Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When Fact-Checkers Cave

Politifact, the organization that checks statements by politicians and parties for their veracity, has labeled the Democrats’ claim that the Republicans voted to end Medicare as the Lie of the Year.


Their defense is that the GOP plan is to take the current plan and replace it with a voucher plan so that seniors could buy private insurance. If the insurance costs more than the voucher is worth, well, too bad. But it would still be called “Medicare” so, according to Politifact, it’s the same thing and therefore the Democrats saying it’s the end of the program is a big fat lie.

John Cole has a pretty good analogy.

America turns off the lights, goes to bed, leaving their Mercedes in the driveway. While we sleep, the Republicans sneak into the car, drive it off, and sell it, but they keep the Mercedes hood ornament. They then split the proceeds between their rich buddies, and go out and find a Ford Pinto up on cinderblocks in a field, with the grass growing through the floorboard. They place that in the driveway, cleverly glue the Mercedes ornament onto the front of the Pinto, and sneak off into the night. The next morning, America and Democrats are screaming “What the hell happened to my car.” Republicans say “What are you talking about, there is your Mercedes right there, we just modernized it and fixed it up a bit for long-term financial stability,” and point at the Pinto.

Then, the rocket scientists at Politifact drive by to take a non-partisan look at things, see the Mercedes symbol on the front of the car, and tell us all we’re lying about the Republicans stealing our Mercedes.

Here’s the funny thing… if Politifact read that excuse from a candidate or a political party, they’d probably rate it as Pants on Fire themselves.

HT to Steve Benen.