From Joe Biden announcing he chooses “truth over facts” and Congresswoman AOC more concerned about being “morally right,” their frustration with President Donald Trump is making Democratic Party luminaries run afoul of reality.
Rallying the electorate at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday, Biden – the current front-runner for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2020 – proudly exclaimed his party’s positions: “We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts!”
While this could be explained away as yet another unfortunate senior moment for Biden – who on the same day triggered mass facepalming with his declaration that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” – it’s not the first problematic pronouncement by prominent Democrats as of late.
Take for example Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), a 29-year-old socialist with a media profile vastly disproportionate to her policy-making experience.
In a ‘60 Minutes’ interview with Anderson Cooper earlier this year, Ocasio-Cortez was grilled over her claim that accounting errors at the Pentagon worth $21 trillion could have almost fully funded a universal healthcare program – when the total budget of the US Department of Defense over the past two decades amounted to half that sum.
“There’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” Ocasio-Cortez responded.
“But being factually correct is important,” Cooper pressed.
“It’s absolutely important… But it’s – it’s not the same thing as – as the president lying about immigrants. It’s not the same thing at all,” she shot back.
Would that mean that lies are okay so long as the liar is on the “right side of history,” as Democrats often describe themselves?
It isn’t just far-left Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez who disdain facts in favor of “moral” truths, either. Even the party’s old guard are embracing postmodern, post-truth politics. In January, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi interrupted a presentation from then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on border crime statistics by exclaiming “I reject your facts!”
“These aren’t my facts,” Nielsen replied.”They’re the facts.”
Pelosi didn’t reject Nielsen’s border statistics themselves. She could have screamed until she was blue in the face, but that wouldn’t have changed the fact that 400,000 people were arrested crossing the US-Mexico border in 2018, a 100,000 increase over the previous year. What she was rejecting was the idea that this could in any way bolster President Trump’s argument for a border wall.
This is the same Democratic leader who vowed to “follow the facts” – as long as they lead to Trump’s impeachment. When it comes to the border, though, she threw facts overboard and called Trump a “racist” instead, repeatedly, in the months afterwards.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation debacle last year is another good illustration of truth being used as a political football. Revealed by Democrats at the eleventh hour, Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s threatened to derail the judge’s confirmation entirely.
Amid public protest and the outpouring of #BelieveAllWomen hashtags, Democratic lawmakers gushingly praised Ford for coming forward and telling “her truth.”
“I don’t know how any Republican watching this testimony could vote for Brett Kavanaugh after what she said,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) told CNN. “Her honesty, her integrity, her truth, it’s obvious.”
Kirsten Gillibrand RIPS GOP ON #KavanaughHearings
“I don’t know how any Republican watching this testimony could possibly vote for Brett Kavanaugh after what she said. Not only her honesty, her integrity, her truth. It’s obvious,”pic.twitter.com/aJGFj7tIYg
— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) September 27, 2018
Ford was “preparing mentally to embrace her truth,” her sister-in-law told reporters before the hearing. During the testimony, Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) used the same line, referring to Ford’s allegations as “her truth.” So did California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who was the original conduit for Ford’s allegations.
There was no “her truth” in the end, as Ford’s testimony was ultimately found to be unverifiable, and Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Facts don’t care about anyone’s feelings. The truth is undemocratic, immune to human subjectivity, and independent of political bias.
None of this is to say that Democrats lie more than Republicans. But it used to be that politicians would at least try and convince you that their version of events is factually correct. They didn’t use to ask people to suspend their belief in facts altogether and indulge their tale because that’s the “morally right” thing to do.
By Graham Dockery
Graham Dockery is a journalist based in Ireland.
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