A friend recently sent me an e-mail forwarded to him by a right-winger he knows. Unsurprisingly, it included a brazen lie. If you receive this e-mail, here's your antidote. Beware of anything the right wing claims is true, and set the record straight if you can.
The e-mail begins:
Remember Lee Iacocca, the VP at Ford credited with the birth of the Mustang, the man who rescued Chrysler, Corporation from their death throes, and the owner of the famous quote 'Lead, follow, or get out of the way'? Well, he's back! He has a new book, and here are some excerpts.
Indeed, Mr. Iacocca does have a recently published book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?Anexcerpt was printed in 2007; you can read it here. The book is a scathing critique of the lack of leaders in America, from government to industry. He's completely unsparing of George W. Bush, as you can see from this:
On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. Where was George Bush? He was reading a story about a pet goat to kids in Florida when he heard about the attacks. He kept sitting there for twenty minutes with a baffled look on his face. It's all on tape. You can see it for yourself. Then, instead of taking the quickest route back to Washington and immediately going on the air to reassure the panicked people of this country, he decided it wasn't safe to return to the White House. He basically went into hiding for the day—and he told Vice President Dick Cheney to stay put in his bunker. We were all frozen in front of our TVs, scared out of our wits, waiting for our leaders to tell us that we were going to be okay, and there was nobody home. It took Bush a couple of days to get his bearings and devise the right photo op at Ground Zero.
Here is what appears in the e-mail message (some of this paragraph is taken from succeeding paragraphs of the original and is made to seem as though no elision has taken place):
On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A Hell of a Mess. So here's where we stand. We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia , while our once-great Companies are all moving offshore. We're getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are the worst in the world. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed ! every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership.
Notice anything missing after "guide us out of the ashes"?
But that's not enough for the right-wingers. No, they have to put words in Iacocca's mouth by adding the following onto the end of that paragraph. The following was not written by Iacocca and did not appear in the book or excerpt:
These are times that cry out for leadership and we are getting ready to put the most Liberal Senator in the U. S. Senate in as our next President because we want to be fair and elect someone just because of his race. We don't have time to be fair, we need a strong leader.
Earlier in the e-mail message, Iacocca's words are once again padded with what the righties wish he had said. Here's the original:
Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.
Here's what appears in the e-mail:
Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down. George Bush, Dick Chaney and who is this Bozo coming up next? One of the most Liberal Idiots in the U. S. Senate and he is talking about disarming America. I can't believe the American people are seeing what he is about to do to this country. May God have mercy on us all.
(All misspellings, atrocities of capitalization, etc. appear in the e-mail message.)
A brief visit to Snopes.com confirmed my immediate suspicion, as I had read parts of the real excerpt some time previously. I sent out an e-mail to the whole list, pointing out that the whole thing was a lie.
The only reply I received was from the friend who had forwarded it to me in the first place, and who probably did it to let me know what was circulating in the non-reality-based world. Not one other person to whom I replied acknowledged the correction or even sent an angry missive in return.