How the Far Right ‘Guides’ Voters with Lies

When it comes to lies at election time, many voters point at mistruths they hear from candidates. But voter guides put out by far-right pressure groups in Texas are hardly good examples of honesty themselves.

Consider, for example, this question for Texas State Board of Education candidates from the current voter guide put out by Liberty Institute, the renamed Free Market Foundation (the Texas affiliate of the far-right Focus on the Family):

Do you support the current law which says the Board may reject a textbook if it believes the book is unsuitable?

Actually, the law doesn’t say that at all.

Since 1995, state law has required the board to approve for adoption any textbook that conforms to the state’s curriculum standards, is free of factual errors and meets manufacturing standards. Lawmakers passed the law because they were tired of board members censoring or rejecting textbooks because they had personal and political objections to content in the books. Two state attorneys general rulings — from Democratic and Republican AGs — have confirmed that the law is valid and mandatory for the board.

Even so, the board’s far-right faction continues to break the law. In 2001 the board rejected an environmental science textbook that met all of the law’s requirements, with far-right members arguing that the book was anti-Christian, undermined the free enterprise system, and promoted junk science on topics like climate change. And in 2007 the board voted to reject a third-grade mathematics textbook that also met all requirements set out under the law. The narrow majority voting to reject the textbook simply refused to state why it did so — board members absurdly argued that the law didn’t require them to say. (They later said they didn’t like how the textbook dealt with teaching multiplication. That wasn’t a legally valid reason either.) (See here for more.)

The board has gotten away with breaking the law because the state’s Republican attorney general has taken no action to enforce the statute. Moreover, publishers fear challenging board members because they don’t want to endanger future adoptions of their textbooks.

And now Liberty Institute is lying to voters about what the law plainly says (and what two state attorneys general have agreed it says). Why? Far-right board members and pressure groups hate the 1995 law and want to keep the door open for rejecting any science (in 2011) and social studies (2012)  textbooks that don’t meet their political approval.

Then we have today’s e-mail from David Barton of the far-right, Texas-based organization WallBuilders. Barton’s e-mail touts a Web site offering “Christian voter guides.” But Barton then offers his own endorsements, including for State Board of Education races. He endorses two incumbents he calls “conservative” Republicans, Ken Mercer of San Antonio and Don McLeroy of College Station, and refers to their Republican opponents (not by name, but they are Tim Tuggey of Austin and Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant) as “liberals.” Apparently, anyone who opposes politicizing the education of Texas schoolchildren is a “liberal” in Barton’s eyes (even though both Tuggey and Ratliff have campaigned on a platform of fiscal conservatism, local control and respect for expertise).

Barton also endorses Randy Rives of Odessa, who is challenging state board incumbent Bob Craig of Lubbock in the Republican Primary. Barton refers to Craig as a “liberal Republican,” which surely will come as a surprise to West Texas Republicans (hardly a liberal bunch) who have repeatedly backed Craig.

Barton can’t even get the party affiliation of candidates right. In the state board race to replace Democratic incumbent Rick Agosto of San Antonio, Barton endorses Joanie Muenzler. Barton, however, says that Muenzler is a “conservative Democrat running against a liberal Democrat incumbent.” Wrong on both counts. Muenzler is on the Republican Primary ballot, and Agosto is not running for re-election.

When they’re not lying, they’re just plain ignorant about the facts.

9 thoughts on “How the Far Right ‘Guides’ Voters with Lies

  1. When you think the universe is 6,000 years old, things like evidence and facts just aren’t a priority.

  2. I’m sorry folks , but the letters on my keyboard for the S,T,U,P,I, and the D are all worn off.
    I’m going to stick with “idiotic” and “assinine” for a while to even things out.
    That still works the s and the i too much.

  3. Once again, the “wonder” of Southern Mentality. If it weren’t so sad it honestly would be funny enough to write a sitcom around.

  4. I will probably go to my grave never understanding how people can look themselves in the mirror when they use such dishonesty in attempts to force their views on society at large. I can easily imagine a person feeling good about stopping all women from ever getting another abortion, or totally abandoning all government-based social-contracts like SS or medicare and using the funds instead on a much larger military. I think they’re wrong, and greedy and authoritarian, but I can see them as honest actors in conscience. In fact, a mouth-breathing racist homophobe who vomits putrescence so vile that the moderators want to charge their readers for having saved them from gouging their own eyes out from the horror, at least the jerk was honestly expressing his beliefs.

    Much farther down the list of shame is the peddlers of lies and damned lies, at least in my book. It is an insult not only to the intended target, but tells the liar’s followers that they aren’t worth the effort of being honest to them. It implies that they’re nothing but a tool to be used and manipulated into agreeing with the ideologues agenda.

    I believe that this trait is why the overwhelming majority of scientists are social-liberals and anti-authoritarians, and why people like me are fans of science; When I’m wrong, I change my opinion, not the facts.

  5. Well, for some time now, I have looked at the field of public relations and decided the name should be changed to “field of strategic deception.” It bothers me that my fellow Christians can put their moral fiber in their back pockets, sit on it, and say, “Oh, it’s just the principles of public relations.” That’s okay. They teach that in college. Right?” No, it is strategic deception—telling premediated lies and half truths while avoiding the mention of salient facts. This guy was a master at it. I wonder what Jesus would think about his own people using principles and procedures—particularly the BIG LIE—made famous by this guy. He’ll tell you about it in his own words, translated from German to English:

  6. They don’t reply to e-mails, either…if you’re to the left of them.
    I asked Mr. McLeroy what his longed for “Christian Nation” would do with folks like me (agnostic, intellectual, Liberal,etc)…crickets.
    Ideology trumps objective reality, every time

  7. There’s a book that deals somewhat with “state religions”.
    It’s called “Embracing Defeat Japan in the wake of WWII”

    Anybody who is interested in what happens to countries that allow religion to become the tool of the military industrial complex should study Imperial Japan.

    Only an idiot would go down that path.

    There’s a broader issue here too. In the development of “commercial” tv and Madison Ave., etc. there has been a lot of research done on how to short circuit human capacity to think rationally, and to “log on” to their psyches on an emotional and instinctual level. With the advent of the internet, this “hook-up” has gone “broadband”.
    In other words, there’s a lot of hooey out there on the internet and in the media in general.
    As time goes on, there’s some sign these effects wear off, and people start ignoring the hooey. But these people are racing to get control before people “wake up”.

    This can all be seen in how the “War on terror” was used to manipulate the masses.

    Also, apparently it’s being proven to be a lot easier to , say, round up top Taliban leaders, develop intelligence resources, destroy their commmand and control network, etc.
    All we had to do is want to get that done instead of exploit the issue for political gain.

    McLeroy obviously doesn’t belong in a position of public responsibility. He probably shouldn’t be trusted with a dental drill either.

    It’s a war.

  8. David wrote above: “These people are racing to get control before people “wake up.”

    David used “wake up” accidentally and unfortunately because that’s a favorite phrase of the far-right. I’ve heard two different radcons describe someone who once was an independent thinker but now thinks just like them as someone who has “woken up.”

    Another one of their fascist propaganda tools.

    Another favorite phrase of the radical far-right: “sheeple.”