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“Credibility Gap”: Study Finds Republicans Lie More Than Democrats

According to a new study from the nonpartisan Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, Republicans are significantly more likely to lie than Democrats — and the gap is widening as President Barack Obama spends more time in office.

The study examined how Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-check site rated 100 statements involving factual claims from the first four months of President Obama’s second term — 46 of the claims were made by Democrats, and 54 were made by Republicans.

CMPA found that PolitiFact rated 32 percent of the Republican claims as “false” or “pants on fire,” compared to just 11 percent of the Democratic claims. Along the same lines, PolitiFact rated just 11 percent of the Republican statements as “entirely true,” compared to 22 percent of the Democratic statements.

Just 18 percent of the Republican claims were rated as “mostly” or entirely true, compared to 54 percent of the Democratic claims. Conversely, 52 percent of the Republican statements were rated as mostly or entirely false, while just 24 percent of Democratic statements received the same designation.

In other words, as CMPA President Dr. Robert Lichter put it: “While Republicans see a credibility gap in the Obama administration, PolitiFact rates Republicans as the less credible party.”

Notably, the credibility gap seems to be growing with time. In May, as Republicans have obsessively tried to tie the president to a series of scandals, their percentage of false claims has risen to 60 percent.

PolitiFact editor Bill Adair responded to the study in an email to Politico’s Dylan Byers:

PolitiFact rates the factual accuracy of specific claims; we do not seek to measure which party tells more falsehoods.

The authors of this press release seem to have counted up a small number of our Truth-O-Meter ratings over a few months, and then drew their own conclusions.

We’ve rated more than 7,000 statements since we started in 2007. We are journalists, not social scientists. We select statements to fact-check based on our news judgment — whether a statement is timely, provocative, whether it’s been repeated and whether readers would wonder if it is true.

You can read the full results of the CMPA study here.


By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, May 29, 2013

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Opportunistic Capitulation”: For The GOP, Spending Cuts For Thee But Not For Me, Because It’s Different This Time

But this time it’s different…

How many times have we heard those words – not as an apology for past mistakes but as a justification for one’s current actions?

It seems the GOP excels at this justification. Whether it be championing spending cuts, but then seeking to restore funding for the Federal Aviation Administration because “it’s different when they have to wait in line at the airport,” or Michelle Bachman decrying Obama’s stimulus package as “fantasy economics” and an “orgy” of government spending, but then being the first to request funding to stimulate projects in her home state of Minnesota. Ah yes, it’s just “so different.”

Recently, we saw two more such examples of opportunistic capitulating. In 2008, Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., bragged in a press release after then-President Bush declared 24 Oklahoma counties eligible for disaster aid due to severe weather, “I am pleased that the people whose lives have been affected by disastrous weather are getting much-needed federal assistance.” But four years later he voted to deny emergency funding for those areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Then, when confronted with the prospect of providing federal disaster aid money to those decimated in Moore, Oklahoma following the devastating tornado, Inhofe pledged his unqualified support, stating on MSNBC that unlike Sandy, this is “totally different.” Really? When Americans lose their homes, possessions and livelihood due to uncontrolled natural forces, I didn’t think there really was a difference or justification for politicians to pick and choose the winners and losers.

And then there’s Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., who was elected on the tea party platform vowing to reform government such as farm programs and cut wasteful spending. During the recent House Agriculture Committee’s markup of the Farm Bill, he lived up to his promise and voted to cut $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as food stamps – but then turned around and SUPPORTED an increase and expansion of crop insurance subsidies by $9 billion over the next 10 years.

In committee, he claimed that SNAP funding, which goes to those whose income is below 130 percent of the federal poverty line, (mainly children, elderly and military retirees), is stealing “other people’s money that Washington is appropriating and spending,” but yet, somehow, he has no issue spending “other’s people money” to fund crop insurance subsides because they are “so different.”

The kicker: According to research by the Environment Working Group, Fincher is the second most heavily subsidized farmer in Congress and one of the largest subsidy recipients in Tennessee history. From 1999 to 2012, Fincher received $3.48 million in crop insurance subsidies.

I guess the rule-of-thumb is when it affects your personal bottom line – either financially or by impacting your prospective political longevity, things truly are different.


By: Penny Lee, U. S. News and World Report, May 29, 2013

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Derogatory History”: Economics May Finally Change The Terrible Name Of Washington’s Football Franchise

A group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as U.S. News’ Lauren Fox reports, is calling on Washington, D.C.’s National Football League franchise – unfortunately called the Redskins – to finally change its name. In a letter to owner Dan Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the 10 lawmakers, including the co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, write, “Native Americans throughout the country consider the term ‘redskin’ a racial, derogatory slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African-Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos … Washington’s NFL football team profits from a term that is equally disparaging to Native Americans.”

Snyder has come under increased pressure to change the derogatory name of his franchise, including from the D.C. city leadership and Washington’s (nonvoting) member of the House of Representatives (who cosigned the letter). But, so far, he seems immune to such pressure.

So it was a point the 10 lawmakers made later in their letter that likely highlights the way towards enticing a recalcitrant and belligerent Snyder to come around. And it doesn’t have to do with anyone’s feelings; it has to do with economics.

As Fox notes, “Lawmakers have alerted the NFL that Congress introduced legislation that would amend the 1946 Trademark Act and cancel any trademark that used the term ‘redskin.'” That bill, H.R. 1278, would eliminate one of Snyder’s money-making avenues, removing the trademark protection that prevents other organizations from marketing Redskins gear.

As ThinkProgress’ Travis Waldron explains, “Losing the trademark wouldn’t force the Redskins to change the name. What it would do, however, is make it impossible to stop other people from using it.” The Redskins are the fifth most valuable sports franchise in the world, so cutting off the trademark spigot would likely be more effective, sadly, than the string of Native American leaders who have come forward to explain the derogatory history of the term with which Washington endows its team.

Pro sports (as I’ve noted here before) is a big business and there are myriad ways in which the government is implicitly or explicitly backing the profits of franchises and their owners. And teams, as every fight over public subsidies for a new stadium shows, will go to great lengths to protect that backing. Washington’s team is already facing one lawsuit looking to strip away the trademark; an affirmative act of Congress to finish the trademark off would leave Snyder with quite the conundrum.

For precedent, it’s worth revisiting what led Washington’s football franchise to integrate. Then-owner George Preston Marshall was perfectly content to play up the team’s racist history, leaving it the last segregated squad in the league. He finally relented in 1962, not because of any change of heart, but after the John F. Kennedy administration threatened to refuse the team access to what is now called RFK Stadium, which was on federal land, unless it integrated. (Thomas G. Smith’s “Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins” is a good primer on the tale.)

So these 10 members of Congress hit on perhaps the best approach for getting Snyder to change his mind: not going after his sense of decency, but his bottom line.


By: Pat Garofalo, U. S. News and World Report, May 29, 2013

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Another Fringe Activitist”: Shock-Jock Publicity Seeker Darrell Issa’s Summer Fun Already Underway

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was on “Fox & Friends” yesterday, fielding questions about various ongoing political controversies, when he said something interesting. In reference to the chairman on the House Oversight Committee, Priebus boasted, “I’ve got a good feeling that Darrell Issa is going to have quite a summer.”

As it turns out, Issa’s summer fun is already underway.

Several top aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state, are targets of the latest subpoena for information about the drafting of talking points after the siege last fall on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that the Obama administration’s refusal to cooperate fully with a House investigation left him “with no alternative but to compel the State Department to produce relevant documents through a subpoena.”

What do you know, it really is 1997 all over again — a far-right chairman of the House Oversight Committee, hoping to undermine a Clinton, is needlessly sending out subpoenas over a trumped up political controversy.

The attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi was a deadly national security crisis, which left four Americans killed, but the effort to create a political “scandal” has run its course. Indeed, it effectively ended a couple of weeks ago with the release of internal administration emails that helped prove that the White House’s claims were accurate; there was no cover-up; and Republican accusations are without foundation in fact. It’s reached the point at which House GOP staffers are mocking their own party’s nonsense on this issue.

So why is Issa issuing subpoenas to Clinton aides anyway? Largely because, as the chair of the Republican National Committee put it, Issa is eager to “have quite a summer.”

If this seems eerily familiar, there’s a good reason for that — Issa is following in Dan Burton’s footsteps.

Remember Burton and his wildly unhealthy hatred for President Clinton?

Burton was at his most famous in the 1990’s, when he led many of the investigations against President Bill Clinton. “If I could prove 10 percent of what I believe happened, he’d [Clinton] be gone,” Burton declared in 1998. “This guy’s a scumbag. That’s why I’m after him.”

Over the last six years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, Burton led the House Government Reform Committee and unilaterally issued 1,089 subpoenas to investigate allegations of misconduct. That roughly translates to an average of a politically-inspired subpoena every other day for six consecutive years, including weekends, holidays, and congressional recesses.

Burton once held hearings — for 10 days — on the Clintons’ Christmas card list. He ended up targeting 141 different Clinton administration officials with subpoenas, including at least one instance in which Burton and his staff were so reckless, they subpoenaed the wrong person (they were looking for someone with a similar name).

Burton also fired a bullet into a “head-like object” — reportedly a melon — in his backyard to test the theory that former White House counsel Vincent Foster was murdered.

Burton, of course, wasn’t just some shock-jock or publicity-hungry provocateur; he was the chairman of a congressional committee with oversight authority over the White House. And he wielded that gavel as if he were a fringe activist with a chip on his shoulder.

The Indiana Republican has since left Congress, but his legacy remains. Indeed, his successor on the House Oversight Committee is picking up where Burton left off.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 29, 2013

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“What She Didn’t Say”: Reading Between The Lines Of Michele Bachmann’s Retirement Speech

She was the first woman to win the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa during her Republican presidential primary bid, but Michele Bachmann’s victory there in August 2011 only wound up calling the legitimacy of the political tradition into question. With her presidential campaign itself now under investigation and facing the prospect of a tough reelection fight, the four-term congresswoman on Wednesday released an eight minute and 40 second video announcing her decision not to seek a fifth term representing Minnesota’s 6th District.

A between-the-lines read:

BACHMANN: “Our Constitution allows for the decision of length of service in Congress to be determined by the congresspeople themselves or by the voter in the district. However, the law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years and in my opinion, well, eight years in also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative of a specific congressional district.”

Bachmann routinely describes herself as a Constitutional Conservative, so it’s not surprising she invokes her constitutional right to not serve as a member of Congress or run for office, even though everyone knows there is no mandate that all elected representatives must keep running for reelection forever. Fittingly, Bachmann also compares herself to a president, which is what she sought unsuccessfully to be and the aim of her only national political bid.

That campaign both elevated her profile and undermined her standing as an elected official. She came in sixth in the Iowa caucuses, transforming her from a high-profile national Tea Party leader into a person who was proven unable to garner more than token support among an ideologically sympathetic population of voters outside her carefully drawn district.

BACHMANN: “Be assured my decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being reelected to Congress.”

Despite the advantages of incumbency and outspending him 12-to-1, Bachmann defeated Democrat Jim Graves by only 1 percentage point in the 2012 election in a heavily Republican district that Mitt Romney won by 15 percent. Graves was at a considerable disadvantage at the time. “We had a very abbreviated campaign. When we announced, we had nobody on the team, so we had to create a team and had to create a field operation and we had to do all those things in a very abbreviated time frame up against a very well-funded candidate,” he has said, explaining his loss. Recent internal polling from the Graves campaign put him slightly ahead of her a year and a half before their rematch.

Bachmann not only faced a tough reelection battle but a long one, and in mid-May she started reelection campaign advertising on Minnesota television. That, at the very least, suggests she had not been planning a resignation announcement for long, or was uncertain about how she wanted to proceed.

BACHMANN: “Rest assured this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff.”

Inquiries is a mild way of putting it: Bachmann’s former national field coordinator, Peter Waldron, turned on her and in March filed complaints against her presidential campaign organization and political action committee with the Federal Election Commission. The Office of Congressional Ethics is also conducting a probe of her campaign payment arrangements. Also investigating the conduct of the Bachmann presidential campaign are: the FBI’s public integrity section, an Iowa special investigator requested by the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, and the Urbandale, Iowa, Police Department. That’s a lot of potential headaches for a weak incumbent.

BACHMANN: “Last year, after I ran for president, I gave consideration to not running again for the House seat that I hold. However, given that we were only nine months away from the election, I felt it might be difficult for another Republican candidate to get organized for what might have been a very challenging campaign — and I refused to allow this decision to put this Republican seat in jeopardy. And so I ran. And I won.”

It is not unusual for failed presidential candidates to reconsider their political careers, and Bachmann is right that if she had pulled out late in the game Graves might have surged while the GOP scrambled to find a replacement. This time, the Republicans will have time to find someone who can compete against him more effectively in a district that should favor their party, and Bachmann can step down knowing she’s done her all to keep the seat in Republican hands.

BACHMANN: “Feel confident: Over the next 18 months I will continue to work 100-hour weeks.”

Being a member of Congress is exhausting.

BACHMANN: “Looking forward, after the completion of my term, my future is full, it is limitless and my passions for America will remain. And I want you to be assured that there is no future option or opportunity — be it directly in the political arena or otherwise — that I won’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation for future generations.”

Translation: I haven’t yet figured out what to do next — please hire me.


By: Grance-Franke-Ruta, The Atlantic, May 29, 2013

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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