Point of View Columns

Truthspeak 2014

In 1984, George Orwell’s dystopian novel, there is something called “truthspeak”. This crowd management doubletalk was meant to guide the public in a direction that always favored the ruling class. While 1984 is a work of fiction, thirty years after 1984 “truthspeak” has been elevated to a malignant art form particularly in the rhetoric of the Teapublican right wing of the right wing, particularly when it comes to President Barack Obama.

This week’s news reports that President Obama’s approval rating is now at 41%, the lowest point to date during his presidency. Such low polling numbers would seem at first to be counterintuitive. The economy has been improving throughout his entire presidency, the slow pace of that recovery being further evidence of the devastation brought about by the would be Pirates of Wall Street and their enablers in the Bush Administration. Unemployment is at its lowest point since the Great Crash of 2008. And it was the stimulus strategy of the Obama Administration that literally saved millions of jobs along with the American automobile industry.

These are facts that should increase, not decrease, the approval ratings of the president, any president. And there is more. The housing market has improved greatly during the five plus years of the Obama Administration, and a country that was in two wars, bleeding blood and treasure by the minute is now extricated from the Iraqi death trap and is on its way out of the gory mire that is Afghanistan. And despite repeated calls from Teapublican chicken hawks, President Obama has kept this country out of war in Syria, Libya and (to date) the Ukraine.

The Obama Administration supported the challenge to the odious so-called Defense of Marriage Act and with it being overturned by the United States Supreme Court this country is now several steps closer to something resembling equality and humanity. And it was the Obama Administration that led the struggle to pass and implement the first universal healthcare system in the history of the United States thereby giving this country the tools to finally have a healthcare system that is on a par with the healthcare system of every developed country on this planet.

These are all fact that should increase, not decrease, the approval ratings of the president, any president. But, of course, President Obama is not any president. In an unprecedented act of near treason, the leaders of what would soon be the Teapublican cabal met on the evening of President Obama’s inauguration to plot his failure as president, not caring what damage would be inflicted on the American people in the process.

Since January of 2009, the other part of this cynical strategy has been to simply lie about President Obama and his policies and initiatives at every possible opportunity. Using the “truthspeak” theory articulated in 1984, the Teapublicans have preached that the truth is a lie and that lies are the truth.

Using “truthspeak” the Teapublicans have told their adherents that President Obama is not a citizen of the United States. They have been told that the stimulus package did not save millions of jobs even as they elbowed their way to the window of the U.S. Treasury to get stimulus checks for their districts and jurisdictions. Teapublican “truthspeak” states that the Great Crash of 2008 was not that bad and that President Obama should not get credit for what has been essentially a cyclical recovery.

Teapublican “truthspeak” preaches that President Obama is “weak” because he has not needlessly committed American combat troops to wars in which the American people do not have a direct interest. Teapublican “truthspeak” states that President Obama is “lazy” even though the evidence illustrating the activity and productivity of his Administration is crystal clear – despite Teapublican obstruction in Congress.

And, perhaps the biggest lie of all, the Teapublican “truthspeak” machine has continuously stated that the Affordable Care Act is a disaster for the American people even as millions of Americans are signing up for healthcare. They continue these lies even as the American healthcare system is finally being overhauled and pulled and pushed into the 21st century.

The declining ratings of President Obama are visible evidence of the power of “truthspeak” and a victory for lies and mendacity. And that is truly a shame.


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