[oldembed width="425" height="300" src="http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/pl55.swf" flashvars="config=http://mediamatters.org/embed/cfg3?id=201111280022" resize="1" fid="10"]
I'll bet you're wondering how many lies Bill Bennett and Sean Hannity can shove into one minute and 41 seconds. I'm about to show you. This little clip is so priceless for so many reasons. Beyond Bill Bennett's reverent repetition of the usual lies and half-truths in the name of Saint Ronnie, it's just a shining example of why Fox News viewers are ignorant and biased. The conversation takes place with reverent clips flowing on the screen in homage to the Great Sainted Ronald Reagan, while Bennett's eyes get just a little misty as he stares past the camera in reverent reverie.
First, we have the tax lie.
HANNITY: You know what's interesting to me, though? Things are so -- I know things change, but they really remain the same. It's the battle between the state and their utopia, if you will. To quote my buddy Levin, statism versus liberty.
BENNETT: Yeah. Ronald Reagan, the way I tell it, and I served with him as you know. I was his Secretary of Education and I had another job too. He wanted to do two things. He wanted to restore America and destroy the Soviet Union. You know, he was just straightforward about it.
Here -- you talk about things being the same. Carter. You remember what the country was like under Jimmy Carter? That's kind of like where we are -- maybe worse. It may be worse. But the country was feeling bad, worried about the future. We know what the misery index was. Ronald Reagan came in, sunny, optimistic, and with a plan. He said we're going to restore America.
You know, a lot of people forget. We talk about lowering taxes. It was not part of Republican doctrine until Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, my former partner --
HANNITY: Kemp-Roth tax bill
BENNETT: -- made it part of Republican doctrine. And now it is.
Just for the record, Ronald Reagan raised taxes eleven times. That's an interesting way to create doctrine, don't you think? Insert some sort of doctrinal pledge never to raise taxes while raising them? But again, this is Saint Ronnie we're talking about and so he didn't raise taxes, even if he did. Eleven times.
Onward to the "lazy, angry, bitter, clinging to Gods and guns" meme:
BENNETT: And so he told America to get up, lift up, he didn't say we were lazy people --
HANNITY: He didn't say we're lazy or slothful?
BENNETT: No, he didn't...
HANNITY: Wait, he didn't say we were angry, bitter, clinging to guns and bibles and religion?
BENNETT: He actually didn't think we were the problem, you know, he actually thought the problem was elsewhere and then looking abroad, he always held up the banner of freedom, and always held up the banner of America, whether it was Nicaragua, whether it was China, whether it was the Soviet Union and boy was the Soviet Union...
How many stories are there from the Reagan era about how about Shiransky hearing the tap, you know Reagan is President, things are going to change, we knew change was going to come.
Under Reagan, the U.S. waged a proxy war in Nicaragua against a lawfully elected President of that country -- Daniel Ortega -- with CIA resources. In fact, CIA director Stansfield Turner characterized our policy in Nicaragua as "state-sponsored terrorism". It isn't an especially proud moment in our history, and with the whole Iran-Contra scandal it's especially odious and ugly. But listen to the amazing rewrite Bill Bennett gives it. He makes it sound like every political prisoner everywhere perked right up when Reagan took office and knew -- KNEW -- that they would be released.
And of course, Hannity and Bennett have no problem repeating the lie that our current President thinks we're lazy, which is of course not at all what he said.
So how many lies is that? Well, it's as many as they could fit into a very short time, while waving the Saint Ronnie flag in its fully furled glory. And their audience probably wept at the memory of that sainted man who led our country into the financial ruin it is today.