My relatives are an unending source of right-wing political smear propaganda. Not that they generate it, but they do forward it from their inboxes with disturbing frequency. Many are just crude jokes and cheap shots, but others bear a bit more scrutiny. They appear as possibly legitimate policy issues, which have been spun almost out of control. I’m always curious in these cases what the actual truth buried behind the outrage is. And so it came that I received the following email this past week (headers removed to protect the guilty):
Is this as bad as it sounds? Tried finding more information, but details are hard to come by or I don’t know what to look for.
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: FW: YOU LIE!
This is absolutely outrageous. I tried searching SNOPES and found nothing on there to indicate this was a hoax so I copied and pasted this clip to my elected officials in the senate and legislator and asked if they could explain how something like this can even be proposed and what it’s status is. I would encourage you if you are just as outraged to do the same. Here’s the link to the officials:
——– Forwarded Message ——–
If you like this policy, keep voting for Democrats. They are destroying this country. It won’t be worth shit when they’re done.
——– Forwarded Message ——–
Frightening and a travesty.
HOPE EVERYONE LIKES THEIR NEW PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS. THIS IS FROM CNN IN CASE YOU DONT WANT TO BELIEVE IT. IF YOU DONT CONTACT YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATORS YOU WILL BE PAYING FOR THIS ALONG WITH THE PROJECTED 2 TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT IN THIS NEXT BUDGET.
REALLY LIKE THE FREE PASS TO 30,OOO KNOWN GANG MEMBERS???? NO BACK TAXES. EVERYONE ELSE WHO WAS WAITING LEGALLY IS NOW TOLD STAY OUT WHILE WE TAKE THESE IN.
What the heck are they thinking…..View this and forward it to everyone you know! This should.but may not -raise your ire!!
THIS GIVES NEW MEANING TO THE RESPONSE “YOU LIE~!”
EVERYONE–PLEASE TAKE TIME TO LISTEN TO THIS–IT TELLS ABOUT THE BILL GOING THRU CONGRESS RIGHT NOW REGARDING IMMIGRATION.
EVEN CNN IS GETTING UPSET ABOUT THIS!!!!!!!!!!
Pass this on after you watch it. NOTICE THAT THIS IS FROM CNN, NOT FOX!!!
This from CNN news: http://d.yimg.com/kq/groups/17260182/1610997888/name/ftc-vi26.wmv
This 2-minute video should be mandatory viewing for every US citizen. If you have never passed anything on before, pass this on! Every American should be outraged!
The linked video generating the outrage that was clearly propagating unabated through several generations of forwarded messages is an excerpt from CNN’s Lou Dobbs show. Below is my response to the sane person who had the presence of mind to ask me if this was as bad as it sounded before sending it on.
The short answer is, “No”. The longer answer is, “Oh fer cryin’ in yer beer!” This was not straightforward to find the facts on though. So it was kind of an interesting hunt. Thanks.
I was suspicious about the timing of the clip because I haven’t heard anything about an immigration reform bill before Congress. It seems legislation like this would be making the rounds of more than just the right-wing email circuit. If you read the ticker at the bottom of the broadcast, you’ll see a crawl about Monica Gooding’s testimony before Congress that day. It turns out that she testified on 5/23/07, so that makes this program episode over two years old. This minimally means the forwarder who is trying to pin this on Obama has a few time line issues to resolve.
But what about the bill? Regardless of who was President, was it really this bad? The timing makes the bill in question the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. And while the bill was controversial, let’s keep in mind that this is Lou Dobbs we’re talking about here. He has a long track record of running fast and loose with facts on immigration. Amy Goodman does a nice job of calling him out on some of his fabrications in this interview. Or if you’ve got an evening to kill just Google “fact checking Lou Dobbs“. Either way, the point is moot as the bill died without ever coming to a full vote back in June, 2007.
To those who have already written to all their elected officials expressing their outrage, I’m sure your legislators will be appreciative of your timely feedback. In some cases, they will probably have to forward your comments to their predecessor, but hey, better late than never.
But what about the Democrats in Congress. The Dems took over Congress in 2007 so we can still pin all these crazy ideas on them right? Not so much. The bill was introduced in the Senate which was ceded to the Democrats by a very narrow margin in 2007, but still far short of the 60 vote majority needed to pass unilateral legislation. Further, while the Bill was sponsored by Harry Reid (D), the content was heavily based on three former bills. One by Ted Kennedy (D) and John McCain (R), another by John Cornyn (R) and Jon Kyl (R), and a third by Arlen Specter, who was still in the GOP at that time. Lindsay Graham (R) and President Bush also contributed heavily to the bill and all of the above supported it. For completeness, Dianne Feinstein (D), Mel Martinez (R), and Ken Salazar (D) also publicly supported the bill. So while a few Democrats had their hands in it, it had some significant GOP authorship and backing, including the support both of the GOP’s current and would-be President.
So while I suppose there’s still some room to disagree about whether or not Democrats are destroying the country, they clearly aren’t doing it with this legislation. While it’s not surprising the Conservative Conspiracy Machine cranked out another scary story, it is more than a little comical that the perpetrators of the “horror” in this case are actually the GOP itself.