Do Republicans Believe Their Own Lies?

In early 2010, Republican Scott Brown unexpectedly won a special election for a Senate seat in Massachusetts. Even though this put passage of Obamacare in mortal danger, President Obama urged Congress not to move ahead until Brown had been seated. They didn’t. Now, Democrats are urging Republicans to play equally fair and not move ahead with their tax bill until Doug Jones is seated following his win in the Alabama special election. Donald Trump isn’t buying the comparison:

A White House official told CNN on Wednesday that the Brown example is different because Democrats passed health care in 2010 using a process that allowed them to do so with only a 50-vote majority — at the time, they had more than 50 Democrats — rendering Brown’s vote less critical.

The truth is just the opposite. The Senate passed Obamacare under regular order, which meant Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome Republican filibusters. With the election of Brown, their majority was reduced to 59 votes, which means that Brown’s election was more critical than Jones’s.

But here’s the question: was this just a garden variety lie, or does the anonymous official really believe what he said? The reason I ask is that Republicans have been telling the story of Democrats “jamming” Obamacare down their throats using tricky parliamentary procedures for so long that, as near as I can tell, most of them believe it these days. Even though it was only seven years ago, this story has been repeated so often they’ve literally forgotten that it’s not true. But it’s not. After Obamacare was passed normally by both House and Senate, it was only a small “sidecar” that was added under reconciliation procedures that required 50 votes. But the sidecar was optional. Even without it, the vast bulk of Obamacare had already passed.

So: was the White House flack lying, or is he just another Republican who’s come to sincerely believe his own lies? Hard to say. So here’s another question: Why would CNN pass this quote along without explaining that it’s wrong? That’s also hard to say.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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