We Americans are well known for our short attention span. It’s hard to stay focused when you are hard-wired into the tsunami of information spewing out of the big plasma screen in your living room or the dinky one in your pocket. There are news flashes and updates every nanosecond as millions of professional and amateur journalists jockey for the Big Scoop that will catapult them into the viral void of fifteen second fame. A person could spend 24/7 trying to view every cute kitty video on Youtube and never get past the calicos, much less the terrible tabbies. With all this input, you need a good hook to keep your audience coming back for the next episode of your mini-series.
So it goes with Republic-Con 2012. By the third chapter, you want to see some progress in the plot, some bizarre twist that will make you exclaim “I didn’t see that one coming!” For the women, it’s the romantic angle, and unfortunately King Newt was written out of the script before he could behead his third wife, and Ann Romney did the gushy love scene the night before. For us guys, you need a car chase or blow up something big.
On Wednesday, the closest we got to blowing up stuff was John McCain’s call to declare war on a few dozen countries since everyone is bored with the one we have now. I found myself channel surfing to see if there was something more entertaining than this tired old theme, but all I could find was a civil war documentary. Been there, done that.
By the time I got back to the convention, Condi Rice was providing the inspirational speech of the evening. Condi’s long road to The American Dream is remarkable, even to old cynics and cartoonists. Growing up in George Wallace’s segregated south, her childhood girlfriend murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, she worked her way up the food chain to become the nation’s first black female Secretary of State. Although there were no major accomplishments during her tenure, she did present a much-needed image of diversity for the GOP.
I was going cross-eyed by the time Paul Ryan took the stage. Is it just me, or does he look like a grown up Eddie Munster? (Once again, a cultural stereotype obscures the Big Picture!) Ryan launched into an oratory so filled with inconsistancies that fact-checkers were falling all over themselves trying to document them all. In the end, it looks like the VP debate will be scored by who makes the most gaffs. Will Uncle Joe Biden remember where he is? (“I’d like to thank everyone here in West Caroginia for coming tonight.”) Will Ryan remember what year the GM plant down the street in his own district closed down? (“Obama used a time machine…Yeah, that’s the ticket!”)
I couldn’t take it after the first half hour and looked around for something more relevant. Hey! There’s a South Park episode I haven’t seen. What will that crazy Cartman do next?…
Yes, the fact checker should do a little more research;
BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski finds this promise from Barack Obama in June 2008, after the notice went out that the plant would shut down over the next several months, emphasis mine:
“Reports that the GM plant I visited in Janesville may shut down sooner than expected are a painful reminder of the tough economic times facing working families across this country. This news is also a reminder that Washington needs to finally live up to its promise to help our automakers compete in our global economy. As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.” Source: media.gazettextra.com / via:uppermichiganssource.com
Sounds like a promise — and it certainly did to the people of Janesville. Will the “fact” checkers fact-check themselves now?
So, Ryan was right! It closed after Obama made a promise to keep it open to make those green cars he likes.
I see that Obama said plants like the one in Janesville, and that plant had already given notice that it was closing in 2008. So in classic Clintonese I guess it depends on what the meaning of like is like.
Rupublicans have been making a lot of hay out of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” faux pas. Technically, he is correct in saying that we continue to build on what came before us, but he mangled the sentence and left it open to ridicule.
Both sides are very adept in parsing words to their advantage.
Here’s Politifact’s take… http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/aug/29/paul-ryan/did-barack-obama-break-promise-keep-gm-plant-open/
The whole thing stinks.
“But we don’t see evidence he explicitly made such a promise.”
You mean like this Politifact?
“As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.”
Welp, he did say “like Janesville.” But he didn’t really mean that. Seems relatively explicit. The point is he made all kinds of wild promises to get elected. And Paul Ryan is the now lying villain. We become what we behold, I suppose. What do each of the major parties behold?
Commerce Business Daily: The Media’s ‘Fact Check’ Smokescreen
Journalism: If media “fact checkers” are just impartial guardians of the truth, how come they got their own facts wrong about Paul Ryan’s speech, and did so in a way that helped President Obama’s re-election effort? Case in point was the rush of “fact check” stories claiming Ryan misled when he talked about a shuttered auto plant in his home state.
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler posted a piece — “Ryan misleads on GM plant closing in hometown” — saying Ryan “appeared to suggest” that Obama was responsible for the closure of a GM plant in Janesville, Wis. “That’s not true,” Kessler said. “The plant was closed in December 2008, before Obama was sworn in.”
What’s not true are Kessler’s “facts.” Ryan didn’t suggest Obama was responsible for shuttering the plant. Instead, he correctly noted that Obama promised during the campaign that the troubled plant “will be here for another hundred years” if his policies were enacted. Also, the plant didn’t close in December 2008. It was still producing cars until April 2009.
An AP “fact check” also claimed that “the plant halted production in December 2008” even though the AP itself reported in April 2009 that the plant was only then “closing for good.” CNN’s John King made the same claim about that plant closure. But when CNN looked more carefully at the evidence, it — to its credit — concluded that what Ryan said was “true.”
What a mess. It’s no wonder the voters are so cynical. I don’t think there is any equivocation here. It’s seems pretty direct: Paul Ryan said President Obama promised he retool (and presumably prop-up) the Janesville plant(that’s what they heard); the press said Paul Ryan was lying and misleading.
So I guess Janesville wasn’t “like” enough for a bailout? And Paul Ryan gets blamed? Actually not blamed, but worse. He was called a liar. So much for the facts. But if you wanna dance with the devil, you gotta pay him his dues. Sorry Janesville, the government picked someone else to be the winner.
All this is very NewsSpeak-ish, if you ask me.
It sounds to me that the silly season in politics is already going on fast and furious. Ryan purposely misrepresents both Obama’s promise of a bailout for Janesville, and the savings Obama proposes for Medicare as “cuts” to seniors.
I think that RL throws down a good challenge to Biden. Will he outdo Ryan? Who will win the “Pinnochio” contest over at the Fact Checker?
The problem is that winners of elections tend to be those who convince us that the other guy is a bigger liar than he is (Neener neener, he got 24 Pinnochios, and I only got 23, so vote for me!) Those third party candidates are looking better all the time!
BTW, Ryan, I think that Obama used enough wiggle words in his original statement that Poltifact’s rating of Ryan ‘s statement as “false” is justified. Give Obama some credit for speaking carefully enough to make an impression he said something, without actually saying it!
BTW, every time someone says “Ryan” when they mean “Paul Ryan” I get all anxious. It’s been a difficult election for me. Hold me.
Yep. I don’t think that’s defensible in light of the outcome. Perhaps Obama should clarify his position then? “Oh, I didn’t specifically mean you folks in Janesville, just people like you who smell less like cheese.” Fixed.
But I guess Paul Ryan (anxious again) is suggesting that Obama should have pumped money into the GM plant? That doesn’t seem to fit with his fiscal hawkishness. So on that observation, Paul Ryan can’t have it both ways. Ryan, -1
Or maybe Paul Ryan is saying that this is an obvious outcome of the government picking winners and losers? Sophie’s Choice: Wisconsin version. Ryan, +1.
And I’m not defending Paul Ryan, per se, rather I’m more frustrated with the spin and the partisan apologetics. An inquiring nose can smell it like rotten cheese on the counter.
Yep to what Ryan said. The Nevada County Ryan that is!
You better hope the Repubs don’t win, or else some fool will name a hill or a rock after the VP. You’ll have climbers and gawkers clogging your driveway when the GPS goes on the fritz and sends them to “Ryan, Mount.”
Oh my, RL! (said in my George Takei voice). Welp, not sure what I’d do. I’d probably just stand on my porch and recites some lines from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. I’m not the VP, I’m just a naughty boy:
I honestly don’t think the Republicans are serious about winning. Well maybe they think they are, but they’re not looking that way.
But we have the Democrats coming up, and they never fail to disappoint. Hopefully Garrison Keillor will be there to talk about children and how they’re not a waste of time.
The conventions are still healthier for us than Dr. Oz.
Ryan, what wording would you suggest that Obama could have used to make his point that would not have gotten Ryan so upset?Below are the relevant definition of “like”. He might have said instead “of the same form and appearance” or “bearing resemblance” but when I heard it in all instances I got the same meaning, and I suspect the people of Janesville did as well.
1. of the same form, appearance, kind, character, amount, etc.: I cannot remember a like instance.
corresponding or agreeing in general or in some noticeable respect; similar; analogous: drawing, painting, and like arts.
Greg (can I call you Greg?)-
I would have preferred Obama to clarify his position and apologize to Janesville for, well, leading them down the primrose path as I’ve noted above. But a politician? Apologize? [taps fingers].
Capitalism profits; socialized losses. It’s insane.
BTW, they’re both douche bags. Probably “nice” guys in person, but in positions of authority? I bet both of them would love to shoot anonymous drone hellfires at third world villages. Five-fives all around for dismembered children. Not sure “love” is not the right word, but I’m pissed off. Perhaps a course in non-violent language is in my future. What I hear you saying is… 😉
Anyhow, again with P.J. O’Rourke who is one of the few people who can make government interesting:
“Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.”
While Ryan is wrong when he says Obama will cut $716 billion from Medicare benefits, Obama is disingenuous when he says cutting that amount of reimbursement to doctors and hospitals won’t impact Medicare recipients.
More doctors will stop taking Medicare patients and hospitals will be less enthusiastic about treating those who don’t have supplemental insurance. And if the shortfall is passed on to the insurers, guess what’s going to happen to my premiums.
Good point. At least some part of this amount, though, are presumably excesses. Apparently the Republicans, while crying fowl, are doing the exact same thing. What’s with that?
> What’s with that?
Tweedledee and Tweedledum? I think we need at least 2 more parties. Not that I would want to be a part of any party that would have me as a member:
– Social Democrats
– Christian Republicans
– Green Libertarians (not a contradiction)
– Ayn Rand “You’re an A**hole” Party*
Wait, we have those already.
*disclosure: I might have belonged to this at one time or another.
“And if the shortfall is passed on to the insurers, guess what’s going to happen to my premiums.”
What do you mean, “if the shortfall is passed onto the insurers”? There’s no “if”. It gets passed on to everyone they can pry a dime from. The only reason our 50% socialized medicine works now, with the government not paying the actual cost of the care delivered to the old and the poor, is that insurance companies (meaning those of us that have private insurance to spread the pain around) and the un- or under-insured pay more than their share.
Prying more from the private side than it can bear makes sense if what you are trying to do is socialize the last 50%.
What health care really needs is for all insurance and health expenditures to be either with before tax dollars or after tax dollars. Paying for health care by untaxed benefits only available from one’s employer is the root of much evil.