Ashley O’Connor, Romney TV Advertising Strategist
In his address to the Republican National Convention tonight, John Kasich stretched the truth like well-chewed taffy by claiming that President Obama’s policies haven’t helped Ohio’s economy rebound in the past two years. But, by ignoring the positive boost that Obama gave Ohio by bailing out the auto industry and providing much-needed transportation funding and dollars for teachers, firefighters, and cops, etc. through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AKA “The Stimulus”), Kasich was telling a lie of omission. It was a big lie, but a subtle one.
But there was another lie that Kasich told toward the end of his speech – a little lie, an unnecessary lie, an easily debunked lie – that shows how little he regards the truth when he’s looking to score a point or belittle an opponent.
After having made his case for what he’s done to fix Ohio’s economy, and therefore what the GOP can do for the nation, Kasich took on Vice President Joe Biden. “Folks, let me tell you this,” he said, “Joe Biden disputes a lot of those facts, but Joe Biden told me that he was a good golfer. And I’ve played golf with Joe Biden, I can tell you that’s not true, as well as all of the other things that he says.”
But how good a golfer is Joe Biden really? In a recent Golf Digest ranking of 150 prominent Washington golfers, House Speaker John Boehner was ranked 43rd, President Obama was 108th – and Joe Biden was ranked 29th. Kasich, who doesn’t live in Washington, didn’t make the list. But, as a golfer, Kasich is no Joe Biden. And as an honest politician, he’s even worse.
So what about the facts? Republicans just say what they want to say – the facts be damned — even when it comes to little things.
Former GOP Candidate Rick Santorum’s Big Lie
In his speech, Rick Santorum built upon the Romney campaign’s Big Lie about Obama gutting the welfare work rules. In a loud dog whistle to low information white working class voters, Santorum continued to peddle the nonsense that Obama has unilaterally waived work rules to make it easier for (we presume the shiftless minority poor folk) to collect welfare money for nothing.
By waiving the work requirement, Santorum accused Obama of “acting as if he’s above the law.” But the fact is that President Obama HAS NOT done what Santorum and the Romney campaign have charged. What the President DID DO is, at the request of a bipartisan group of state governors, give those state more flexibility in interpreting the work requirements so that they can get people placed in jobs faster and more efficiently: the very opposite of the GOP Big Lie.
But don’t take my word for it. The fact-checking website PolitiFact says Romney’s claims are “pants on fire” bogus and The Washington Post’s fact checker awarded the Romney campaigns welfare attack on Obama four Pinocchios, its highest rating. And Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org agreed that the claims are false.
“A Mitt Romney TV ad claims the Obama administration has adopted ‘a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.’ The plan does neither of those things.”
“Work requirements are not simply being ‘dropped.’ States may now change the requirements — revising, adding or eliminating them — as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase job placement.”
“And it won’t ‘gut’ the 1996 law to ease the requirement. Benefits still won’t be paid beyond an allotted time, whether the recipient is working or not.”
But the GOP’s Big Lie beat goes on…
The “you didn’t build that” canard is alive and well – and bigger than ever. In her convention speech, Nikki Haley amplified the utterly bogus assertion that President Obama said that American business people didn’t build their own businesses.
Let’s make this perfectly clear. Here’s what President Obama really said:
“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
The Romney campaign pulled one line out of context – “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that” – and ignores the context to create a Big Lie. No matter that Obama’s whole speech is on video, no matter that I was able to Google it for this article in a matter of seconds. Say a lie loud enough and long enough – with all that billionaire super pac money to broasdcast that lie – and the truth no longer matters.
But, here again, don’t take my word for it. Here’s the word from the Romney campaign itself:
“Our most effective ad is our welfare ad,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a forum hosted by ABC News and Yahoo! News. “Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
Caveat emptor my fellow Americans.