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Are Today's Republicans Liars or Something Else?

Ezra Klein looks at the modern Republican Party and marvels:

The modern right’s fevered fantasies. “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Newt Gingrich asked in September 2010. Somehow, a president whose platform consists of Mitt Romney’s health care bill, Newt Gingrich’s environmental policies, John McCain’s deficit-financed payroll tax cuts, George W. Bush’s bailouts of failing banks and corporations, and a mixture of the Bush and Clinton tax rates has been recast as the greatest threat to capitalism since Karl Marx sat down for a beer with Friedrich Engels. As Kantor’s book shows, the most “accurate, predictive model” for Obama’s White House is something like “what is the most that can get through Congress that is consistent with center-left values and policy positions?” Answer that question, and you can usually predict where Obama and his team will end up. A deep knowledge of Kenyan anti-colonialism simply isn’t required. Yet over the past three years, Republicans have attempted to portray an entirely conventional Democratic presidency as something alien and unusual and un-American. That’s been the explicit argument of the “birthers,” but it’s also the subtext to Mitt Romney saying that “this president doesn’t understand freedom,” and Representative Mike Coffman... and Rush Limbaugh...

Me? I think I know they are liars.

I think this because I was present at the creation--in Washington when Newt Gingrich set down the Republican strategy in 1993 of portraying the Clintons--especially Hillary--in the way that they now portray Obama.

Back then the Republicans setting the strategy certainly knew it was a lie: "It's just politics. What are you, babies? Why are you upset at the rhetoric? Can't you stand the heat?" they would say...

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