Archive for the ‘Mitt Romney’ Category

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10 Things I Love Post-Debate

October 17, 2012

1. I love my President. I especially love him when he’s confident and on his game:

Read the rest of this entry ?

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In Which I <3 Joe Biden

October 16, 2012

Again under the wire, and again my two cents are that everything you’ve heard about the most recent debate is missing the point. In this case, ever since the Veep debate ended, the dueling narratives have been Joe Biden Spanked Paul Ryan Like a Red-Headed Stepchild versus Joe Biden was Incredibly Rude, Disrespectful, and Possibly Insane. The first is much closer to the truth, but it’s not an analysis so much as it’s a gut reaction. Did I cheer Biden during the debate? YES. Did I do goofy fist-pumps when Biden explained that Afghan troops would be defending the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan? INDUBITABLY. Did I clap like Brendan Fraser at the Golden Globes when Biden looked straight in the camera to address senior citizens about Medicare?

HELL YES

But that was my initial reaction, as a Democrat and a Biden fangirl – and it probably wasn’t the way undecided voters saw things. No, what’s been missing from the analysis is analysis. No one is talking about what was actually said, and that’s a damn shame. The Vice President is well-regarded for his ability to speak the language of the middle class, of the average American – but what he says in that language shows that his brain is anything but average.

Joe Biden has been in politics almost my entire life, but it’s only been in the past few years that I recognized what an amazing gift he is to this country. Way back in December 2007, when I was already heavily involved in the Obama campaign despite being weeks away from the Iowa caucuses, I gathered with the other Obama faithful to watch one of the endless pre-season debates. One question asked about toxic paint found on children’s toys manufactured in China. One by one, the candidates – including my candidate – spoke powerfully about the need to amend our trade policy and our laws to ensure that this Never Happened Again. But when it was Biden’s turn, he exasperatedly pointed out that those provisions were already part of our trade agreements with China, and had been for decades. The laws were on the books; we just weren’t willing to fully fund the agencies that would inspect those goods and enforce those laws. I fell a little in love with him. Question after question, he knew everything about everything. He knew exactly what the applicable laws were. He knew exactly where the problems lay. He understood every foreign conflict they threw his way. And he was passionate and articulate and profoundly knowledgeable in precisely that way that doesn’t necessarily give the soundbites our news and our brains expect. I could easily imagine a news story about that debate which would frame his answer on the Chinese toys question as simply, “Obama, Clinton advocate tougher sanctions for Chinese Poison Toys; Biden says current laws are enough.” And you know what? Biden would still answer exactly the same.

I was thrilled when Obama chose him as his running mate, because what better counter to Obama’s cool detachment than Biden’s infectious warmth? And what better counterweight to Obama’s then-slim resume, than the man who knows everything about everything?

And yet, the man who knows everything about everything is strangely pilloried for gaffes, as if he were too dumb to know better. Biden’s “gaffes” are almost always full of unvarnished truth, profound understanding of the realities on the ground, and a whole, emotional engagement with the fate of this country. They  reflect just how passionate he is about making this country a better place. We aren’t used to our politicians emoting quite that much, because we aren’t used to our politicians genuinely caring that much. Earlier in the president’s term, Biden famously congratulated Obama on signing the Affordable Care Act by saying, “This is a big fucking deal!” You know what? IT WAS A BIG FUCKING DEAL. In a town of phonies and hyper-cautious calculators, Biden stands out simply because he still has human reactions.

Joe Biden was apparently rude and “disrespectful” to Eddie Haskell Paul Ryan because he actually, y’know, reacted to the words coming out of Ryan’s mouth. He smiled. He did double-takes. He shook his head. And he laughed when he heard the ridiculous lies that fall so easily from Ryan’s lips. Apparently, THIS look, this frozen smirk that shows the wearer has completely checked out mentally, is the “polite” way to listen in Washington:

But Biden can’t do that. Won’t do that. Shouldn’t do that. It’s a stupid thing to do, first of all, this “I know I’m on tv so I will betray no emotion other than polite (dis)interest.” But beyond that, what’s wrong with laughing at laughable lies?

We’re so bad at history in this country that no one seems to remember that Biden ran for President decades ago, and had a very good chance of winning the nomination. In 1987, he was raising money hand-over-fist. His speeches were fiery and well-received. And then, at the Iowa State Fair, he gave a speech, parts of which were modeled on a speech by an Irish leader. He’d given the speech many times, always citing Kinnock as his inspiration – but in the Iowa State Fair speech, he forgot to give Kinnock credit… and his campaign was effectively over. He had plaguerized, they said, he could not be trusted. It seems quaint, now, the idea that not citing your sources might besmirch your reputation for honesty, that this might be enough to make you unelectable. The GOP ticket has been running a post-truth campaign for months, lying again and again about the President’s record, about Obamacare and Medicare, and even about their own positions. And yet they are within reach of the White House. No one is suggesting Paul Ryan is unfit to serve because he lies, or that Romney, once caught in a falsehood, should’ve left the race. It hardly seems fair that Biden was once forced out of a race for a simple mistake that undermined his credibility, while Romney/Ryan may coast to the White House on wave of bullshit and the audacity of hype. Of course Biden laughed. This is ridiculous.

The Veep came out blazing on Thursday. His beautiful, nuanced answers put Paul Ryan’s facile platitudes to shame. Biden was asked why we don’t intervene in Syria’s revolution as we did in Libya’s. We don’t, he said, because they are very different countries – and then Biden told us exactly how they differ, and how that impacts our course. Ryan only spoke vaguely of not appearing “weak,” and tossed in the word “Iran” a couple of times. On Afghanistan, Ryan tried to argue that we were pulling troops out of the most dangerous regions – and Biden pounded home the reality that those troops are being replaced by Afghan troops, and point-blank demanded to know whether Ryan was saying we should place American troops in greater danger than their Afghan replacements. He explained and championed the Democratic policies on Medicare and Social Security, and held Ryan’s feet to the fire on the way his budget would effect the middle class and the poor. Every answer Biden gave was nuanced and detailed, while Ryan’s were nothing but empty platitudes. And that’s what analysts should have been talking about this week… but they weren’t.

Since the debate, Fox and the right have been going hard after Biden for his lack of “respect.” Fox News even showcased an “expert” to suggest that Biden’s behavior – which was exactly like all of Biden’s public behavior for the past 40 years – indicates that he either suffers from dementia or was drunk. It’s not just the guests, either – Mike Huckabee and Sean Hannity also claimed that Biden was an “obnoxious drunk” during the debate. Because of a family history with alcoholism, Joe Biden is a well-known teetotaler, but that is how sick these people are. They will defame a good man, a faithful public servant, and a brilliant mind, just to deflect attention from the truth of what he said. He beat them, and so they are trying to destroy his reputation. It shouldn’t be surprising – these are the same asshats who have slandered the President as an illegitimate, communist, socialist, fascist dictator out to destroy America, a radical Muslim extremist collaborating with our most violent enemies to destroy our country. If they can pin all of that on the POTUS, surely they can comfortably smear the elected Vice President of the United States as a demented old drunk.

But it does beg the question: how can they keep a straight face as they suggest that Biden’s the one who’s being “disrespectful”?

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A Word on the Debate – Not this One. The Last One.

October 11, 2012

I never got around to talking about last week’s Presidential debate, and here we are, moments from the VP showdown. Life is conspiring against blogging right now, but I feel the need to get in my two cents before the conversation shifts away, even if it is right under the wire.

It seems that ever since the final words were said last Wednesday, we’ve had two very different, equally useless conversations. The first is How Romney Beat Obama, also known as How Obama Lost the Debate. The second, and more bitter argument, is Why is the Media Saying Obama Lost When Romney Lied Again and Again?!?!? Here’s the thing, though. Obama DID lose. It’s not just because the media is spinning it so. He lost. He was listless and uninspiring, he let Romney say – over and over and over – that he had cut Medicare by 716 billion, and that Medicare recipients would be hurt by that cut. It’s a lie that’s been so thoroughly debunked I was surprised Romney had the balls to say it again – but not nearly as surprised as I was that Obama let him get away with it TEN TIMES. Yes, really. That’s how many times Mitt Romney mention “$716 billion in cuts to Medicare” during that debate – and the President never  challenged him. As for the assertion that the real story is that Mitt Romney lied, over and over – that’s not news. He repeated many of the same lies he’s told before. Now he says he’s going to use the next debate to “fact-check” the president. Outrageous, yes. Surprising? NO. The President had every reason to expect Romney to lie, every reason to be prepared, and he didn’t seem to be. So yes, cue wailing and gnashing of teeth….

Except for this… Romney had a bounce, but it’s almost gone. During the 2008 campaign, there were so many times when I – and everyone working that campaign with me – were frustrated that he wasn’t fighting harder when he was attacked, wasn’t getting angry. We wanted him to defend himself, we hated that he was letting himself get walked on. But every time, we were wrong. He didn’t need to get angry. He was smarter than that. (The sad truth is that this country may be ready for a black president, but it probably isn’t ready for an angry black president, and one flash of real anger could undo so much good.) Besides, it just isn’t who he is. When he was growing up in Indonesia, he learned to endure teasing and taunting without showing any reaction, and that surely has helped to endure the slander and garbage the GOP has attacked him with for years.

So next week, don’t expect Obama to come out angry. Do expect him to come out more focused, more in the moment, more ready to call Mitt on his lies. But even if he doesn’t – trust him. He knows what he’s doing. Pundits may shriek, and we may all weep and wail, but he’s the smartest man in that office in decades (and Bill was no mental slouch), and he’s not getting caught flat-footed again. Obama has a rebounding economy on his side. He has demographics on his side. He has the truth on his side. Americans like him more, and trust him more, for very good reasons. And whether he had the flu, or was just worn out from running the country AND a campaign, he’s not going to have another performance like that.

Of course tonight, I’m hoping to see Biden take Ryan to school.

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Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up?

October 3, 2012

After my last post, a friend of mine directed me to an article in Salon which points out that Romney can’t run on his most significant achievement – passing universal healthcare coverage in Massachusetts. Obama co-opted it and the GOP vilified it, so Romney’s had to campaign on repealing Obamacare. It was the one issue the Republican might have used to convince voters that he cares about them, that he understands their struggles, and it’s gone. When I read the Salon piece, I felt kind of sorry for Mitt Romney for a moment. It was the way I so often felt about John McCain in 2008; a sadness for him that he had been forced so far to the right by the most vocal, rabid voices in his party. But the feeling quickly passed. Whatever McCain’s motivations were, he made the choice to abandon his deeply held convictions to become his party’s nominee. To do that, he had to convince himself that he believed a lot of the far-right nonsense. He couldn’t just lie, he had to believe the lie himself. The tragedy of John McCain was that his party had no use for him as coalition-building moderate, a war hero who stood up for the Geneva Conventions. But McCain needed the party; somehow, he needed the validation so much that he gave up all that was special about him for a shot at the presidency. It’s tragic, and I say that without any irony or sarcasm. McCain had been a great man, with deeply-held convictions, but he sold himself out and got nothing in return.

That is not the story of Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney will say anything, take any position, if he thinks it will appeal to voters. He has demonstrated for months that he will lie, easily and often. In abandoning support for universal healthcare, Romney didn’t turn away from his core principles. Nothing in his biography suggests that universal coverage has ever meant anything to him. It was popular in Massachusetts. The nation was headed for healthcare reform, and with his presidential aspirations, it seemed to be a shrewd move. It didn’t pay off because his party lost its collective damn mind, but his work on healthcare had never reflected Mitt Romney’s true convictions. Mitt Romney’s True Conviction is simply “The Best for Mitt Romney.” This was his motivation when he was a young man protesting against opposing the draft (seriously, where does the GOP find these people?), while getting four years of deferments himself. The Best for Mitt Romney was his guiding star as he built a firm that sucked all the value out of the American companies for no reason other than exponentially increasing his own wealth and the wealth of a handful of other ludicrously wealthy individuals.* And since he entered politics, it has been his only True North. Mitt Romney doesn’t care about jobs, the environment, Israel, Iran, government regulations, aborted babies, farmers, auto workers, children, teachers, healthcare, the troops, or even taxes. Mitt Romney cares only for Mitt Romney – and if changing the tax code helps Mitt Romney, then that’s what Mitt Romney will do. Abandoning universal healthcare put him in a position to improve the world for Mitt Romney, so he pivoted on a dime. It’s what makes it so easy for him to shift positions – none of them have ever been anything but a means to his only end. Truth has no hold on him, because the Truth does not advance the cause of Romney’s Own Good. It’s a mind-bogglingly simple understanding of self-interest. We’ve had tons of corrupt pols in our history, but even they seemed to have some ethic outside of their own enrichment, or at least to be aware of the game they were playing with the world. Not so with Mitt Romney. He appears to be wholly unconcerned with ethics, with truth, with right or wrong. He has no political philosophy at all. Its not a that he’s a craven opportunist, or has been bullied to the right by his party. He’s just truly, deeply committed to making this a Better World for Mitt Romney.

“These colors really bring out my Mitt Romneyness.  Vertical stripes would make me look taller, though. Somebody get on that.”

* Yes, I am going to keep linking to that Rolling Stone article about Bain in every single post until you’ve all read it, why do you ask?

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Let Them Eat Cake! In the Ambulance! (The Problem with Romney’s Money, part 2)

September 27, 2012

I said in my last post that Mitt Romney’s wealth doesn’t disqualify him from the presidency, but that his attitude about his wealth, and the way he has let it shape his world view, are real problems. Not only does Romney have an incredible sense of entitlement, and a blindness to the privileges that have made his success possible, he also seems completely oblivious to the way ordinary Americans live.

A leader has the capacity of vision, the ability to see where things are headed before people in general see those things. That vision is typically a product, in part not just of their skill and brilliance, but even more of their experience, their life experience. And so if you’re looking for a leader to guide an economy, you hope that you have someone who didn’t just study it in school, but someone who’s actually lived in the economy.

That’s Mitt Romney, making a fine case against a Romney presidency on 60 Minutes. Romney’s great privilege has made his life experience so unlike that of most Americans, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is that he has risen to his party nomination for POTUS without showing any curiosity about how it is that most Americans live. This has led to some amazingly tone-deaf pronouncements from the candidate. “I like to fire people.” If you can’t afford college, “borrow money from your parents.” From the 60 Minutes interview, his plan for middle class tax relief – “eliminating the tax for middle-income families on interest, dividends, and capital gains” – as if these were even on the radar for most of us. And of course this gem:

Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we — if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and — and die. We — we pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care.

Oh. My. Lord. There really is not one single issue on which he can relate to people of average income, is there? Forget policy – forget that everyone knows that emergency room care is the least cost effective way to provide care for those without insurance. Forget that people without insurance don’t just have heart attacks – they get little things like strep throat that can become much worse things if untreated, but are a terrible use of ER resources. Forget, if you can, that a lot of people have serious medical issues – cancer comes to mind – that cannot be treated with in an emergency room visit. Forget, for a moment, that our hypothetical heart attack victim probably had hypothetical hypertension for years, and that if she had insurance she would have been treating her blood pressure and would not now need a $1,000 ambulance ride and several additional thousands of dollars in ER bills – in fact she’d never know that today was the day she would’ve had a heart attack. Instead, remember this:

Ann Romney has multiple sclerosis.

She has been under a doctor’s care for 14 years, and is almost certainly on a host of prescription medications to manage her condition. If she had been uninsured, she would not have been able to get insurance until Obamacare passed. If Obamacare is repealed, thousands of people diagnosed with MS will not be able to afford treatment, unless they bankrupt themselves paying for it out of pocket and become sufficiently poor to qualify for Medicaid. But even knowing all of that, Mitt Romney is determined to repeal it.

Speaking of Ann, she gave a lovely speech at the RNC about the idyllic poverty of the Romneys’ student days as a young married couple living off the sale of stock. Sawhorse tables and tuna and macaroni and cheese. See, she was saying, we know your struggle. We’ve lived it. But they never did. All the milk-crate furniture in the world doesn’t mean you know what struggling is – because poverty isn’t crazy-quilt carpeting or Hamburger Helper. Poverty is FEAR. The fear that comes from knowing you have no cushion, no safety net, no one you know who is in a position to help you. Poverty is having your wife diagnosed with MS and knowing you cannot help her because neither of your full-time jobs provides health insurance. Poverty is your kid having strep throat and missing school for a whole week instead of 2 days because you can’t afford the doctor. Poverty is knowing there’s a heart attack with your name on it, and no way to afford preventative care.  And far far too many Americans have lived with that fear. Not just the “very poor” Romney doesn’t concern himself with. Not just the 47% it is “not [his] job to worry about.” Far too many middle class Americans have inadequate or non-existent health insurance, and know that a serious illness would bankrupt them. And that is a condition that Willard Mitt Romney simply cannot fathom, and has never tried to comprehend – even when serious illness came to the woman he loves. Fear. Uncertainty. That’s what it means to “live in the economy,” Mitt. And you haven’t.

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He Really Does Think He Built That (The Problem with Romney’s Money, part 1)

September 24, 2012

First things first: I don’t have a problem with wealthy people. I certainly don’t think being wealthy disqualifies a person from being a great leader; some of our most accomplished Presidents have come from money. The Kennedys were practically gilded, and yet they were compassionate leaders, concerned with the welfare of the whole nation. So why is Mitt Romney’s wealth so troubling? The problem is not that he is an enormously, astonishingly wealthy man – it’s the attitude he has towards his wealth, and the way it has shaped his world view. There are several different facets of this: entitlement, obliviousness, and a lack of empathy, bordering on scorn  – aka, “I built it,” “Let them eat cake,” and “These are people who think they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing!”

I Built It! Mine! Mine! All Mine! I Owe the World NOTHING!

I’ve been meaning to write about Romney’s overwhelming sense of entitlement for a while now, and his remarks in the video leaked last week presented the perfect opportunity, but there was so much else there to address… News marches on. Romney was on 60 Minutes last night, saying more ridiculous, unforgivable things. Still, I really need to say my last word on the fundraiser video – I have to address the line that upset me more than all the rest. It’s a nothing line, in some ways, part of his introduction before he takes questions. It certainly hasn’t gotten the press that his infamous “47 percent” remark did:

By the way, both my dad and Ann’s dad did quite well in their life, but when they came to the end of their lives, and, and passed along inheritances to Ann and to me, we both decided to give it all away. So, I had inherited nothing. Everything that Ann and I have we earned the old-fashioned way, and that’s by hard work.

Full transcript at Mother Jones.

I don’t doubt that Romney gave away his inheritance from his father, let’s be clear. (Though it is incredibly charitable of me to trust anything he says, given his habit of lying about anything and everything.) By the time his father passed away in 1995, Mitt was already a multi-millionaire. What boggles my mind is that Mitt doesn’t see the privilege that has shaped every moment of his life. He takes full credit for his own success. In most people, this would just be obnoxious and narcissistic, but given that he’s running for president it becomes more troubling. By being blind to his own privilege, Romney is oblivious to the realities that constrain and obstruct the lives of the other 99 percent of the American people. I’m not begrudging Mitt Romney his wealth, just his inability to acknowledge that he was dealt a very good hand.

So what if he didn’t inherit huge sums of money? He grew up here:

He went to private prep school before attending Brigham Young University and then Harvard, and then embarked on his illustrious career bleeding other people’s businesses dry for huge personal profits. (If you haven’t read Matt Taibbi’s excellent article in Rolling Stone about Romney’s career at Bain, stop, drop everything, and read it now. Then share it with everyone you know who thinks Romney would be good for America because he understands business.) Did he work his ass off, in school and in business? Absolutely. Did the fact that his father was George Romney – wealthy automobile executive, former Governor of Michigan, serious contender for the Presidency – open doors for him every step of the way? Of course. To say nothing of all the doors that simply are open to handsome, rich white men in our society and are locked or even invisible to the rest of  us. To acknowledge only his own effort, and not the privilege he was born into, or luck along the way, is to pretend that everyone has the same opportunities.

This is important to understanding the Republican’s mentality this year. They designed their entire convention around intentionally misunderstanding Obama’s suggestion that they didn’t build their fortunes alone, as if existing in a society is an anathema to them. I suppose it is. Society requires sacrifice, shared goals, compromise, and a sense of responsibility for one another. The GOP prefers the radical Randian vision of extreme social Darwinism – the poor don’t deserve a hand up; they had the same chance as anyone. Look at Mitt Romney, after all. He didn’t have any help from his dad, but he worked hard, and now he’s a billionaire! Why can’t you do that, kids growing up in the projects? Why don’t you start an investment firm, single mother of three? Why aren’t you growing your stock portfolio, college graduate who pays a thousand dollars a month in student loan debt?

It’s slander. Slander against the millions of people who work day and night at crap jobs and still can’t cover their basic needs. Slander against immigrants – documented or undocumented – who work backbreaking days harvesting crops so that all of us can eat. Slander against their bright, articulate children who have no chance to go to college because they fear deportation for themselves or their parents. Slander against people who worked for forty years for a company just to see their 401K evaporate in a Wall Street shell game. Slander against every single person who didn’t have the keys to Wall Street handed to them as a birthright. But Mitt Romney really doesn’t see it that way.

“Oh, you were born with a silver spoon,” you know, “You never had to earn anything,” and so forth. And, and frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you could have, which is to get born in America. I’ll tell ya, there is—95 percent of life is set up for you if you’re born in this country. 

Yes – yes, it is, but it isn’t set up the same for everyone. I don’t think Mitt Romney can accept that, anymore than his super-wealthy donors can. They peevishly need to believe they are entitled to have so much more than the rest of us by virtue of their hard work – even if their wealth came at the cost of thousands of jobs lost for other Americans (seriously, go read that Rolling Stone article). The “ruling class” used to have some sense of responsibility toward their community, some sense of true citizenship, that they’ve lost. They don’t want legacies anymore, they simply want more for themselves. They can’t even acknowledge the unevenness of the playing field, because that would challenge their sense of entitlement. No, they insist, THEY built that, and don’t you dare suggest they don’t deserve every blessed penny of it.

Romney/Ryan 2012: All the Noblesse, None of the Oblige.

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View Inside the Bubble

September 19, 2012

I just listened to the entire video of Mitt Romney’s remarks at a fundraiser in Florida, not out of masochism, but because I knew I’d be missing something important if I just read the transcript. There were certain specific lines I want to write about, but for today, I’m just struck by the surreal setting. A privileged group of people have convened in a palatial private home, eating a fine, fine dinner (reference is made again and again to the excellence of the food). They have paid $50,000 each for the right to hear and to talk to a Presidential candidate. $50,000 is the median household income in this country. They banter with Romney, he calls on them by name as he’s taking questions. Several commentators have noted that in this video, Romney sounds more relaxed and less robotic, and they’re right. This Romney is completely at ease; he cracks jokes (about undocumented immigrants), and laughs at the audience’s jokes (about Elizabeth Warren). This is his world, these are his people.

It was his second such fundraiser that day. Ann Romney was in Texas, at a similar fundraiser. At one point on the video, he states, “[on] a typical day,… I do three or four events like this.” This is what campaigning is, now. It’s not just Republicans, by any stretch. President Obama attended two fundraisers in New York yesterday – one with a price of $12,500 per family, the other hosted by Jay Z and Beyonce, at a cost of $40,000 per person.

I knew this. And you know this. We know that politicians – ALL politicians – complain that all of their time is consumed in fundraising, rather than more productive pursuits like meeting with regular constituents, writing intelligent bills, trying to break logjams in the legislature. I was always focused on the corruption that’s possible when you depend so much on people giving you money. What I didn’t grasp was that it’s so very very insular, and how damaging that can be to a politician’s understanding of the world. Hyper-wealthy people speaking to other hyper-wealthy people who all already agree with them. The people in the Mother Jones video have no concept of living paycheck-to-paycheck. They don’t KNOW anyone who does. They cannot fathom what the economic collapse of 2008 did to American families. They simply do not understand what it means to a middle-class family when the major breadwinner loses his or her job, and they see their lifesavings evaporate as they try to find work. They have no idea what it feels like to have no savings, no retirement plan, and no way pay for your kids’ college that doesn’t involve loading them with crippling debt. Full-time work at minimum wage leaves people well below the poverty line, yet the individuals who have all of the candidates’ time and attention are the very ones who send jobs overseas to avoid paying employees a living wage here. No wonder Romney found it so easy to dismiss those who receive any federal funds – no one he ever interacts with understands what it’s like to need help to feed your children. Instead, Romney and his donors have an overwhelming sense of entitlement, and the horrifically skewed perspective that comes with that. They speak the clubby language of wealth and self-congratulations, and eventually, that becomes they only language they can understand.