Most folks probably have some conservative friend or relative who sends right-wing chain emails their way. Hopefully, people know the vast majority of these political myths and urban legends are nonsense.
But Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry seems to struggle in this area, and apparently believes myths with no basis in fact. PolitiFact flagged this gem yesterday:
…Perry said at a New Hampshire house party that the Obama administration has made life more difficult for oil companies in Louisiana and Texas while being overly generous to energy projects in other countries.
“This president goes to Brazil and delivers $2 billion to that country to help them with their offshore drilling projects,” Perry said. “What are they thinking?”
According to the right-wing chain-email that made the rounds, President Obama loaned $2 billion to a Brazilian oil company to drill for oil in Brazilian waters, to benefit China. As part of the story, Obama reportedly roped in George Soros as an investor.
In reality, a Brazilian oil company, PetroBras, received a loan from the independent Export-Import Bank, approved by appointees of the Bush/Cheney administration. Soros is part of the project, but his investment came in 2008 — months before the Export-Import Bank agreed to make the loan.
The Export-Import Bank agreed to the loan, by the way, in large part because PetroBras agreed to use U.S.-made oilfield equipment and services on the project.
What Perry said, in other words, wasn’t even close to the truth. He’s just repeating some odd story he heard, as if it were accurate. It’s not.
Also note, this isn’t the first time. Campaigning in Iowa, Perry also complained about a new regulation that would require farmers to get commercial drivers licenses if they drive their tractors across the road, which is a common myth in GOP circles, but which is also false.
Reality has a tough enough time in the face of conservative urban legends that spread like a virus; Rick Perry obviously isn’t helping. Worse, the fact that he struggles to tell the difference between fact and fiction doesn’t speak well of his critical thinking skills, either.