Making a misstatement of fact once can rightly be called a mistake. Making a series of misstatements over and over again and rolling them into national ads can only be considered lies, and perhaps a Big Lie propaganda strategy at that. The DNC and its chair, Howard Dean, apparently have no other choice to lie about John McCain despite numerous corrections in the media and elsewhere. Fact Check looks at the lies and the bad math in its assessment of the latest ads from the Democrats.
First, Fact Check scolds the DNC for continuing to use its “100 years of war” lie against McCain, even though Fact Check already debunked that claim two months ago:
It’s one thing to argue, as Dean does, that McCain’s position is a recipe for continued violence and bloodshed, whatever his stated intent. But it is another thing to misrepresent that intent. The ad twists the sense of McCain’s words by showing images of war, when he was really talking about a peaceful troop presence. Imagine how different the ad would seem if it showed images of, say, American troops walking the streets of Tokyo or Seoul and had included what McCain said about “Americans … not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”
Anyone who didn’t already know the fuller version of McCain’s answer could easily be fooled into thinking that McCain would be perfectly happy to see the war continue. McCain has said quite clearly that he considers Democratic proposals for a quick withdrawal from Iraq to be “surrender,” and so deadly fighting could well continue longer under a President McCain than under either a President Hillary Clinton or a President Obama. But what the DNC ad conveys is the opposite of what McCain said.
Next, Fact Check shows the Democrats continuing to misrepresent McCain’s remarks on the economy:
Nevertheless, two of the DNC’s factual claims are untrue. … While McCain says “a lot of jobs have been created,” the ad shows a graphic that states, “1.8 million jobs lost.” McCain is correct and the ad is wrong. Total nonfarm employment was nearly 5.4 million higher last month than it was when President Bush took office in January 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the standard measure of jobs, and it means 5.4 million have been created.
The DNC defends its claim of “jobs lost” by pointing to the total number of persons who were without jobs in March. That figure is 1.8 million higher than it was when Bush was sworn in. But it doesn’t mean that many jobs were lost, it means that the job gain didn’t keep pace with the number of persons who are seeking work. The ad would have been correct to say that there are “1.8 million more unemployed.” That stark statistic doesn’t contradict McCain’s statement that lots of jobs were created, however. It means not enough were created to satisfy the need.
The ads contain even more deception, although milder. It claims that gas prices have gone up 200% since Bush took office. That would only be true if Bush took office in December 2001, when gas prices dropped to $1.11 per gallon. The price in January 2001 was $1.47 per gallon, which makes the increase 139%. And one has to ask why the price went up. The war certainly had something to do with it, but most of that increase came years after the invasion of Iraq. Congress has blocked new drilling and has not expedited the building of new refineries in the US, which Bush has advocated during his entire presidency — so whose fault are higher gas prices?
They also complain that unemployment is “up”. Unemployment has risen to 5.1%, but that hardly qualifies as high. It beats the average American unemployment since 1948, which is 5.6%. Coincidentally, that was the same unemployment level in the US in 1996, when Democrats described it as “low” during Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign.
So why does Howard Dean lie? He lies because he has nothing else to use against John McCain, at least not from a hard-Left perspective. The Democrats have painted themselves into a corner with two terrible candidates, who have busied themselves with tearing each other apart. He needs a distraction, and since Dean apparently feels that Democratic policies are losers, he has to resort to cheap, transparent distortions and lies instead.
That should signal the American electorate as to which party has the necessary leadership to succeed, and which has a well-earned inferiority complex.