart: “There are no standards of fact anymore for a lot of people. We have gone from selecting sources of opinion that we agree with to selecting facts that we agree with.” Republicans clearly  hope you’ll buy their lying “facts” about health care in America.

And if you want to see how much you’ve been swayed — or simply left ignorant — about the real effects of the health care bill, you can take a simple 10-question test. I missed one, which, sadly, still made my score “better than 97% of Americans.” Sigh.

Posted in History, Legal issues, Politics, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

Cardboard cutout Congresswoman to have town hall meeting

Posted by James McPherson on August 30, 2011

Though she’s not advertising it on her own website (a mistake, since one would think that her supporters would be more likely than her detractors to read it), Cathy McMorris Rodgers apparently will host a town hall meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m.

I’ll be there. If you can’t be, and there’s anything you’d like me to ask her, let me know and I’ll try.

Posted in Personal, Politics | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

My cardboard cutout Congresswoman

Posted by James McPherson on August 2, 2011

Along with a small group of other folks, I stopped by the office of my U.S. representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, today to complain about the new debt reduction “deal” and the hijacking of the democratic process that Republican Tea Party sypathizers used to force Democrats into deal–while doing their damndest to assure that the economy would suffer further, and that it cannot recover enough to benefit Barack Obama in 2012. (Congressional Dems and Obama have also repeatedly proven themselves to be essentially gutless negotiators, of course.)

The Congresswoman wasn’t in her local office, of course, and we didn’t expect her to be. But we’ve seen plenty of her, and so have you–that’s  her in the photo, with House Speaker John Boehner, the one place where her constitents know they can find her virtually any time Boehner speaks on TV.

McMorris Rodgers never speaks. She just stands there, like a cardboard cutout, perhaps to make it appear as if Republicans care about women. Her “YouTube channel” consists of a single video, in which she is being interviewed by… oh, go ahead, I’ll bet you can guess… Fox News.

Unfortunately McMorris Rodgers also is about as thoughtful as a cardboard cutout. She votes in lockstep with the most conservative Republicans, has willingly forfeited whatever reasoning process she might be tempted to use by signing Grover Norquist’s silly tax pledge, and sometimes co-signs legislation generated by others. But as far as generating ideas of her own? In six years, my Congresswoman has introduced 34 bills, only four of which have made it out of committee–and NONE of which have passed.

In our conversation with the aide, I incorrectly said Cathy had introduced 32 bills, but he helpfully pointed out that she had introduced two more just a couple of days ago. And–perhaps surprisingly, for a Republican–these bills actually call for funding something related to science. The fact that they are related to Down syndrome (admittedly, one of many worthy medical causes) means they are more related to the Congresswoman’s own situation than to that of the vast majority of her constituents.

I don’t know where Cathy was today–probably on call in case Boehner was able to find a camera. But officially she had gone on recess for the next five weeks. And since Congressional Republicans also tried to kill unions in exchange for funding the FAA,  some 4,000 airline employees and thousands of construction workers will be without work. Remember how Republicans kept saying their primary concern was about jobs?

Today some of her constituents asked if Cathy would be having any town hall meetings during the recess, and an aide assured that she “planned to,” but “none have been scheduled yet.” I’ll be pleasantly surprised–hell, I’ll be amazed–if she has the guts to host one in which opponents can question her, even in this deeply red district. After all, she offers only vague, often irrelevant, sometimes condescending responses to emails and letters–responses that we pay for, of course.

The aide was a nice young man, but despite knowing about her two most recent bills he didn’t seem to be all that well informed about his boss–not knowing that she had signed the Norquist pledge, for example. On the other hand, he’s probably as well informed as Cathy, and he doesn’t have Boehner to tell him what to think.

When someone asked why McMorris Rodgers was such a fan of Exxon, the aide replied, “I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone from Exxon in here.” Well, duh–I doubt that oil executives drop by an office in the outer reaches of the country, especially when that office isn’t frequented by the member of Congress. But the fact remains that Exxon-Mobil is one of McMorris Rodgers’ top donors for the 2012 campaign now underway.

Her top donor during her time in Congress? The billionaire Koch brothers-funded, union-gutting, right-wing Club for Growth. I’ll bet she talks to them, even if she won’t speak to her constituents.

Next-day addendum: Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one to notice McMorris Rodgers’ hypocrisy. Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal had a piece about it this morning. I was briefly more excited about another Spokesman headline: “Feds announce turkey recall.” Sadly, the story turned out not to be about the new budget agreement.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »