Archive for the ‘Propaganda’ Category

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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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Mitt Romney Bellyfeels Black-white Marketcare

September 10, 2012

Mitt Romney made news on Sunday, telling “Meet the Press” that, while he intends to repeal Obamacare, he will replace it with his own plan:

“Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.”

via Huffington Post

Within hours, his campaign issued a “clarification,” denying that Romney meant he’d impose a federal mandate:

[T]here has been no change in the Republican nominee’s position. “[I]n a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for,” the aide said. “He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.”

We all know Romney won’t get Republican support for a mandate, and “the market” is exactly why insurers don’t cover pre-existing conditions – it would cost them too much money. What’s interesting, though, is how perfectly this highlights the Republican relationship with truth in this campaign. It’s not just that they lie – about everything, daily, in speeches, in ads, at the convention, and with no compunction – it’s that they don’t CARE what they are saying, as long as it gets them the votes and money they need.

The most well-known example of their disdain for the truth is one of Romney’s ads focussing on welfare, which baldly asserts, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check, and ‘welfare to work’ goes back to being plain old welfare.” It has been firmly established that this is untrue, that Obama’s changes instead assisted states in moving people OFF of welfare, and into work. The ad keeps running, though, and the Romney camp’s glib response  – “[W]e’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers” – makes it clear how little they care about the truth. Fact-checkers, they remarked, have “jumped the shark.” Republicans have been sowing the seeds for a “post-truth” campaign for a long time now. Their persistent attacks on global warming and the teaching of evolution are part of a greater pattern of reshaping political discourse so that inconvenient reality can’t intrude. Any rational arguments against their policies are labeled as “socialist,” or written off as “spin.” It’s sad, and horrifying, how many American voters now truly believe that science cannot establish facts, that statistics always lie, that facts are always tainted by bias and cannot be trusted. The GOP have created a environment dedicated to spin and falsehood, and have managed to convince their audience that everyone else is lying.

It’s almost perfect Orwellian Newspeak, redefining language so that words have no meaning. Romney intends to keep the parts of Obamacare that voters really want – by letting the market provide them! Now they just need to come up with the perfect meaningless doublethink word for this, something like “marketcare.” Their voters will eat it up. After all, six percent of Ohio voters believe Romney deserves more credit for Bin Laden’s capture than Obama does, and a full 31% are “not sure” which of the two men deserves more credit.  It makes sense. After all, under the Republican way of thinking, there’s no way we can ever know for certain which of the two men ordered the raid….