Propagandists have long believed that if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. And thus we see increasing numbers of Americans who believe President Obama is a Muslim, or at least not a Christian.
Never mind that The Washington Post recently ran a lengthy article quoting evangelical ministers who regularly counsel and pray with the President—the Limbaugh/Beck crowd refuses to accept the facts.
But the demonization of Barack Obama extends far beyond religion; it’s particularly blatant when it comes to the economy. Is he a socialist? That’s virtually an accepted fact by the right wing – but try telling that to the left wing!
Liberal activists are disgusted by what they see: A refusal by the White House to embrace a public option on health insurance, an unwillingness to fight for the “card check” bill, a financial services reform bill that went easy on big banks, abandonment of “cap and trade,” and a war in Afghanistan that drags on and on. A socialist president? Puh-leeze.
But the biggest lies may involve the economy. The drumbeat of doom and gloom has been incessant from talk radio – high deficits will lead to hyper-inflation and soaring interest rates (the exact opposite has happened), and the economy will head off a cliff.
If you keep repeating, every day, that the economy is in free-fall, people eventually will believe it. Never mind that GDP grew by 5% in the fourth quarter of last year; the doomsayers kept predicting an economic collapse – and sure enough, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, public confidence began to collapse by spring.
Is Obama a Muslim? Is he a socialist? Is the economy headed off a cliff? No to all three – but his opponents will say anything to destroy him, just as Bill Clinton’s opponents said with utter sincerity that he and his wife were responsible for dozens of deaths, including that of Vince Foster.
Granted, many of Obama’s wounds are self-inflicted – his agenda grossly over-reached, foolishly emphasizing health reform instead of the economy. And he appears tone-deaf on issues like the Islamic mosque in New York.
But his opponents know that scores of Democrats will be defeated this fall because confidence over the economy has eroded – an erosion the right wing eagerly helped to generate. One telling question: Will Obama’s critics be ecstatic to see a weak jobs report on Sept. 3? What do you think?
Greg Valliere is Chief Political Strategist at the , a Washington-based firm that advises institutional investors on how government policies affect the markets. Greg has covered Washington for over 30 years, starting his career as an intern at The Washington Post, then co-founding The Washington Forum in 1974 to bridge Wall Street and Washington. He has held several positions, including Director of Research, for Washington-based firms, including the Schwab Washington Research Group. Greg is an exclusive commentator for CNBC-TV, where he appears regularly on most of the network’s programs.