In psychology, projection is defined as, “The externalization of internal unconscious wishes, desires or emotions on to other people. So, for example, someone who feels subconsciously that they have a powerful latent homosexual drive may not acknowledge this consciously, but it may show in their readiness to suspect others of being homosexual.”
Those who were paying attention to Republican rhetoric this past year can likely recall at least a few cases of such behavior on the part of the GOP. Let’s look at some of the most egregious cases…
Romney predicts Obama will lie in debates: This one is a real knee-slapper considering how fast and loose Mitt was with his “facts.” Romney told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos on September 4, ““I think he’s going to say a lot of things that aren’t accurate.” What happened, of course, is that Romney lied so freely during the first debate that the President was stunned into silence.
Obama is the most divisive president ever: So said Mitch McConnell in one of the most facepalm moments of the year. It is a stunning moment of projection from the man who said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Mitchie was quickly backed up by the likes of Marco Rubio, Ed Gillespie and Reince Preibus. Romney told the President to, “take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.” The Republicans like this one so much that they have crafted it into an entire narrative. An ugly story arising from ugly feelings being reflected on their “enemy.”
Democrats want to dismantle Medicare: This was a favorite of Paul Ryan’s. Ryan, the man who wrote a stentorian budget that completely dismantled the Medicare system. An ad produced by the Romney/Ryan campaign accused Pres. Obama of “… (cutting) $716 billion dollars from Medicare…” They weren’t even cuts, of course, they were the amount saved by curbing waste and fraud in the Medicare system. The exact same savings appeared in the Republicans’ 2013 budget. Coincidence? Oh, no….
Voter fraud – oh noez!: Voter fraud is practically non-existent in the U.S. yet, if you listened to the GOP, it’s rampant and a threat to democracy. Um… no. It’s not. Though Republicans hounded ACORN to its demise on the myth of voter fraud, they didn’t stop there. They whipped up a fake controversy so that they could enact prohibitive voter ID laws in key states for the 2012 election, their targets were mostly Democratic voters. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, in particular, saw likely Dem voters disenfranchised. Thankfully, the courts blocked some of the worst laws and determined voters got out there and demanded their right to vote.
Activist judges: According to conservatives, the very worst thing a judge can do is “legislate from the bench.” At least, that’s what they say. But the reality is that if the issue is one they hold dear — like, say, repealing the Affordable Care Act — then they want judges to legislate from the bench. When there is a chance that Republicans can come out ahead via judicial action, then bring it on! They are glad to sacrifice their deepest-held jurisprudential principle if it will give them what they perceive as a “win.”
Obama is the “vacationer-in-chief:” Ah, an oldie but a goodie. Remember that crazy email that said Mr. Obama flew on Air Force One every other day? Well, math isn’t their strong suit, is it? That myth was soon debunked but it has kept coming back like a bad case of hives. The truth of the matter is that from January 2009- October 31, 2012, Obama has spent about 10 weeks total on “vacation” which, as any former president will tell you is a very loose use of that word. The guy who was in the White House before him took an average of four months away from Washington every year! And have you seen the House’s work schedule for next year? Truly, the projection in this case is mind-boggling.
Democrats have no plan for job creation: From the moment the Republicans walked into the House chambers after the 2010 election, they swore that their main focus – no, their ONLY focus – would be jobs. Yeah, not so much. Of course, Republicans have always been slackers when it comes to creating jobs. As Bill Clinton noted at the Democratic convention last summer, in their 24 years in power, Democrats created 42 million jobs to the GOP’s 24 million in 28 years. Fact-checkers have run those numbers and they agree. So, not only is it this Republican House that has not had their eyes on the job-creation prize, it’s all Republicans in the past 52 years. Numbers don’t lie, as much as some play around with them.
Democrats are waging a War on Women, not us!: So what were the Republicans in the House doing instead of creating jobs? Not waging a war on women, oh no! How dare you suggest such a thing? Republicans said that Democrats were fabricating the ‘war on women’ to distract from real issues. Really, now? The House voted on dozens of bills that sought to restrict abortions and contraceptives and other women’s health issues. By September of 2012, they passed 55 bills that would strip women of many of the rights that we have fought for. They really went overboard, though, when they produced a video called “Obama’s War on Women,” the basic premise of which is that since a PAC accepted $1 million from Bill Maher the President was waging a war on women. Truly, their logic is dazzling.
The media is complicit in deaths, not the NRA: The speech that poured out of the mouth of Wayne LaPierre on December 21st was mostly a load of projection, blaming gun deaths on video games, movies and TV. Blasting the corporate owners of the horrible, terrible no-good stuff, he said that they, “… act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.” They won’t face their own moral failings so they blame gun owners. Now, that right there is a breathtaking example of projection.
Boehner accuses Obama of not standing up to his party: Last week, in his latest projection-fest, John Boehner (R-OH) told the media that he just couldn’t do anything on the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. Why? That weak-kneed, lily-livered Obama! Why, that coward isn’t even willing to stand up to his own party! But I think we know who the real coward is, don’t we? Boehner is the most ineffectual Speaker of the House ever. He is unable to stand up to the crazy Tea Party wing of his party. He can’t get enough votes for his ideas. I think he won’t be Speaker for more than another month.
The 47% who take handouts: It was possibly the turning point of the election when a speech made by Romney, who thought he was safe among his base and could be completely honest, was unveiled. Mitt had an opinion on those darned Obama voters…
“… there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”
Those numbers proved to haunt Romney, even if they were false. But who really takes more government money? Besides your everyday American – 94% of whom avail themselves of a government program of some kind – the biggest largesse is reserved for corporations. We give about $125 billion a year in corporate welfare. Corporations like Enron, Boeing, Halliburton, Mobil Oil, IBM, General Electric, AT&T, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, FedEx, General Motors, Raytheon, and United Technologies are the biggest beneficiaries of our taxes.
Class warfare: One of the GOP’s favorite go-to whines is that, when we ask the ultra-rich to pay their fair share of taxes, we are engaging in class warfare. As one popular saying goes, “They only call it class warfare when we fight back.” Elizabeth Warren refuted this nonsense so well that it made Republican’s cry even louder. They attacked the President calling him “anti-business, hyper-regulatory and pro-tax” and didn’t miss a beat in calling him a poor leader for suggesting such a terrible thing. But when the facts come into play, it’s obvious that the real class warfare is being waged on the poor. Hip to the idea that this would make baby Jeebus cry, they desperately reflect the criticism back on the ones who are actually attempting to even things out.
The president’s campaign was “unhinged:” When Mitt Romney appeared on CBS This Morning on August 15th, he made a lot of wild accusations, pretty much all of which were blatant projection. Besides calling the president’s campaign “unhinged,” Romney said that his opponent wanted to “hang on to power” and complained that he was being “attacked.” Apparently, his campaign was doing none of that. Uh huh. All this from a man who ran one of the ugliest, untruthful and divisive campaigns in history.
The President is “the entitlement candidate:” Mitt projected his own sense of “entitlement” onto the President, implying that Obama wins votes from people who want something from him. People who don’t deserve them, who haven’t done anything to earn them. Playing into a Right Wing fear of paying for someone else, Romney stirred racial animosity as well. But his use of the word was misplaced. Medicare and Social Security are not “entitlements.” They are programs that people have paid into from the first day they went to work. So, who is really the entitled one? Mittens and his buddies, that’s who. Every time he said that he didn’t need to release his tax records, that he felt he deserved to pay a lower tax rate, that oil and defense subsidies are valid uses of government money, he showed his true colors. He even felt entitled to attack the poor and middle class. No, Mittens, you are the entitlement dude.
The Republicans will continue to project. I’m not sure they even realize that they’re doing it. Well, some of them. But this has been a tactic since Karl Rove said “hello” to G.W. Bush and even before. The GOP is pathological in its use of projection – something to always be aware of. When you hear a Republican say that someone else is doing unethical or crooked, you can bet that it is something they that are really guilty of (whatever it may be). This year was a high-water mark in their sickness. The next few years should be interesting.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…