If you haven’t seen the American version of “House of Cards” on Netflix, you should find a way to check it out. The parallels to real world US politics are chilling and it’s highly entertaining.
Watch a couple episodes and you’ll be convinced that deception is the true art of politics.
If a politician’s mouth is moving…
It’s The Truth, So What’s Your Problem?
The upcoming gridlock in Washington regarding the Supreme Court nominee provides fertile ground for machinations to bolster one’s points of view.
For example, even before Merrick Garland was nominated by the President, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake joined his Republican brochachos in offering a February 22 public statement:
One would have to go back more than a century to find a scenario where a president’s nominee for the Supreme Court was confirmed by the opposition party in the Senate when the vacancy occurred during an election year. I’m not about to break new ground in the Senate, particularly when any nominee could so drastically shift the balance of the court.
On the face of it, this is a compelling and logical argument to justify Flake’s position. Reading the statement, the reader is led to believe that a condition such as exists now with a lame duck President nominating a candidate for the Supreme Court in his final year in office was a common occurrence during the past century.
Therefore, for Flake to do anything other than follow the “normal” process would be a breach of his representation of his constituents.
See? The Fact Checker Says It’s The Truth
Yeah, it’s true. But so would a statement such as “No dinosaurs were captured in Arizona yesterday.”
And the second statement would be as germane to the subject as Flake’s “more than a century” statement. The difference is clear, the dinosaur comment wouldn’t be specifically designed to mislead people.
People Read Only The Headline
What Flake, or his handlers, are confidently relying on is the fact that the vast majority of people perusing his Facebook page won’t even bother clicking through to read the actual piece from ABC. Even most of the ones that DO read the piece will, at best, skim it or simply go directly to the “yes, it’s true” conclusion.
The few remaining people that actually read the ABC piece would notice the following:
Sarah Binder, a political scientist at George Washington University, said Flake’s statement is “technically correct.” She noted that there are no 20th century examples of a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year that the opposition party in the Senate refused to consider.
So… the reason Flake is telling the truth is that his “fact” simply doesn’t apply.
Yet, clearly, the fact Flake’s Facebook page linked to the article is meant to lead gullible people to believe the stonewalling of a Supreme Court nominee in a lame duck Presidential year is a common thing.
The exact opposite is true, it’s VERY uncommon.
This PolitiFact piece appears to be where ABC sourced their information for the piece cited by Flake. It goes into more detail about the statement. Flake’s people could have chosen to link to THAT source piece, but perhaps didn’t because the synopsis that would be automatically extracted for viewing on Facebook is less conducive to supporting the Senator’s position.
Should you care to research it yourself, click here for a list of Supreme Court nominations going back to 1789.
Hey Let’s Get Together
Since the initial statement that was in lock step to his Republican peers, this Politico piece indicates Flake would, at least, be willing to meet with the Supreme Court nominee:
Flake also said he would meet with Garland, noting that “I meet with anybody and that would include him.”
Convincing, isn’t it?
At least McCain was more overt in his statement that he wouldn’t consider ANY nominee from President Obama.
The most ironic thing is that the Republicans are playing a very dangerous game with this nomination. They’re relying completely on the assumption one of their own will take the Presidential election this November who will nominate a more conservative justice.