A few Republicans have publicly recoiled from their party becoming the party of lies and hysteria, but they are the exception. Most have embraced it. The die was cast for them at least as early as the Bush administration, probably by the time of "whitewater." Paul Krugman notes this from the New York Times from January, 2008:
Any Democrat who makes it to the White House can expect the same treatment: an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false
The lies themselves are what astound me. The birth certificate and the "death panels" are not plausible lies or even obscure ones, they are preposterous "Earth is flat" types of lies. A tiny bit of research suffices to refute them, but they are pushed endlessly by a large chunk of the media and right wing politicians.