When Does Democracy Die?

My biggest problem with McCain and Palin is that they have unleashed a storm of lies that have gummed up the democratic process. They are running their campaign on Bush’s same cynical premise, namely if they lie over and over again to a press that risks getting kicked out of the game for calling them on it, they can get away with it and convince the electorate that their lies are the truth. It worked in 2000. It worked in 2004. And I worry that it is working again in 2008. If people think McCain/Palin will be different than Bush/Cheney, this is some pretty strong evidence to the contrary.

Hunter over Daily Kos questions the kind of thinking that will force a win at any cost the way the Republicans do.

Then what do we have elections for? If I can simply stand up and say “so-and-so’s tax policy will cost you all one million dollars each,” when it won’t, or “so-and-so is a supporter of infanticide,” when he isn’t, or “so-and-so wants to show your children dirty pictures,” when it’s not true, or “I was against this bad thing” when we’ve got freakin’ film of you supporting it — what’s the point? It is impossible to have a democracy without informed voters, and it is impossible to have informed voters when you are going out of your way to lie to them.

…If we welcome open, direct lies into our political discourse, it’s not political discourse anymore — just the oratorical equivalent of an organized crime ring. McCain knows he can lie through his teeth and almost nobody will truly call him out on it — at least, not compared to all the people who will hear the lie. That’s been the strategy for every election involving the old Nixonites, from then until now, and there’s no chance it’s going to go away until there is a price to be paid for being a nationally televised liar. So when’s that going to be?

So when does a democracy officially die? At what point are the barriers to an informed electorate too great for a true election to occur?

Fortunately Obama isn’t afraid to call them on a lie. I really need to see him do this (From CNN):

“Spare me the phony outrage. Spare me the phony talk about change,” Obama said at the start of an education event in Norfolk, Virginia.

“We have real problems in this country right now. The American people are looking to us for answers, not distractions, not diversions, not manipulations. They want real answers to the real problems we are facing.

“I don’t care what they say about me. But I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics. Enough is enough,” he said, referring to how Swift Boat Veterans for Truth launched attacks against Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race.

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