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Daily Howler: John McCain just won't stop lying. When will your brave ''spokesmen'' make him?
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SENATOR BULLROAR WON’T STOP! John McCain just won’t stop lying. When will your brave “spokesmen” make him? // link // print // previous // next //

SENATOR BULLROAR WON’T STOP: Senator Bullroar (sorry—John McCain) just won’t stop his public lying about the Social Security program. Yesterday, the press corps darling appeared with George Bush at an Albuquerque town hall event. In this morning’s Washington Post, Michael Fletcher records Bullroar’s misconduct:
FLETCHER (3/23/05): McCain also challenged opponents of Bush's plan, including the advocacy group AARP, to enter negotiations on Social Security. He said they are recklessly minimizing the fiscal problems looming for the nation's retirement system.

"Some of our friends, who are opposing this idea, say, 'Oh, you don't have to worry until 2042.' We wait until 2042, when we stop paying people Social Security?" he asked.

As Fletcher and McCain know perfectly well, there is no projection under which we will “stop paying people Social Security” in the year 2042. According to the SS trustees, the system’s trust fund will finally be exhausted that year, after which we will be able to pay 73 percent of promised benefits. (The CBO says the trust fund will last until 2052, with 78 percent payment to follow.) Yes, even the endlessly misinformed McCain surely knew that yesterday’s statement was false. But then, he’s been making baldly false statements for months as he discusses Social Security. Senator Bullroar, the press corps’ darling, refuses to rein in this conduct.

And because this great man is a great press corps darling, the press corps just won’t make him stop. This morning, Fletcher doesn’t bat an eye as he types up Bullroar’s misstatement; nowhere are the Post’s readers told that McCain’s statement is blatantly bogus. Nor will other reporters flag the great man’s groaning misstatements. In today’s New York Times, for example, Anne Kornblut reports the Bush-McCain event. She saw McCain make this blatant misstatement—but she doesn’t mention it in her piece. Under current rules, it’s OK to lie in the public’s face—if your name is George Bush or John McCain.

Readers, this has gone on for so long with McCain that we think it’s time for your brave “liberal spokesmen” to stop it! And so, this morning, we directly address the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne. Dionne, a well-known fiery liberal, recently praised Senator Flim-Flam (sorry—Chuck Hagel) as “brave” and “forthright”—even as Hagel presented misleading statements about SS that were almost comical in their absurdity (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/9/05). So E. J., it’s time to be a real man! Why don’t you stand up for once and insist that McCain stop his repeated, bald-faced misstatements? You pimped for Hagel two weeks ago. Why don’t you stop wasting time with the clownish Wonkette and tell your darling, Senator Bullroar, to stop his grotesque public lying?

SENATOR BULLROAR IN ACTION: How big a fake is John McCain? As you read his fuller remarks, just remember—this is what happens to public men who are pandered to by your “liberal spokesmen.” Try to believe Bullroar said it:

MCCAIN (3/22/05): I'd like to give a little straight talk here.

One, working Americans will not see the same benefits that retired Americans are experiencing today under this present system. Fact.

The other salient facts are that we must fix the issue sooner or later. The longer we wait, the more draconian the remedies will have to be.

Some of our friends who are opposing this idea say, "Oh, you don't have to worry until 2042." We wait until 2042 when we stop paying people Social Security? That's not what this is all about.

I want to say to our friends in AARP, and they are my friends in AARP: "Come to the table with us." We not only have an obligation to seniors, but we have an obligation to future generations of Americans as well.


Laughable, isn’t it? After saying he’d “like to give a little straight talk,” Bullroar proceeded to treat that crowd like a gang of dime-store rubes. It is not a “fact” that future benefits have to be cut. Nor are any of McCain’s “friends” saying we should wait until 2042 to adjust the current system. And no, we won’t “stop paying people Social Security” in 2042; that statement is a total deception. Why did New Mexico’s voters applaud? They believed they were getting a bit of “straight talk”—but Bullroar was lying again, right in their faces. Isn’t it time for your brave “liberal spokesmen” to stand up and say that this simply must stop? And isn’t it time for fiery liberals on the web—Kevin Drum, let us say—to insist that Dionne fight this battle?

TIMID WITH BULLROAR: Note the keister-covering way the AP dealt with Bullroar’s misstatement. Deb Riechmann covered the Albuquerque event. Timidly, she semi-suggested that Bullroar had lied to that crowd:

RIECHMANN (3/22/05): Republican Sen. John McCain, sitting alongside President Bush at a Social Security event here Tuesday, threw a few punches at those he says are blocking change.

McCain took a jab at AARP, the lobby for older citizens, which has been buying television and newspaper advertisements in cities Bush is visiting to oppose his idea to let younger workers divert some of their payroll taxes into private investment accounts

"Some of our friends, who are opposing this idea, say, 'Oh, you don't have to worry until 2042.' We wait until 2042 when we stop paying people Social Security?" the Arizona Republican asked rhetorically at the Social Security event here.

The Social Security trustees have said 2042 is the year when the trust fund will be empty and the program will have only annual payroll taxes to pay benefits.

How daring! You could almost tell from that highlighted paragraph that Bullroar had misstated simple facts. Deftly, Riechmann semi-corrected what Bullroar said, without making her semi-correction too obvious. Indeed, the average reader could even peruse her semi-correction without knowing a correction had semi-occurred! But at least the AP outdid the Post, where Fletcher didn’t even feel the need to stage this type of pretense.

Reichmann also did her readers the courtesy of quoting the AARP. “John Rother, policy director for AARP, says his organization does not want to wait until 2042,” she wrote, addressing another Bullroar misstatement. At the Post, though, Fletcher didn’t bother. Because they’re such fiery “liberal spokesmen,” we’re fairly sure that Drum and Dionne will want to rise up and oppose this.

FRUSTRATION, WASHINGTON STYLE: This past Sunday, Senator Bullroar appeared on This Week, interviewed by George Stephanopoulos. But how frustrating! Because McCain wasn’t present in the studio, Stephanopoulos couldn’t work as he normally would; he couldn’t stand behind McCain, massaging his shoulders, as he gave his “straight-talking” answers. To recall Stephanopoulos’ fawning conduct with Bullroar last month, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/9/05.

SCRIBE ON THE RISE: Jennifer Loven also filed an AP report from the town hall event. Like Fletcher, she quoted McCain’s misstatements, but made no attempt to address them. Note the way she pandered to Bullroar. Jennifer Loven is a scribe on the rise:

LOVEN (3/22/05): He also aimed some of his "straight talk" at AARP, the powerful lobby for older citizens that opposes Bush's plan to allow younger workers to divert a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal accounts that could be invested in the stock market in trade for reduced guaranteed benefits.
Good girl! Performing just like Stephanopoulos before her, Loven worked McCain’s “straight talk” slogan into her report—while failing to let her readers know that Bullroar was lying. As usual.

McCain misled those voters—and Loven pimped for him. Human nature being what it is, we’re fairly sure that your “liberal spokesmen” will want to address these events.