Posts Tagged ‘lying’

A 12-Step Program for Republicans

Monday, January 29th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

38E746B5-A254-42AA-9A6F-7683C3D4A74CThis column is updated from three years ago because it’s election time again and, well, denial is the first, big obstacle. Until and unless they can admit they were/are powerless over Donald Trump, Republicans have no hope of recovering. They will be forever known as Trumpaholics, people addicted to avoiding reality and destined for a life that is, by any reasonable measure, unmanageable. I cite the last eight years as evidence.

  But, as they say, there is a solution, one that has changed lives for the better for millions of people worldwide — a 12-Step program. It has worked miracles for alcoholics; it can work for Trumpaholics.


       I’ve written on addiction and recovery for more than 15 years. One of the recurring stories I’ve heard over that time is that the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are not just a proven way to stop drinking, but also an excellent formula for living a good life. Getting rid of the booze — or in this case, the Donald — is only the beginning. Republicans can reap these rewards, individually or as a party … but only if they really want to change.


        So, with a deep bow to Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob and A.A. and adapted in all humility, here are the 12 Steps of Recovery for Republicans:


  1. We admitted we were powerless over Trump, that our party had become unmanageable.  This state of affairs is usually evident to non-addicts of the individual’s acquaintance well before that aha! moment arrives, if it does. Members of A.A. say this is the only step they have to get perfect, for obvious reasons. If a Republican can’t admit — still — that Trump dominates his or her every political thought or action, there’s no sense going on to Step 2. Denial. However, if Republicans can look at the past eight years of saying yes to virtually everything Trump did or said and acknowledge the trouble that this blind obedience, this dependence, has caused in Republicans’ lives (broken relationships, lost jobs and opportunities, ruined reputations, trouble with the law) as well as the pain it inflicted on the lives of many others, there is hope.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than Trump or Mitch McConnell could restore us to sanity. (No one said this was easy.) No, this does not mean everyone becoming Evangelical Christians. Quite the opposite. That would simply be swapping blind faith in Trump for blind faith in other con men and women. Give me your money and you will be saved. For a party that professes a belief in strong family values and makes a public display of respecting religious (well, Christian) teachings, this should not be a problem. Theoretically. However, I think it could be challenging to many Republicans who have become used to giving lip service to their professed religious beliefs. Skeptical alcoholics are sometimes advised to pick a higher power of their own choosing or at least to believe that someone whose sobriety they admire has such a belief. Instead of putting their hands on some charlatan’s shoulders and bowing their heads, supposedly in prayer, Republicans should look within the ranks (or without) for a source of strength, hope and faith and emulate that person. It should be someone with a sincere, demonstrated, spiritual footing. Hint: it’s not Ted Cruz. Not a Koch brother or Rupert Murdoch either. Keep looking. Someone more like Lincoln, remember? It may take a little time. That’s OK.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will, our money and our platform over to the care of whatever power we came up with in Step 2.  A key step. Last time out, Republicans did this almost accidentally with Trump. That was blind, misplaced faith in the flashy guy. No willpower, true, but no sense of shared responsibility to the greater good. This time, they need to decide to follow the lead of someone with sound moral principles and then lead their political lives accordingly. That is, decide to do the rest of the steps.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. This step could be a problem for a lot of Republicans because it requires honesty. But if they want to change, they need a list of the things they want to change. For example, lying that the presidential election was stolen while knowing there was never any proof of this would be something to put high on the list. Lying is bad, even in politics. Hypocrisy is just a fancy word for lying. Also, stealing and harming others so as to benefit yourself. Breaking the law, too. Insurrection. All Trump’s pardons did not remove the guilt, they merely freed the guilty.
  5. Shared with that higher power from step two, with ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. In other words, look in the mirror and say, “I have been a self-serving, lying, backstabbing, selfish, hypocritical, cowardly son-of-a-bitch for the past four years,“ and then release a statement to that affect — in detail — on social media. Get Liz Cheney to pose in the picture with you. Piece of cake.
  6. Were entirely ready to have my higher power (with the help of a new party leader of sound moral standing) remove these defects of character. Basically, Republicans must resign themselves to the fact that they have been a group of self-serving, lying, cowardly, etc. since they chose Trump as their leader. This is the truth, the real news. When and if they accept it, they can move on to Step 7.
  7. Humbly asked him or her to remove our shortcomings. Harder than it sounds. First of all, shortcomings seldom ever really go away. They find new hiding places. Republicans will have to become aware of them and try to avoid them. Stop lying about the deficit, That’s a lifetime of work and will require humility. Good luck finding someone to explain that concept to Republicans. Again, not Ted Cruz, who confuses humiliation with humility.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Really. You don’t get to totally screw up a country and just walk away like nothing happened. Not if you want to change.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others. That last part lets Republicans stay out of jail and not hurt their own family by admitting how they routinely cheated minority voters with sketchy redistricting plans and harsh voter registration laws.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when wrong promptly admitted it. This is the new way of living part of it. “I’m sorry; I was wrong.” Try not to abuse this step. Match your words with action.
  11. Sought through regular meetings and work sessions, at which an honest exchange of ideas is encouraged and welcomed, to maintain contact with our new party leader, seeking only to learn what the new Republican Party stands for and the power and courage to carry that out. Prayer and meditation wouldn’t hurt either.
  12. Having had a major reprieve and possibly a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry the new Republican Party message to Trumpaholics and others and to practice its new principles in all our affairs. One day at a time.

   That’s it. The formula for recovery for the Republican Party. But there is one thing more. With alcoholics, the drinking is just a symptom of the disease. When the drinking stops, the disease (much of the behavior) doesn’t go away. That’s why recovery is a daily practice. To avoid relapse.

 The real question for Republicans is what made them Trumpaholics in the first place.

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at

Want My Vote? Who Won in 2020?

Friday, October 20th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

408D0046-5CB4-4AC5-A1AD-C3B82315CD7D     It may be a little early, what with Election Day still more than two weeks away, but I’m ready to announce my vote in any local, state or national office up for grabs: The Democrat.

      Any Democrat. Well, any unindicted Democrat, let’s say. Straight ticket. No Republicans. No contest. No need to drop off anymore campaign literature, local candidates. Save your pens for the undecided or uninformed potential voters out there. My mind’s made up.

     The decision was simple. After six decades of considering candidates’ positions on a variety of issues and trying to decide which one (of any political party) I preferred, my litmus test has come down to one, basic question: Has the candidate publicly declared Joe Biden as the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election?

     Since every Democrat has done this, this is only a trick question for Republicans. Basically, it means going on the record and saying Donald Trump is a lying sore loser, a threat to democracy and should never hold public office of any kind again

     I know that might be a little difficult for some local Republicans to tell their constituents, even though they believe it, but you know what Harry Truman said about the heat and the kitchen. (Google it if you don’t.)

    Local Republican candidates everywhere, not just in my little corner of slightly upstate New York, have been coasting on the Trump question for seven years now. Either they’re with him or they’re agin’ him. Keeping quiet just to get elected or reelected won’t cut it. That’s how Trump got where he is today and that’s how the Republican Party got where it is today: Unable to even pick a Speaker of the House of Representatives in which it is the majority party because too many Republicans were afraid to stand up to a small group of ignorant Trump acolytes, who know nothing and care not a whit about bipartisan governing. 

     Silence is consent. And who wants to vote for a candidate who is afraid to speak his or her own mind?

      If the Republican Party has any hope of ever again being considered a legitimate, pro-democracy organization, it must rid itself of Trump and Trumpers. Sitting and waiting for the courts to possibly do it is the cowards’ way out.

     Otherwise, it can just continue on the path to Fascism, depriving certain groups of people of the vote, operating through fear and retribution, lying, cheating and threatening those who stand in its way. Vladimir Putin couldn’t ask for a better ally in his worldwide campaign against democracies.

      What has this got to do with my local county legislator or town councilman? Everything. That’s where it starts. Quiet coverups. Special favors. Refusal to compromise. And, in this case, failure to uphold long-standing Republican Party principles because the party needed bigger numbers. Failure to say, “We don’t do that.”

     The once unacceptable becomes accepted, commonplace, routine, expected. It works its way up the chain. It sells its soul to ignorance and avarice in exchange for perceived power and glory. Democracy be damned.

      It says a serial liar, twice-impeached, four times indicted narcissist facing 91 felony counts is the best person to carry the beacon of democracy for America

      I say, if you’re a local Republican candidate and you don’t believe in all that, I’ll look at your record and views and consider voting for you. Not until then. You don’t have to knock on my door to do it. Just post it on your Facebook page.

      And keep your Trump buttons.

Mitt and the Truth

Monday, June 4th, 2012

By Emily Theroux

“There are those who tell the truth. There are those who distort the truth. And then there’s Mitt Romney.”

That was how Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson put it, as politely as he could manage in a genuine mainstream media outlet. All political campaigns exaggerate, “dissemble” (a courteous word, by all accounts), and boast, Robinson added, but voters generally tend to put up with it “as long as there’s a kernel of veracity in there somewhere. Even by this lax standard, Romney too often fails. Not to put too fine a point on it, he lies. Quite a bit. ”

As early as last December, liberal blogger Greg Sargent of The Plum Line astutely noted that, while Beltway reporters were predicting that Romney’s $10,000 bet offer to Rick Perry might warrant a national media narrative, something more disturbing about the Mittster seemed more indicative of Romney’s character: the candidate’s “serial dishonesty, his willingness to say and do anything to win.”

Liberal bloggers (and even one conservative one) began to pipe up about Romney “making things up out of thin air,” imparting “highly embellished anecdotes,” blabbing “one massive lie after another,” and finally, the straight dope: “telling bald-faced lies” that “could be easily disproven by an enterprising reporter.” Jack Jodell of The Saturday Afternoon Post said Romney “thoroughly lacks moral character and is completely unstable and untrustworthy.” But Bob Cesca of The Daily Banter blog probably summed it up best when he called Romney “the most lie-based candidate for president ever.”

“The degree to which Mr. Romney lies, all the time, about all sorts of stuff, and doesn’t seem to care when he gets caught, is maybe the single most notable thing about his campaign,” said Rachel Maddow. Blogger Steve Benen, who writes for The MaddowBlog, just published the 20th installment of his weekly tabulation of Romney’s whoppers, “Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity,” which presented a list of 18 “big lies” that Mitt had told in the previous week alone. Benen debunked every single sham, simulation, or slander as he moved down the line.

Why does Romney lie, so frequently and easily?
He lies because he has to, says J.M. Ashby of The Daily Banter blog. “Running on the record as it stands isn’t an option.”

I’m not convinced, however. I think it’s worse than that. I sometimes speculate that Romney lies because because he CAN – although my suspicion is purely conjecture. No news outlets or pundits that the moderate swing-state electorate pays attention to are making “Mythomaniac” Mitt’s deceit a central campaign theme. “When do reporters start calling Mitt Romney a liar?” asked Paul Waldman of The American Prospect. “And I use the word ‘lie’ very purposefully,” Waldman added. “There are lots of things Romney says about Obama that are distortions, just plain ridiculous, or unfalsifiable but obviously false, as when he often climbs into Obama’s head to tell you what Obama really desires …. But there are other occasions … where Romney simply lies, plainly and obviously.”

When Newt Gingrich admitted on CBS News’ Early Show in January that he was intentionally calling Romney a liar, both Norah O’Donnell and Bob Schieffer appeared to almost swoon from shock. (I consulted the thesaurus: There’s no other word or expression used to describe someone who routinely utters falsehoods that’s quite as powerful as “liar” – unless you call them a “damned liar” or employ an even more profane moderator.) The mainstream media haven’t been holding Romney to account thus far because, in part, it’s simply not something that most reporters would feel comfortable saying on the public record or on camera about a presidential candidate. If confronted, they often temporize, saying “both sides do it,” campaigns “exaggerate” or “misspeak,” candidates are “phony” or use party talking points to represent their views.

The ‘Mitt-thology’ of Mittens meets ‘Bend Sinister’
It has also occurred to me that the reason Mitt may “make stuff up” about his business career, his political record, and even inconsequential things like his given name, is because he is perhaps compelled to. Mitt Romney is not like other politicians; his lying is compulsive, constant, and extreme – and may even be pathological. The chronic nature and frequency of the behavior are hallmarks of this mental disorder, according to Dr. Charles C. Dyke, writing in Psychiatric Times. Pathological liars usually have sound judgment about other matters, although the lies themselves often appear to be rash, risky, random, illogical, purposeless, and easily discoverable.” One surefire verbal sign of atrocious lying is stammering – which The Daily Kos pointed out after Mitt “stumble-tongued his way” into the “blunderful … word salad” he uttered last week:

“Uh, I’m actually going to, I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. And with regards to, uh, I’ll go back and take at what was said there.”

“Mitt, you dunce, you have to remember your lies,” the article’s headline blared. “For someone with his assets, you would think he would have hired himself a better coach of effective lying,” the writer mused. The first rule, he added, is, “Don’t deviate too far from the truth when lying. Because doing so will make it hard to follow the second rule, which is: Remember your lies.”

Many pathological liars are narcissists and extreme attention seekers, and some are even capable of criminal behavior, including a prominent California judge, said Dyke. “Why such a successful individual would repeatedly tell lies that could damage his credibility and put him in trouble with the law or other administrative bodies is baffling. Was his lying behavior completely within his control, or was there something different about his pattern of lies?” The crimes committed by some pathological liars include theft, swindling, forgery, and plagiarism. “It is worth noting, however, that some pathological liars are successful professionals without any public record of crime.”

“Welcome to post-truth politics,” wrote Paul Krugman. “Why does Mr. Romney think he can get away with this kind of thing? Well, he has already gotten away with a series of equally fraudulent attacks. In fact, he has based pretty much his whole campaign around a strategy of attacking Mr. Obama for doing things that the president hasn’t done and believing things he doesn’t believe.

Greg Sargent sees a common theme to Mitt’s calumnies: falsely portraying Obama as a bogeyman who doesn’t share American values. “But won’t there be some blowback?” Krugman wondered. “Won’t Mr. Romney pay a price for running a campaign based entirely on falsehoods? He obviously thinks not, and I’m afraid he may be right.”

And why not, when the watchdog website Politifact, purportedly established to enforce truth in politics, proclaimed Democratic “claims” that Republicans voted to end Medicare its “Lie of the Year”? The deceptive voucher system for which the GOP did indeed vote would cost each retiree thousands of dollars more out of pocket each year.

I found only two comments posted under one liberal blog disparaging one of Mitt’s most dastardly prevarications. “Despicable,” wrote the first. “I’m pretty sure that by November, every American voter will know what a hollow liar he is.”

The second commenter, however, disagreed, blaming the usual suspects. “Maybe not,” she warned. “It seems like 90 percent of the supposedly ‘credible’ media is carrying water for Willard. It’s so disgraceful.”

Writer Emily Theroux worked as magazine editor for The Times Herald-Record. Illustrator Lance Theroux was assistant managing editor of The Times Herald-Record before becoming a staff editorial artist for The Record in North Jersey.