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Debate shows lying like breathing to Edwards
We already know from last week that, as surely as the sun rises in the east, Republican gubernatorial candidate Sen. David Vitter whoops up on his head-shaking Democrat opponent state Rep. John Bel Edwards in debates. Tonight, it’s not so important that Vitter went Holly Holm on Edwards’ Ronda Rousey in forensics as typically understood, but that Edwards displays an alternative set of forensic abilities that allows him to tell tall tales without a hint that he acts aberrantly.
While Edwards obfuscated, misdirected, distorted, and lied throughout the hour-long affair, his biggest departures from the facts occurred early in the affair, and showed his considerable range in torturing reality. Right off the bat, on a question addressing Syrian refugees, Vitter gigged Edwards on the shifting sand under the latter’s position, pointing out that in Facebook posts Edwards first enunciated a policy to “accommodate” federal government plans to resettle refugees, then changed it to the more independent-sounding “assist,” and finally issued a statement that he would do neither and wanted those resettlement plans to stop.
Brazening it out, Edwards denied that he had changed his mind, but problematically for him the enterprising website The Hayride busted him hours earlier on that. Of course, he likely figured the typical viewer probably had no knowledge of his record on this so he could get away with it.
Shortly thereafter, in a question about policy differences between the candidates, Edwards repeated what become his biggest whopper of the campaign, that by not expanding Medicaid the state forfeits $1.6 billion a year in taxes from its citizenry, implying these bucks would be returned here. As explained before, that is an outright fabrication: regardless of whether Louisiana expands it, it is other states’ decisions to expand that causes that extraction independently of any decision in the Bayou State, and none of the money would come back with expansion. Shamefully, the mainstream media continue, through ignorance or willfulness, to allow his to repeat this lie without calling him on it.
He alluded again to that falsehood not long after, in a question about whether forging a balanced budget would require tax increases, to which he said he had not and would not do any such thing. When it was pointed out that Edwards had supported a few hundred million dollars in tax increases this past session alone through the paring of tax exceptions, he declared that what he voted for only concerned “giveaways” to business.
That may come as a surprise to businesses, as a result of the successful vote of Edwards as part of majorities in both the House and Senate for HCR 8 that suspended the exemption of one cent of the four in utilities taxes paid by businesses for about a year. Pure and simple, it raises sales taxes on business; pure and simple, Edwards lied that he had not, with many other legislators, voted to raise taxes.
This transitioned into questions and answers about revenue generation by shedding tax exceptions, where Edwards insisted that as governor he would emulate the strategy of the spring by getting rid of unproductive exceptions. Except, of course, he, with the Legislature, did no such thing: the cuts they made were arbitrary and indiscriminant, with no effort to conduct cost-benefit analyses, just their lopping off portions they felt large enough to support the amount they wished to spend, constituting yet another Edwards fib.
Other smaller departures from the truth occurred, but you get the picture. It all remains consistent with the deceptive campaign run by the House minority leader, where he tries to present himself as something other than what he is in order to gloss over his hard left voting record and thereby fool people into thinking his policy preferences going forward would have him advocate any differently. (And he even might have exaggerated on his military service in order to make himself seem more valorous to voters.)
To those knowledgeable about politics, the debate clearly showed Edwards had a very shaky performance. But of the few who viewed it, far fewer are that knowledgeable about Louisiana politics, and the mainstream media certainly will not convey to the small attentive audience the necessary context to make Edwards’ mendacity obvious. Edwards insists to voters that he never will forfeit their trust, yet by his own words gives the electorate every reason to expect the opposite.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 20:15