Letter: The Fact-Challenged GOP

To the Editor:

You know the old joke, don’t you? Question: “Why did the producers of Dragnet interview only Democrats for the lead role?” Answer: “Because Sgt. Friday wants the facts.”

Everybody has noticed that Republicans are fact-challenged. In his response to the State of the Union address, Sen. Marco Rubio said that President Obama had offered nothing specific on cuts to Medicare — one-half hour after the president had said that he was willing to make the cuts recommended by the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Obama hadn’t made his offer behind closed doors, but in a speech to both houses of Congress and before a TV audience of millions — but Rubio still pretended it hadn’t happened. And you probably know that when the North Carolina Legislature ordered a study of the future of the Outer Banks, Republican members stipulated that the words “climate change” could not be employed in the report.

We’ve all seen Republican politicians extol the free-enterprise system as the source of our prosperity, but they conveniently forget that while free enterprise created the Carnegies and Rockefellers, it took organized labor and New Deal reforms to spread the wealth to the middle class. And Republicans claim that government employment programs don’t do any good, ignoring the fact that the Depression was ended by the greatest public works program of all time: World War II. And don’t forget Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s surprise announcement that the bodies of women who are “legitimately” raped have a way of avoiding conception.

This all really would be a joke if the consequences weren’t so serious. Republicans can pretend to believe that women who seek abortions can’t “really” have been raped, or their bodies would have taken care of the problem. These self-deceptions give Republicans the excuses they need to refuse to take necessary action. And if voters don’t realize that government programs actually work, they can continue to elect people who oppose them.

But we need better government than what Republicans offer. We can’t solve our problems unless, like Sgt. Friday, we face the facts.

Steve Rounds