By Richard Bernstein, ,
Published May 07, 2015
Many Americans today are unhappy with the Democratic Party.
Yet according to a Gallup poll conducted in July 2010, Democrats were still ahead of Republicans, 49% to 43%, in voters’ generic ballot preferences for the 2010 congressional elections.
Why? A big part of the reason is voter dissatisfaction with the Republican Party. And a major reason for that dissatisfaction is that over the years voters have been fed numerous lies by Democrats and the mainstream media to discredit the GOP.
Here are five of those lies:
1. The Bush administration lied about the intelligence leading up to the Iraq War.
Two bipartisan investigations demanded by Democrats refute this myth. In 2004, the Robb-Silberman Report, along with a separate Senate Intelligence Committee report, both concluded that there was no evidence that administration officials manipulated intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq.
2. Republicans caused the mortgage crisis.
In reality it was the Democrats who caused the mortgage crisis and stifled Republican efforts to prevent it.
First, Bill Clinton broadened the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), bypassing the Republican-led Congress and ordering the Treasury Department to rewrite the CRA rules to force banks to fulfill loan “quotas” in low income neighborhoods.
Eventually, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were required by HUD to show that 55% of their mortgage purchases were to low and moderate income borrowers, and lending standards were lowered to meet those goals.
Intense competition caused by Fannie and Freddie’s increasing appetite for loans caused investment and commercial banks to compete for borrowers, and the looser lending standards eventually spread to higher-income and prime borrowers as well.
Then came Clinton’s most disastrous decision: he legalized the securitization of subprime mortgages that allowed the market to soar from $35 billion in risky loans in 1994 to $1 trillion by 2008, thus poisoning the entire mortgage industry.
Republicans tried to rein in Fannie and Freddie’s purchases of subprime mortgages. In both 2003 and 2005, they introduced legislation that would have required Fannie and Freddie to eliminate their investments in them. Both times their attempts were opposed by the Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee, so the bills never made it to Senate floor.
3. Eight years of Republican deregulation caused the financial crisis.
Some myths die harder than others. This is certainly one of them. Financial services were not deregulated during the Bush administration.
The repeal of the Depression-era Glass–Steagall Act in 1999, allowing banks and securities firms to be affiliated under the same roof, was supported by the Clinton administration and signed into law by the president.
Moreover, that was not the cause of the financial crisis. The crisis was caused by banks and investment firms purchasing vast numbers of bad mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.
What contributed to such a high volume of purchases? In 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Democrat Annette Nazareth, who ran the market regulation division at the time, unanimously adopted a rule change known as Basel II.
Adopted by all of the world’s central bankers, Basel II was an attempt to provide greater regulation of investment firms by more accurately evaluating the types of assets they held.
Unfortunately, AAA-rated mortgages were incorrectly considered to be some of the safest assets an institution could own. As a result, Basel II allowed investment banks to leverage their assets of mortgage-backed securities at a ratio as high as 30 to 1. Thus, although Basel II wasn’t the cause of the financial crisis, it certainly contributed to the size of it.
4. Republicans are the “party of Wall Street, big business and special interest groups.”
In the 2008 national election cycle, more campaign donations from the largest banks and Wall Street firms went to Democrats, not Republicans.
Ninety of the top one hundred corporate donors leaned Democratic, and nearly 75 percent of all hedge fund donations in that same period went to presidential candidate Obama.
Furthermore it is the Democratic Party which has deep-rooted unholy alliances with special-interest groups—labor unions, teachers unions, trial lawyers, environmental groups, community organizations such as ACORN and welfare beneficiaries—that often places the interests of those groups ahead of what’s best for the country. Their alliance with trial lawyers, for example, is why tort reform, an effective way to lower health care costs, was not included in the health care bill.
5. Democrats have always stood up for black Americans—and Republicans are either uncaring at best, or overt racists at worst.
Many Americans would be surprised to know that Martin Luther King, Jr. embraced conservative ideals.
Yet King’s choice of political affinity made perfect sense: it was Republicans, not Democrats, who consistently fought for freedom and civil rights for blacks since their founding in 1854—as the anti-slavery party.
In fact, the Democrats tried to filibuster and stop the 1964 Civil Rights Act from passing.
Republicans also established the NAACP and founded and financed all the earliest black schools and colleges.
The fact that most Americans still believe these five myths is a stark reminder that voters can be manipulated by a mainstream media and a Democratic Party who believe “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.”
Richard Bernstein, a former life-long Democrat, is the author of "Duped America: How Democrats and the Mainstream Media Have Duped the American People and Are Harming Our Country" (Forrester, 2010).
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