Big brothers know this tactic well at an early age. Right after Bobby smashes it, he yells out, Mommy! Little Timmy broke the lamp!
War on women. Class warfare. War room for political strategy. Environmental whackos and Feminazis. Thanks largely to Carl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk, the Republican playbook is fairly simple to glean. Whatever offense you are guilty of, accuse the other guys of it first. The more aggressive your approach, the more believable it must be. The same irony comes when we are educated about Reaganomics: Convincing poor people they can become rich by giving rich people more money. The gospel of prosperity may somehow glorify God, who actually asked people to be merciful, turn the other cheek and sell all your possessions.
This is the generation of irony, we must remember. Whatever is actually true, and a little study bears out the facts is much too straightforward for our times. There must be more to anything as simple as taxation, to the idea that a strong middle class yields a strong country and economic future.
The playbook gains strength when you win a few times with it, and it gains more lasting strength when it includes a few parts that are actually true. Morals really should be part of governing. Blindly throwing money at a problem is not a wise approach. There should be rewards for effort and success. Thus, the right has muddied the waters of truth. Mom needs to come into the living room, look around, and carefully ask, “What really happened with the lamp?”
There are only a few leaders who search for the truth as it is needed. I think the original was Walter Cronkite; Daniel Patrick Moynihan was one, and I would add Jon Stewart, Dick Lugar, David Souter, and a few others. Danger comes when anything smacks of idolatry of ideology, when skepticism loses to slogans, when dialogue is truncated by diatribe.