“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
Ashley O’Connor, Romney TV Advertising Strategist
Ohio Governor John Kasich’s Little Lie
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.”
Even a Republican architect of the law, Ron Haskins, told NPR: “There’s no plausible scenario under which it really constitutes a serious attack on welfare reform.”
But the GOP’s Big Lie beat goes on…
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s Big Lie
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.
6 responses to “Republican National Convention Day One: One Little Lie & Two Big Lies…”
Great job as always Pablo, if you’re going to write about every night of the convention, I’m going to have to read it! Here is something I noticed-lots of talk about how their parents or grandparents struggled to make it, but no mention of any of them going thru a similar struggle. Because they have not. So your ancestors having to struggle to make it means you understand what that’s like? Really?
I also liked when Governor McBullyBelly talked about his dad getting an education thru the GI Bill(as did my Dad, the middle class was more or less created by the GI Bill), on a night when they went so overreach overboard on the We Built It crap. Nuance, irony, none of these are things they are very good at
Fact is, the GI BIll would not pass Paul Ryan’s GOP-Tea Bag House of Reps.
I can’t wait until Bill Clinton gets up to speak at the Democrat’s convention (the one that is really going to emphasize women’s rights), because he just loves women.
Really, Bob? Is that the best you can do? A cheap (and very, very old) Bill Clinton joke? Still, I must credit you for recognizing that the DNC will be the party convention that is really going to emphasize women’s rights. That’s no joke.
Not the best, but you have to take these things in chronological order. I look at Bill’s “women problem” as a key point in Democrat party politics where a bargain was struck to overlook some pretty reprehensible behavior. The fact that he had several senior women in his administration and democrat-aligned organizations stand in front of cameras to defend him while he knew the truth should be viewed as completely unforgivable. That it’s not, makes a mockery of the party.
I “enjoy” the hypocracies of both parties, and I hope to continue to read your take-down of the Republicans for some time to come. I hope you’ll occasionally apply your humorous skills in the sense of striving for “fairness” (as is a popular theme in Dem-circles) to the Democrats.
Bob, my friend. I will always call ’em as I see ’em.