Mitt Romney's aides explained with unusual political bluntness today why they are spending heavily — and ignoring media criticism — to air an ad accusing President Barack Obama of "gutting" the work requirement for welfare, a marginal political issue since the mid-1990s that Romney pushed back to center stage.
"Our most effective ad is our welfare ad," a top television advertising strategist for Romney, Ashley O'Connor, said at a forum Tuesday hosted by ABCNews and Yahoo! News. "It's new information."
The welfare ad has been the center of intense dispute, with Democrats accusing Romney of unearthing old racial ghosts and Romney pointing out that the Obama Administration has offered states waivers that could, in fact, lighten work requirements in welfare, a central issue in Bill Clinton's 1996 revamping of public assistance.
The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" awarded Romney's ad "four Pinocchios," a measure Romney pollster Neil Newhouse dismissed.
"Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers," he said. The fact-checkers — whose institutional rise has been a feature of the cycle — have "jumped the shark," he added after the panel.
So now finally we have seen the battle lines for this election drawn. Those who rely on facts and information to make their choices, and those who actively ignore the facts and instead rely on the blind faith that their point of view is correct.
THOSE are now the two sides facing off against each other in 2012.
You know I have been beating the drum about the dangers of accepting things on faith alone for years now. It has often been an unpopular stance to take, and I have certainly taken my lumps over it, but THIS is what I have been predicting all along.
The ONLY way that a party can garner support when the facts simply do not support their positions, be it climate change, the necessity for war, or the idea that cutting taxes for the wealthy benefits the country as a whole, is to make "facts" the enemy and to pander to their supporter's fundamental desire to believe that the filter through which they view the world reveals to them the REAL "truth," regardless of what facts and information might indicate to the contrary.
The place where the Republicans found fertile ground to plant those seeds was in the Fundamentalist churches all across this country, from there the tendrils of ignorance have now spread to infect many other religions institutions as well.
So now we are faced with a party seemingly made up exclusively of evolution and global warming deniers, who believe that America is the last bastion of Christianity, and who are actively preparing for the coming of the End Times.
Well played GOP.
In the words of William Harwood:
“The difference between faith and insanity is that faith is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence, whereas insanity is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence.”
Apparently the Republicans recognized this, and knew exactly how best to take advantage of it.