To be honest, the extent to which Republicans know they are lying as distinct from being slightly insane fantasists isn't entirely clear. Ian Milhiser watches, aghast, a CBS inteview with an Arizona member of the House in which the lie (or the fantasy) takes over. The guy's name is Matthew Salmon and he is, of course, a Republican. And he wants another government shutdown just like the one perpetrated by Republicans back in 1995.
I was here during the government shutdown in 1995. It was a divided government. we had a Democrat [sic] President of the United States. We had a Republican Congress. And I believe that that government shutdown actually gave us the impetus, as we went forward, to push toward some real serious compromise. ...Think Progress
Then out pops the nuthouse theory -- one that Gingrich invented and trots out now and then -- "that the government shutdown somehow led to balanced budgets during President Clinton’s second term."
In reality, the principal policy driver of the Clinton era surpluses was something that every single Republican in Congress voted against — the Clinton tax hikes on the rich. These surpluses, of course, were wiped out almost immediately after President George W. Bush took office, thanks to Bush’s tax cuts that largely benefited the very wealthy. ...Think Progress
Blind, destructive ideology -- a disease Republicans have been subject to for decades -- is like walking into a jail and slamming the door behind you. It removes the real world from your view and it lowers, not heightens, your ability to make judgments. Salmon and Gingrich, locked down and immobilized, have no idea how much they look like nut cases from Whopperland just about every time they speak -- and we're left wondering what kind of flaw in the system gave them the power they have over our lives.
Update: Our wise Vermont correspondent points to Matt Taibbi's latest -- on the bailout. Snip:
...The most appalling part is the lying. The public has been lied to so shamelessly and so often in the course of the past four years that the failure to tell the truth to the general populace has become a kind of baked-in, official feature of the financial rescue. Money wasn't the only thing the government gave Wall Street – it also conferred the right to hide the truth from the rest of us. And it was all done in the name of helping regular people and creating jobs. "It is," says former bailout Inspector General Neil Barofsky, "the ultimate bait-and-switch."
The bailout deceptions came early, late and in between. There were lies told in the first moments of their inception, and others still being told four years later. The lies, in fact, were the most important mechanisms of the bailout. The only reason investors haven't run screaming from an obviously corrupt financial marketplace is because the government has gone to such extraordinary lengths to sell the narrative that the problems of 2008 have been fixed. Investors may not actually believe the lie, but they are impressed by how totally committed the government has been, from the very beginning, to selling it. ...Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
And that's just the opening...