Facts are stupid things


Thanks to the holiday and the altered work schedule, I got to see Sunday's "60 Minutes" and its report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Most of it was actually fairly predictable, but it was hard to ignore this moment near the end:

In what was overall a pretty softball interview with Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, there was one pretty telling moment to illustrate the type of toxic political environment we're living in, due primarily to Congressional leaders like Eric Cantor and that is the unwillingness to even admit facts.

When asked about his image of being someone who is unwilling to compromise and the fact that the man he claims is his hero, Ronald Reagan, was willing to compromise on taxes and work with Democrats, Cantor denied that Reagan ever "compromised his principles." When Leslie Stahl pointed out the obvious, that not raising taxes was one of his principles, Cantor's press secretary interrupted the interview, yelling from off camera that what Stahl was saying wasn't true.

The moment had all the qualities of a 9-year-old boy protesting the existence of the Easter Bunny. The reality, of course, is that Reagan, by the most accurate accounting, raised taxes 11 times as president; he did. of course, slash top marginal rate for the wealthy, but in particular his deal to RAISE payroll taxes for Social Security, a non-progressive tax cut if there ever was one, meant that a typical blue collar worker paid more of his income to the government after Reagan left office than before he came in. This is what the modern GOP has come to. It's one thing, arguably, to dispute the widely accepted science on global warming -- at least in that case there's something to debate, however weakly. But now GOP officials -- not the rank and file voters but the House Majority Leader and his press spokesman -- dispute known facts and figures in cold type. For the love of God, tear down this myth.