The Right Wing

25 Facts Right-Wingers Desperately Want Us to Forget

There’s a word for willful ignorance: Ultracrepidarianism.

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How quickly facts are forgotten—or drowned out—in today’s political echo chambers. There’s a word for this fact-averse facet of the current political landscape. “Ultracrepidarianism” is the habit of giving opinions on matters outside one’s knowledge. Stephen Colbert’s satires on “Truthiness” illustrate the rising tide of crepidarianism driven by a toxic blend of mixed-up facts and opinions from today’s propagandists.

Now that we have named the disease, we have to point to the cure: the facts. Here are 25 facts that right-wingers often forget, overlook, omit or ignore.

1. Dick Cheney shot another feller in the face with a gun. By mistake.

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2. At the conclusion of George W. Bush’s term, the United States economy was losing 750,000 jobs per month.

3. During the last months of George Bush’s second term, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was initiated to save banks and Wall Street from collapse.

4. A national universal healthcare plan based on an individual mandate to obtain coverage was advocated by the Heritage Foundation in 1992 and was the subject of bills introduced by Republican senators in 1994.

5. Barack Hussein Obama looks different from our previous presidents.

6. George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election only after suing the state of Florida to stop counting votes. (Independent recounts after the election by media organizations found that Gore had more votes.)

7. Several U.S. Supreme Court justices known for their devotion to states’ rights inexplicably abandoned those principles, and voted to stop Florida’s vote counting. Two of these justices had been appointed by W’s daddy.

8. After the second plane hit the World Trade Center tower on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush sat in a classroom in Florida reading a children’s book, The Pet Goat, to schoolchildren for seven minutes.

9. Senator Barack Obama opposed our invasion of Iraq in 2002.

10. Iraq didn’t attack the World Trade Center.

11. The Iraq war cost $815 billion and is still growing; 4,489 American soldiers have been killed; 50,000 American soldiers have been wounded, and upwards of 600,000 Iraqi civilian have died.

12. Barack Obama won the presidential election in 2008.

13. John McCain finished 894th in a class of 899 at the U.S. Naval Academy.

14. Sara Palin graduated from North Idaho College, a community college, after transferring to two other schools in Hawaii.

15. Joe Biden has not yet shot another feller in the face with a gun. At all.

16. Obama won the 2012 presidential election after a healthy debate about Obamacare.

17. Mitt Romney had served as governor of Massachusetts when a state-wide healthcare program was instituted imposing an individual mandate requiring an insurance plan.

18. At the conclusion of President Bush’s second term, the American tax burden was lower than it had been since at least the late 1970s.

19. U.S. military spending accounts for 4.4 percent of the nation’s economy (GNP).

20. Healthcare spending accounts for 17.3 percent of the nation’s economy (GNP).

21. Both Democrats and Republicans alike have long believed that healthcare is essential to any effort to reform the American economy.

22. Republicans recently agreed with Democrats to pass a clean continuing resolution to fund ongoing government operations, based on the Democrats’ agreement to agree to continued spending cuts known as sequestration.

23. Republicans, influenced by Ted Cruz and Tea Party extremists, changed their minds about this, and shut the government down when Democrats refused to renegotiate the deal John Boehner and Harry Reid agreed on earlier in the year.

24. Obamacare aka the Affordable Care Act was passed by the House on March 21, 2010 and signed into law by the president two days later.

25. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of Obamacare on June 28, 2012.

Juries are presented with testimony, actual evidence, before they render verdicts. Some citizens impose similar discipline on themselves by researching facts in spin-free zones, or sampling a spectrum of sources, before volunteering opinions.

Many on the political right don’t, unfortunately. They simply filter their media to fortify their biases, and re-state anecdotes and political talking points as if they were facts. Just look at what’s proclaimed about healthcare, the economy, the Constitution, and more.

Talk radio and Google University has conferred the trappings of expertise on anyone who has a laptop and combative personality, and paper-thin opinions on complex topics fill Facebook, spam e-mails, and the web.

But that kind of outrage can only be sustained for so long. And when the dust settles, what remains and endures are facts—where the more accurate and informed conversation should have started from all along.

P. Scott Russell is an attorney practicing law in Jacksonville, Florida.