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Opinion | Forget good governance, just lie. The “fools” will believe you

“Solving problems is hard work. It’s much easier to just lie to people and hope they never find out.”

Congressman Mo Brooks speaking on the House floor.

Good governing is hard to do. It’s not easy to take complicated issues and seek meaningful, thoughtful solutions that aid a majority of citizens. It’s hard work to spend hours talking to real people, to experts and to those with opposing views, and then take what you’ve learned and use it to solve big problems. 

It’s a lot easier to lie. 

It’s a lot easier to tell people that it’ll trickle down. That they’re coming for your guns. That socialism is creeping in. That the immigrants are taking over. That the election was rigged. That the virus isn’t real. That government-run health care would be terrible. That they want to cut Medicare. That the masks don’t work. That they were all antifa. That only Black people are standing voting lines by coincidence. 

But make no mistake about it, while this tactic sadly works, if you buy into it and the lie is ultimately exposed, well, you’re the fool. 

Just ask Mo Brooks. The biggest liar of them all. 

In an interview with last week, Brooks called the Trump supporters and Republican voters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 “fools,” and said they did more damage than even those voters who might follow the Democratic plan for the country. 

How dare those fools! I mean, what sort of unhinged, unpatriotic, anti-democracy clown could have encouraged those people to sacrifice their blood, sweat, tears, fortunes and “even their lives” and told the enraged crowd to “kick ass?”

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What sort of an unhinged, half-cocked traitor to the country would have spent weeks telling those Trump supporters and Republican voters that the election had been rigged, that there was “unprecedented cheating,” and that President Joe Biden’s election was something akin to the start of the Civil War? 

Well, if you guessed that person was Mo Brooks, you might wonder how that same person could then label those insurrectionists that he helped rile up a bunch of fools and still manage to walk upright from the amount of shame he’s carrying. 

From what I can tell, there is no shame left in Republican World anymore. 

There is simply taking from our government whatever you can get your grimy hands on and to hell with everything else. There is no effort at governing anymore. There is no effort expended to create or implement policies — not on a grand scale. There is no overriding interest in compromise. 

The entire party’s success, at this point, seems to rest with how well it can sell a lie. 

I’ll give them credit, they do it quite well. So well, in fact, that despite not even pretending to have a plan for the major issues facing this country and this state, they’re barely out of power nationally and hold a super-majority in Alabama. 

And the truly concerning part of that is how blatantly they’re lying. 

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For example, let’s take the “stolen election” lie being pushed currently to prop up the entire Brooks campaign, the ridiculous voting impediments being imposed in red states across the country and the resistance in Alabama to voting changes that worked without a single problem in the last election. 

Over and over, you hear Republicans explain that we must make these changes — or, in Alabama’s case, not make these changes — in order to restore voters’ faith in the election system. 

Except, there is no problem with our voting system. Multiple audits of every contested state proves that we had zero problems. There was almost no fraud — certainly none on a scale that would have altered even local races — and there were no major malfunctions. In terms of delays and long waits on vote counts, we were in the midst of a pandemic and millions of main-in ballots were being submitted for the first time. 

All of these things are easily provable facts. And more than three dozen courts have found them far more credible than the baseless allegations of fraud. 

In fact, the only people pushing the allegations of fraud are the Republicans who stand to gain from those allegations. And the mouthpieces on TV and radio who help them. 

And those people have been forced — thanks to civil laws filed — to admit that they were lying. Fox News, OANN and Newsmax have all issued lengthy corrections on air explaining they never had any evidence of fraud, particularly fraud involving malfunctioning voting systems. 

Fox also has admitted in court documents that no one should take Tucker Carlson — the host of its highest rated show — seriously and stated that his show is entertainment. No reasonable person could conclude otherwise, the network’s lawyers said. 

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Same for Sidney Powell, one of the most vocal attorneys who proclaimed that the election was stolen from Trump, and who filed numerous lawsuits pushing this fallacy. Powell has now stated that no reasonable person could have taken her seriously.  

Except many people have taken them seriously. Primarily because you have elected leaders, like Brooks, helping to push those lies. Brooks is still pushing them, as recently as this past weekend telling supporters at a rally that it was the most fraud and illegal votes in history. 

Again, there is zero evidence of this, and to date Brooks has failed to support any of these claims. 

But it doesn’t seem to matter. Because unfortunately, there is political capital in screaming the loudest, especially if those screams include claims that some people want to believe. 

It’s easier. You just have to hope you don’t run out of “fools.”

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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