That covers the main points, and I encourage you to seek out more detailed information by following the links. But before you charge out there and show off your newfound knowledge, here’s a quick note about the tactics you’re likely to encounter from the other side: They’ll find something in writing that supports their position — a study by liberal academics, a column by a liberal pundit, a report by a liberal fact-checking outfit, whatever — and latch onto it. They’ll latch onto to it whether or not it has any credibility. (Remember those viral charts that “proved” President Obama increased spending more slowly than any modern president? April Fool’s!) And, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there are strong arguments and scholarship on the other side, they will condemn with the harshest of invective the liars, imbeciles and flat-earthers who refuse to accept the “proven” facts. They will behave as if shrieking, name-calling and personal attacks somehow make their arguments more logical.
Take, for example, Bob Cesca’s recent piece in the Huffington Post (“Debunking Romney’s Viral Medicare Lie”). “The Romney campaign appears to be engaged in a pattern that involves creating and spreading a new and colossal Lie of the Week,” hyperventilates Cesca. He then goes on to denounce “right-wing apparatchik and Sarah Palin fanboy Rich Lowry,” “RNC Chairman and Star Wars Cantina Alien Reince Priebus,” and other evil-doers for spreading not just lies, but “massive” lies — indeed, “crap-on-a-stick” lies — and for “infect[ing] the discourse like the Ebola virus.” For some on the left, hysterical rhetoric is the magical putty that can fill any hole in one’s logical argument. If you scream it, it must be true.
In preparing this guide, I have relied upon the work of think tanks such as Cato, AEI and Heritage. I have also borrowed heavily from Avik Roy, who, in addition to being an outside adviser to the Romney campaign (which must make him a “massive liar” in the eyes of some Obama supporters), is a health care investment analyst and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Bob Cesca’s expertise, on the other hand, apparently derives from his work as a “media poroducer” and “host of the Bob & Chez Show.”
Now that you’re armed with the truth, you are ready to confidently venture into the fray. Now, go out there and comfort Grandma!
David B. Cohen served in the administration of President George W. Bush as U.S. Representative to the Pacific Community, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He is the author of Left-Hearted, Right-Minded: Why Conservative Policies Are The Best Way To Achieve Liberal Ideals.