Mitt Romney is far and away the worst presidental candidate the Republican Party has put up for office since Taft gave up the Oval Office to Wilson.
What do you do when you are saddled with such a liaiblity?
You sell the platform instead of the candidate.
And what do you do when the platform itself is so full of inconsistencies and previously failed policies?
You sell the sizzzle instead of the steak...by using the Big Lie to plaster over the obvious incongruties in the Republican Platform.
And here's how they sre going to do it:
If you live in one of the battleground states, and you don't have the intestinal fortitude to turn your television off for the next six months, you are going to be inundated with the most scabrous series of political advertisements ever unleashed upon a civilian population in peace time.
With unlimited funding at its disposal, the Republican Party is about to unleash a "saturation bombing" campaign against the consciousness of the American people that is designed to quite literally make it impossible for Americans to think clearly about the choices being presented to them.
It's called the Big Lie, a propaganda technique developed by the German High Command during World War I to encourage the German people to engage in a great patriotic war to achieve their manifest destiny as the natural rulers of all Europe, and perfected by Adolph Hitler and his propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, in their efforts to motivate the German people to engage in yet another futile effort to achieve world domination.
Simply stated, and it really is very, very simple, the Big Lie refers to a process in which you make a series of statements, each of which contains a completely outrageous and obviously untrue falsehood, and continue to reiterate those statements over and over again until you hear those statements coming back to you from the audience as if they were irrefutable facts.
The way this works is that, as each successive lie is unleashed upon the public, more and more people become convinced that the falsehoods included in the previous message must be true because, as outrageous as they were, they were much less outrageous than the next bundle of lies in the next, subsequent statement, which are even bigger and less believable.
(You think you know these things, but you really, really don't. Keep reading.)
The evidence that this system works is irrefutable because it is based upon the same exact premise of advertising and public relations: repetition builds sales. When it comes to propaganda, repetition builds belief.
Most of us think that we're smart enough to see through these lies, but we're not, because these techniques work on a sub-conscious level.
In hypnotic trance inductions, the hypnotic state is achieved by doing three things, the use of repetitive statements that match the current sensory experiences of the subject, the regulation of breathing patterns through the use of timed statements that first match the subjects breathing and then slow that pattern down by slowing down the timed statements, and through the use of shifting focus of attention in which you encourage the subject to shift perspectives until the subject voluntarily closes his or her eyes to eliminate the distraction which consists of the cognitive dissonance between what the subject sees and what the subject is being told to see.
Taken together, these techniques are very close to the process through we induce our sleep cycles when we are tired. Tired, our thoughts become repetitive and circular, our breathing slows and deepens, and we find ourselves closing our eyes to reduce the distractions that attract the eyes.
These are precisely the same effects that Adolph Hitler achieved in his speeches, during which he manipulated first his small circle of followers and eventually an entire nation...but Hitler was a primitive compared to the modern practitioners of the Big Lie: the American Advertising Industry.
The Republican Party - which includes the various Superpacs who are building the Republican brand across America - has already established the talking points they are going to drill into us over the next few months. They have been tested throughout the long Republican primary season, during which the talking points were tested and tweaked and tested again until they have been honed to a fine edge.
Now, you may think that you can withstand this barrage of lies but, if you can, it is only because they aren't aimed at you. Instead, they are carefully aimed at very specific target populations. If you're not a member of these target groups, the advertising will go right over your head, dismissed as mundane fabrications.
If, however, you belong to one or more of these target populations, these messages - repeated over and over again from a number of different sources - will encourage you to begin to question your previous assumptions about the facts as you become more and more convinced that some of the Republican arguments actually have some merit. This is the nose of the camel coming into your tent.
The Big Lie technique overwhelms the conscious mind's rational objections to the obvious absurdities being asserted with volume and repetition
Here's how it works, metaphorically speaking:
You are standing in a room with one other person, having a quiet conversation about a public issue.
Gradually, a group of uninvited guests begin joining you in the middle of the room, each repeating the same chant over and over again, louder and louder, until you can no longer hear the person standing next to you. Occasionally, the content of the chant changes but the overall effect remains the same. The conversation breaks down because you can no longer have a rational exchange of opinions in the middle of that cacophony...but you can clearly hear the things that the uninvited guests are saying to you.
It gets worse.
Now imagine that an important public figure is standing on a podium at one end of the room, repeating some of these stories thr0ugh a megaphone. And then a second public figure mounts a second podium and begins another recitation. And then a third public figure begins to reiterate the same statements. These are highly-regarded exemplaries, not run of the mill moakes.
By now, you have realized that it doesn't matter if the facts that are being exclaimed are, in fact, not true because there's no way you can communicate with anyone else in the middle of this cacophony.
In Mob Psychology, the maintenance of a hyperactive state among the members of the mob is sustained by the practice of the collective chanting of slogans, the repetition of which also has a hypnotic effect upon the members of the cohort, enhancing their cohesion to the group, and the cause the group espouses. (The process of chanting also regulates breathing patterns so that the members of the group actually breath together which stimulates sexual arousal.)
The two most typical reactions to this environment is to either get up and leave, or sit down and ignore the fact that these lies are becoming commonly accepted as facts. In either case, the colloquy between the two friends has been disrupted. Once disrupted, they cannot engage in a free-flowing exchange of views that, under normal circumstances, would clarify their positions and reinforce their commitment to them.
No one likes to feel as though their views are so divergent that no one else believes them.
And that's what the Republicans are trying to do. They aren't trying to convince us that their falsehoods are facts. All they want to do is to discourage us from believing and voting upon our facts at all because it seems so futile in the face of all that propaganda.
Now, without the metaphors, the Conservative Republicans are buying up every available minute of air time in the battleground states to the point where the Democratic Party will find it hard pressed to find ad blocks left for them to purchase.
In other words, the Conservatives don't have to commit all of their untold billions to the effort to control the public conversation: they only have to commit enough funds to purchase all of the available minutes.
There are, on average, 17 minutes of commercial time available for every hour of broadcast time. That comes to a total of 408 minutes out of a 24 hour day of 9,792 minutes, or 4% of the total broadcast time available per station....but that doesn't to take into account the average of four hours per day that are given over to infomercials, during which there are no paid advertisements, which reduces the number of available minutes to 340 per station per day.
If you want to know exactly how much it is going to cost to buy the 2012 presidential election, all you have to do is multiply the number of television stations covering the battleground states by 340 minutes per day and then multiply that number by the average hourly rate per minute of advertising.
But it doesn't stop there. Before this campaign is over, both parties will resort to buying whole hours to air their own infomercials. This strategy, although ruinously expensive, is the only means by which the Democrats can offset the Republican financial advantage. The problem with infomercials is that no one really believes them, and they are typically one-shot deals that don't benefit from repetitions because there are none.
Another aspect of this is the timing. Advertising buys are first come, first served and, if the Republicans can replenish their war chests at will from their corporate sponsors, they are in a position to buy up all of the available air time with their fast dollars while the Democrats are still accumulating their slow dollars to make their ad purchases, if the Republicans leave them anything to buy. It's much easier to raise $10 million from ten people - if they have it - than it is to collect $10 million from 1o,000 people.
Of course, in the real world, the Republicans won't actually buy up all of the available minutes because they don't really need that many. Once they reach the advertising saturation point, the point at which everyone has seen each advertisement the requisite number of times to achieve market penetration, there's no point in continuing to run those ads....except when it comes to denying the Democrats the opportunity to buy those minutes. Sometimes the law of negative consequences sets in, causing people to become resistant to the repetitious message. Don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothing new to say, right?
Another factor that contributes to the Republican media hegemony is the use of multiple voices repeating the same messages.
If you hear a statement from Rush Limbaugh, you might be tempted to doubt the factuality of his statement, with good reason, because he has a history of lying on the air.
If, however, several Republican surrogates - including elected officials, media personalities, and their captive pundits - repeat the same messages over and over again, they begin to take effect. The Republicans are also very successful at managing their message: their surrogates never wander off the reservation. The Democratic surrogates, who are more idiosyncratic than the Republicans, can't seem to stay on point.
The media exacerbates this Republican domination of the public conversation by slavishly reporting each and every new Republican talking point and, while always careful to provide equal time (although they don't really have to) for the opposing views, the fact remains that each time they cover another Republican salvo, they increase the impact of that barrage.
Their excuse, of course, is that the Republican advertising campaigns are news, but they really aren't. The definition of news is that something happened. Making a statement isn't making news. It's commentary, and the media coverage of their commentary is a commentary on the commentary.
There are no legal protections that guarantee equal speech. That's a misconception. Remember, the equal time rule only applies to public service announcements not paid advertising. Broadcasters have no obligation to provide equal access to paid air time. They are only obligated to charge political campaigns the same rates they offer to their best customers. The Fairness Doctrine, which was supposed to guarantee that broadcast license holders strive to provide equal amounts of time for discussion of opposing sides of an issue, was effectively eliminated in 1987 and officially removed from the FCC rule book in August of 2011, just in time to matter in this election.
This is the hidden agenda behind the Citizens United strategy. The Republican strategists are betting that they can raise enough money to freeze the Democrats out of the market and buy the election lock, stock and barrel.
If someone came to you and offered you $100 for your vote, you would be justifiably outraged. If the Republican Party paid every voter in America $100 for their vote, you would want the Republicans ridden out of town on a rail, but that's exactly what they are doing....buying our votes. Of course, the Republicans will claim that the Democrats have been buying our votes for years with their social programs and their pandering to special interest groups and is there really any difference.
Well, yes, there is, if you believe that honest discourse matters and that dishonest misrepresentations of facts not in evidence will eventually replace objective truths about our world with a fabric of intricately fabricated lies.