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From this Saturday's show, Chris Hayes on the White House's failure to understand that it did not matter how far they moved to the right on anything from the health care law, to immigration, to gun control, Republicans don't care much about reality. They're going to create their own reality instead for political gain. As he noted at the end of his monologue:
And so, that's why promoting this implausible conspiracy theory about a secret plot to make gun owners look bad by giving guns to Mexican traffickers is so important to the right and the NRA. It's why they've been flogging Fast and Furious and why the NRA scored the vote on contempt. Since there is no actual case that the President wants to crush gun-rights, they have to make one.Because this is post-truth politics. Because you cannot make political gains with substantive concessions. They're still going to call you a gun-hating Kenyan socialist.
I think as evidenced by the White House's announcement last week of protections for DREAM Act eligible youth, that they are finally starting to wake up to that fact.
The panel discussion followed with Hayes' guests, Jose Antonio Vargas, Michael Ian Black, L. Joy Williams and the New York Times Ross Douthat, who as expected as soon as I saw his name on the guest list for this weekend, had lots of false equivalencies to offer on things such as GOP obstruction and their abuse of the filibuster to what is or is not a political witch hunt and when it's actually fair to say an administration is shredding our Constitution or not and why.
I think Hayes point on Republicans and their feigned outrage over the death of the border agent in this Fast and Furious case can't be repeated often enough as well. They don't show the same outrage or grief about the 30-thousand people killed every year by guns, so we know full well this is not about them having one iota of concern for gun control. It's pure politics.
More of Hayes commentary below the fold: The era of post-truth politics:
Given what we know about the Republican Party, and the way the House of Representatives conducts itself when run by Republicans and with a Democrat in the White House, it shouldn't really count as news when a House committee finds the Democratic attorney general in contempt of Congress.
After all, the last time we had a GOP house and a Democratic attorney general—during the Clinton administration— the House Oversight Committee voted on a party-line vote to find Janet Reno in contempt for failing to turn over two memos regarding whether an independent prosecutor was needed to investigate allegations regarding Democratic campaign-financing.
So this week's news that the same committee voted on a party-line vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt for refusal to turn over a trove of documents shouldn't really count as news.
But, alas, conservatives and House Republicans are good at ginning up outrage and their target is the Fast and Furious program, an attempt begun under the Bush administration to track illegal guns as they made their way through the hands of Mexican drug traffickers. The tracking wasn't very well executed, and at least one of the guns that should have been monitored was used instead to shoot and kill Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. (This horrible tragedy was one of about 30-thousand people killed every year by guns. Somehow we don't see much outrage and grief from Republicans about those).
Most importantly in understanding the politics of this psuedo scandal, you have to know that the NRA scored the vote for contempt, meaning that it will consider that vote when it gives lawmakers their NRA grade for the election. And this reveals much of what the Fast and Furious fracas is really about, and it brings to mind a phrase I first heard from a Democratic operative when I was conducting interviews for my book.
The operative told me we have to confront the fact that we are living in the era of what he called "post-truth politics." And he had a very specific definition for what this meant. In a media environment where conservative media has a monopoly on the information its audience receives, you can no longer create viable opportunities for political compromise by making substantive concessions. 'What does that mean?' I asked.
Well, at the time we were talking, the negotiations over the Affordable Care Act were heated, and the White House looked like it was pretty clearly going to sacrifice the public option in those negotiations. At least part of the thinking was, if you get rid of the public option—in other words a substantive policy concession to the right—you'll gain some political ground because people could no longer attack the Affordable Care Act as a government takeover of healthcare.
Except, as it turned out after passage... well, wrong. Read on...