Politicians lie as we all know. There is a difference between massaging the truth, an offense committed by both parties, and having an outright policy of lies, as is the case with today's GOP. Not content with merely misstating facts, the Republican Party engages in a daily attack upon truth. They assault the truth. They do it in a bold-faced manner, knowing the corporate media is firmly in their pocket and will not report it. That is how they hold onto even the 34% popularity in the face of such egregious and unscrupulous behavior. In addition to this, they have a policy of aggression toward anyone who would dare seek the truth. It is not a policy of fair engagement where competing ideas can be expressed, it is instead a policy that has become affectionately know as "swift-boating", a reference to the slew of lies hurled at John Kerry during his run for the White House.
I present this week's exhibit number one, Jean Schmidt, Republican freshman Congressperson from Ohio. Ms. Schmidt recently won a bitterly close election with an Iraq War veteran. Not content to wade slowly into the partisan pool, she dove in head first last week in the height of the John Murtha controversy. Murtha is a democratic war hawk Congressman who had supported this president and his failed war. In his emotional statement, he not only said that the troops needed to come home, but outlined a plan to keep the peace in Iraq. His statement carefully outlined the problems with this war and the rationale for why it was time to end our occupation.
With the support for the war hovering around 35% the GOP apparently panicked and dispatched Congresswoman Schmidt to the floor of the house to slap Murtha back in place. Claiming to be reading a letter from an Iraq War Veteran and current Ohio State Representative, here is the exact quote from Jean Schmidt:
Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."
The ensuing minutes would see Congress erupt in howls and derision toward Ms. Schmidt. Why you ask? Well, Congressman Murtha is not only a veteran of the Marine Corps, but he served for 37 years with distinction. Not only that, he is the recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. So what we had was a freshman Congresswoman who never served a day in the military calling a 37 year veteran of the Marine Corps who received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, a coward. That typifies your Republican Party today. Any dissent is met with immediate character assassination. Swift-boating as policy.
You have a president who went AWOL from ducking service in Vietnam and a Vice President who received five deferments from the same war presiding over a failed military capmaign based on lies and when a 37 year military veteran dares to question the wisdom of such matters, they send a woman with no military experience to the floor of the House of Representatives to call him a coward. It is no wonder everyone in the GOP took a collective breath the following day and tried to moonwalk away from the utter lunacy of this incident. While Bush and Cheney were quick to praise Murtha but politely disagree with him, Jean Schmidt had a bigger problem since she was the one who actually called Murtha a coward. Her solution? Blame the veteran who gave her the message. It was reported in the ensuing days that Schmidt claimed she was actually reading a letter from an Iraq war vet and it was he who called Murtha a coward. Glad we got that resolved"
Except one thing, the veteran in question denies ever saying that Murtha was a coward. Schmidt referenced current Ohio State Representative, Danny Bubp as the veteran who would dare question the bravery of Congressman Murtha. Bubp, a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told the Cincinnati Enquirer however, that he never mentioned Murtha by name, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward. "There was no discussion of him personally being a coward or about any person being a coward," Bubp said. Oops, this is why lying as a policy is never a good idea. Eventually someone goes around asking questions.
So, Schmidt not only called a 37-year Marine Corps veteran a coward on the floor of the House of Representatives, but she then further lied to smear and blame an Iraq War veteran for it. Where is the mainstream media coverage of this? Where is the sharp denunciation of Schmidt and the calls for her immediate resignation? How can such irresponsible leadership be tolerated? I encourage everyone to read Congressman Murtha's exact statement here:
Knowing they had no answer for the truths contained in Murtha's statement, they went out to swift-boat him. Now, we are 66% of the country and we are sick and tired of a policy of lies. We are tired of swift-boating people who have the temerity to stand up for what is right and decent. If 66% of the public stopped watching mainstream news in protest, then you would see them have to cover the stories such as this. If 66% of the people in Ohio would demand it, Schmidt could be gone by tomorrow.
The swift-boating needs to be stopped and the only way to do so is to stop playing into it. When it was revealed that Joseph Wilson informed the administration that the uranium from the Niger stories were untrue prior to the infamous 16 words in the State of the Union address, the reaction was not to come clean. Instead we saw the immediate swift-boating of Ambassador Wilson which led to the eventual treasonous outing of his covert CIA wife. This is the policy of the most corrupt administration in modern history. They are the leaders of a party who are so devoid of morality they reflexively lie. They lie to cover up other lies. They lie to start war. They lie to continue war. They lie because they are the party of lies. Sixty-six percent of this country realize this and are waiting for the other 34% to wake up.
Jean Schmidt is just the poster child for deception this week. Tom Delay who has been reprimanded by the GOP controlled House three times and is currently under indictment wants us to believe he is somehow a victim. Bill Frist is under investigation for insider trading. Rumsfeld wants us to believe that he was never asked about invading Iraq. President Bush says we do not do torture on the same day that Cheney lobbies Congress to exempt the CIA from the torture ban. Lying is not just a happenstance. It is a premeditated strategy, a policy. In backing away from the Murtha controversy, President Bush actually said the "progress in Iraq is amazing." Amazing??? Granted, it is amazing in its ineptitude. It is amazing that the President has not been impeached for lying to Congress to start this war. It is amazing that there is still 34% of this country that has no problem with Jean Schmidt calling John Murtha a coward and then lying about another veteran in trying to deflect the blame. It is amazing this 34% believes that the act of swift-boating as policy is acceptable as our children continue to die for the lies of a party devoid of any humanity. It is amazing that Bush can continue to look us in the face and lie with impunity even though his approval rating shows that America is on to him.
While it appears on the surface that the swift-boating is aimed at a person, the real victim is the truth. The purpose of swift-boating Joseph Wilson was not attack him but the truth he was trying to expose. The purpose of swift-boating Murtha was not to personally attack him, but the truth he represents. The truth that this war based on lies is over and our children need to stop dying for those lies. Never forget that when you see these attacks. John Murtha served 37 years for this country and does not need me to defend him from the liar from Ohio. The truth he stands for though does need someone to defend it. Somewhere an American soldier is dying today for lies that continue to be defended. It only seems just that someone stand up and defend their sacrifice and the facts that continue to be assaulted by the party of lies, swift-boating the truth.