VERN’S VIEW: Handling GOP’s altered reality

Blogger Mark Sumner recently summarized the Republican Party and its crumbling legitimacy for representing the American people. My analysis:

Ideological fights in Congress are nothing new, but these battles are uniquely dangerous. The basic Republican operating philosophy is fear-mongering. Fear, not sense, is what the Republican National Convention is counting on to get votes.

The time is long past when ideas contested for history’s approval. What now comes from the political right consists of emotional, fear-based dogma without factual basis.

They lie about President Barack Obama being the "food-stamp president" even though more people joined that program under President George W. Bush.

Blatant lies extend through every aspect of the GOP platform.

The economy crashed under Republican policies such as tax cuts, deregulated markets, restricted unions, massive cuts to environmental regulations, lowered trade barriers and enormous defense spending.

The Republicans got what they wanted and said it would make us all wealthy and create jobs. They got unlimited wealth for CEOs, unlimited banking "creativity" with other peoples’ money, trade agreements that guaranteed manufacturing could move to the cheapest and most desperate labor sources available, massive cuts in capital gains taxes and large boosts in wealth from estate tax freedom. They got record oil and gas drilling freedom, record giveaways of public land and the middle classes shouldering more of the burden so job creators — the rich — would be free to work their magic. In case you missed it, none of these things worked for anybody but the richest Americans.

Today, the Republicans cannot justify their claims the Democrats or Obama are responsible for the fragile economy or the civil unrest sweeping the nation. The economy crashed because taxes were cut, preemptive wars were fought on credit, regulations were removed and unions were made scapegoats — as they always are by Republicans who fail. They blame the failures from the Bush years on Obama.

The truth is the Republicans have nothing to offer, least of all a plan for governing. Conservatism is no longer about politics. It is a cult that requires certain phrases be repeated, certain hatreds be fed and that purity of message be maintained regardless. This schism with reality is increasingly large and obvious; obfuscation replacing reason and fact.

Real history scares and confuses today’s Republicans because truths undo their ritualized beliefs. The Republican publicity machine now tries to rewrite its own history as well as history that actually worked.

The real danger isn’t that someone might listen to the Republicans, but that we might forget they’re lying. Too often Democrats, including Obama, have felt that the best way to handle Republican lies is to compromise. You can’t compromise with those committed to altered reality.

Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at He can be reached by email at

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