Such a lonely word

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Jamelle Bouie: “Why Romney keeps lying about Obama and welfare”

It’s been three weeks since Mitt Romney first took fire for asserting that the Obama administration “gutted” work requirements in welfare. When the first ad was released, PolitiFact took the lead in debunking its claim that under Obama’s plan, “they just send you your welfare check,” giving it the highest rating of “Pants on Fire.” FactCheck.org followed suit, and the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler offered a similar denunciation, giving the ad “four Pinnochios.”

But this didn’t deter the Romney campaign. The following week, they released another ad using a similar message. Independent observers again hit Romney’s dishonesty, and a key Republican architect of welfare reform said that “there’s no plausible scenario under which [the change] really constitutes a serious attack on welfare reform.”

… It’s almost certain that Team Romney has heard these complaints, and just doesn’t care about them. Not only has Romney made this a key part of his stump speech — promising to “return work to welfare” — but this morning, he released yet another ad making the same claims.

Alec MacGillis: “The Welfare Card and the Post-Truth Campaign”

One of the more depressing parts of the job of being a political reporter is watching an audience fully absorb a blatant and knowing lie. Which is, of course, what this is. Countless factcheckers — here is one of many — have unequivocally rejected the assertion that Obama has ended the work requirement. His administration has instead granted more leeway to states, including several with Republican governors, to explore new ways to get people onto welfare into jobs, with the proviso that their new approaches must increase the share of recipients with jobs.

But this has not stopped Romney (the son of a pro-safety net former HUD secretary!) or Paul Ryan, who is also using the line on the trail. Meanwhile, the campaign has launched two ads with the welfare charge, which are running in heavy circulation. Clearly, the campaign has reason to believe the attack is working, and why not? It’s no secret that working-class Americans deeply resent those just below them on the economic ladder whom they see as getting undeserved assistance; it’s also no secret that politicians have been especially effective at stoking this resentment among white working-class voters, such as the all-white audience in Beallsville, toward an unseen nonwhite other.

Ezra Klein: “The worst case against the Obama administration”

But [Niall] Ferguson says he wasn’t confused. Rather, he phrased his original comments very carefully in order to deceive his readers. You see, Ferguson specified that he was only talking about the “insurance-coverage provisions,” and so, if you happen to be an employee of the Congressional Budget Office and you’re aware of the difference between these reports, you would’ve understood that when Ferguson wrote —

 The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period.

— that the first sentence and the second sentence had nothing to do with each other. Of course, most people are not employees of the CBO, and so they just got tricked. In the pages of Newsweek. Bummer for them.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: “Dishonesty Is the Seventh Killer App”

Dishonesty of this sort is insidious. It can’t be dismissed with the ease of plagiarism or manufactured evidence. As long you’re not egregious, you can actually make a career as respectable public intellectual, and occasionally lie. No one will stop you. Almost no one cares.

Bryan Bender and Brian MacQuarrie: “Ryan sought stimulus funds while decrying program”

In 2009, as Rep. Paul D. Ryan was railing against President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package as a “wasteful spending spree,” he wrote at least four letters to Obama’s secretary of energy asking that millions of dollars from the program be granted to a pair of Wisconsin conservation groups, according to documents obtained by the Globe.

“… their project will allow residents and businesses in the partner cities to reduce their energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and stimulate the local economy by creating new jobs,” Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu on December 18, 2009, on behalf of the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation.

Kevin Spak: “Ryan: I Asked for Stimulus Money by Accident”

Paul Ryan has repeatedly denied that he requested funds for Wisconsin businesses from Barack Obama’s signature stimulus bill, despite documented evidence to the contrary. Yesterday he finally admitted he had — but said he hadn’t realized he was doing it. Ryan’s stimulating ways first came to light in a 2010 Wall Street Journal report. In an interview at the time, Ryan said he wouldn’t vote against something “then write to the government to ask them to send us money.”

But the Boston Globe reported this week that Ryan did just that, sending at least four letters to the Department of Energy on behalf of two Wisconsin companies looking to develop “green jobs.” Ryan again denied those reports yesterday, before finally backtracking …

(On Ryan’s repeated false denials, see also Steve Benen, Rebecca Schoenkopf & Philip Bump.)

Adam Kotsko: “Romney’s nihilism”

There’s something deeply disturbing about this infamous video where Romney seems genuinely offended that his Democratic opponent would accuse him of being less than 100 percent pro-choice.

Steve Benen: “Breaking new ground in Chutzpah Politics”

What’s remarkable is just how spectacularly dishonest Romney is. It’s like he heard about an award that goes to the lyingest liar who ever lied in the history of liars, and Romney’s so eager to win the award that he’s becoming a parody of himself.

Reality is actually quite simple. Republicans argue that Medicare savings are necessary for the health of the program, and Obama found such savings, without touching Medicare benefits, and while strengthening the financial health of the system. The savings are so sensible, they’re part of Paul Ryan’s Republican budget plan — which Romney has endorsed.

Jay Rosen: “Everything That’s Wrong with Political Journalism in One Washington Post Item”

Fight for what is true. That is how I would put the alternative to “first, show you’re savvy.” From this point of view, it is a regrettable loss for the polity, and for political journalism – and for the voters, the public – when dubious claims gain traction and quotes pulled from their context appear to “work.” What the press can do to prevent this is try to raise the costs of making false or misleading claims, which is the whole point of fact-checking.

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  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You know, everybody needs to read Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason. He makes a cogent case that properly wielded, the advent of the widespread Internet in the form of easy access to the World Wide Web opens up the possibility of effectively and quickly challenging the established Republican-manufactured political consensus about the state of affairs in the USA.

  • LoneWolf343

     I would argue that it already has. It’s just a matter of getting people to listen.

  • aunursa
  • JonathanPelikan

    Error: Townhall detected. All who proceed through aunursa’s latest link do so at their own risk.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I haven’t heard of Townhall: what’s the problem?

  • Nathaniel

     It’s reputation for honesty free of bias is slightly more convincing than Ann Coulter’s.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    What’s your point?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Romney also asserts he hasn’t paid a lower income tax rate than 13 percent in the last ten years, but that number cannot be confirmed without further documentation.

    13 percent

    13 percent

    13 percent

    Unfuckingbelievable. The lowest Canadian marginal tax rate is 15%.

    And Romney’s buddies complain about even paying that much. God, what a bunch of entitled assholes they all are.

    God, I have never wanted to live in 1955 so badly now.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Does Canada tax income from capital gains and interest below income from other sources? If so, I’m sure Canada’s got at least one person who paid under fifteen percent tax on zir millions.

    And yeah. Being female, queer, and not at all inclined to be an obedient little housewife and mother, I would hate living in the 1950s, but the people who wrote the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 were awesome people can we have them back now.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And yes, there’s differential treatment of interest and capital gains income. The inclusion ratio is 50 to 75%, last I remember, so you’re right, statutorily someone could be paying less than the income-based tax rate, but that’s rare at the income levels we’re talking about.

    Speaking of having them back, do you remember a certain movie called Freejack? :P

  • EllieMurasaki

    So Canada’s sensible. Good to know.

    I do not. IMDB was not particularly enlightening, either–all it told me was that the movie focuses on somebody kidnapped from one point in time so that his body could be taken over by some rich guy who didn’t care for being disabled. Also that the budget was most of twice the ticket sales, which tells me that the movie appeals to pretty much nobody.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ah, but the concept of plucking people out of time would be quite useful. :P

  • EllieMurasaki

    This is true.

  • Lee B.

     From tonight’s Letterman: “13 percent?  Al Capone paid more than that!”

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’ll say. My income tax last year was 29% of my total income.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also: That 15% is the Canadian federal marginal tax rate. As a rough average the combined federal-provincial bottom marginal tax rate would be around 22%.

  • Wingedwyrm

    All they’re trying to do is say bad things about Obama.  And, to be fair, they’d have the same lack of nobility of purpose no matter the race or sex of the one in the whitehouse.  This is why they can repeat the line “he cares more about getting elected than he does about the American people” and not a single once provide the slightest bit of reasoning behind how they come to that conclusion.  This is why they can repeat a blatant lie regardless of how easy it is to find them out.  The simple truth is that their audience, the base they want fired up in order to go to the voting booths, couldn’t care less about the truth if you paid them.

    “Obamacare takes away our freedoms!”  It doesn’t mean what the words say it means.  It translates to “something bad about Obama and the ACA!”  That’s all.  “Obamacare guts the work requirements for welfare” does not mean that people who need welfare are going to face any lighter of requirements now than they did before.  It means “Something bad about Obama and the ACA!”

    If Romney and Ryan would just thump the podium and yell “Obama bad!” it would have the exact same content that they’re trying to convey and the exact same content that their base wants to hear.  Everything else, things about the ACA, things about Obama’s motivations, things about the fervency of Obama’s patriotism, etc.  Claiming that Obama said you didn’t make your own business that you own.  These are only multisyllabul figleaves to cover up the fact that the only thing they really care about, the only reason Obama earns their ire so, is that Obama is a Democrat who insists upon being in the oval office and doing things.

  • http://openid.aol.com/proteusfirma Haven

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/republicans-condemn-akins-comments-as-blemish-on-p,29259/ It’s kind of sad that this is barely even a parody. 

    (Relatedly, if someone you know actually believed Romney trying to distance himself from this, point them here. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/20/first-on-cnn-gop-prepares-tough-anti-abortion-platform/?hpt=hp_t2)

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra
  • Tonio

    “Informed consent” is the bullshit notion that deep down all women want to be mothers, and that the ones who don’t are in either ignorance or willful denial. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    “Informed consent” is the bullshit notion that deep down all women want
    to be mothers, and that the ones who don’t are in either ignorance or
    willful denial.

    While I’m sure that’s what the GOP means by the term (though obviously they don’t think of it as bullshit), the rest of us think words mean things. I would actually have no objection to requiring a woman wanting an abortion to first be informed about the potential risks and consequences of either course of action, except for the minor detail that any attempt I make to get such a law passed would be hijacked by people wanting ‘informed consent’ to mean what you say rather than what I think. I’d be fine with having the women pass a quiz to prove they informed themselves and thus skip us informing them, for example, and have fun getting that bit past the GOP.

  • The_L1985

    Not just that we want to be mothers, but that we all want to be mothers right now. I want kids, but not immediately!

  • michael mcshea

    Bishop Romney’s church books work as a trade or scrip currency in members’ dues, tithes to their church. I begin to think that the joke among Reagan with his cronies over cocktails about “welfare queens” was merely code humor about yes I cheat on or do not pay my fair share of taxes.  So too, Bishop Romney wants the children of those “welfare queens” to cut the grass outside the local stake church for free, at the insistence of the state, chain gang or not, those children of God not being welcome inside. Free lunch for the LDS by any other name?

  • Matri

    I called it. Republicans are guaranteed to lie.

    It’s practically become universal law: The chemical formula for water is H2O, color is the reflection of certain wavelengths of light, the Earth makes one full rotation around the Sun in approximately 356.25 planetary rotations, the atomic weight of thallium is 204.38, Republicans will never tell the truth…

    It’s a constant.

  • Matri

    GAH! 365.25! I typed 65, why did it put 56??

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Not only do Republicans never tell the truth, they usually say such things so utterly, completely, and blatantly false that they have absolutely NO contact with reality. 

    Psychologists use the phrase “psychotic break” to describe someone who has mentally severed all contact with the real world and is living completely inside the world of his or her own imagination.  I think the Republican Party has reached that state.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     So, I have a question for the commentariat in general: is there a preferred way to respond here to statements like “Republicans never tell the truth” that respects the fact that, for example, my Republican mom is not especially dishonest, but that doesn’t get treated as though it were a defense of Republican policies?

  • Magic_Cracker

    What if the maxim were modified to “Republic politicians never tell the truth”?

  • Tonio

    One way might be to point out that use of absolute terms like “never” and “always” is a mistake both intellectually and emotionally. Intellectually, because the only absolute we know in life is that it’s finite, and shifts the debate into proving or disproving the absolute. Emotionally, because it just attracts defensiveness like Aunursa’s. The issue is not whether your mother is honest, it’s that she favors policies that are cruel.

  • Lori

    I think that when people say “Republicans never tell the truth” they mean the public face of the GOP, not every single person who votes Republican. My family members aren’t liars either, but pretty much everyone from whom they get information and who they trust is a liar which means they routinely say untrue things.

    Your mom: a lovely person, I’m sure.

    Republican politicians & party operatives, Fox News, most Right wing bloggers: lying liars who lie

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Probably the same thing that a lot of people try to do regarding, say, Catholics.  Remind people that the hierarchy and the laity aren’t the same.

    The difficulty is that the argument is much easier to make that a given Catholic isn’t responsible for the actions of the bishops than it is to make the argument that a given Republican isn’t responsible for the actions of the politicians.

    Any given action, sure.  Leadership never precisely matches the will of those in the party, but when talking about how Republican Politicians act in general an individual Republican has a lot more control over what the public face of the party does than an individual Catholic ever will.

    Every two years or more (not all elections happen on even numbered years) every single Republican eligible to vote has the opportunity to vote to change the outcome.  If they keep on voting for the kinds of Republicans that we see in office today, they’re pretty well complicit.

    (As for why Catholics are being used as an example by me, they recently came up over at Ana Mardoll’s.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    “Republican politicians never tell the truth”? Or is she a politician rather than a rank-and-file?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    My mom, you mean? No, she’s not a politician, she’s a retired office worker living in Florida.

    As I said to Magic_cracker earlier, I’m not really interested here in telling other people how they ought to express themselves.

    I mean, I would certainly agree that “Republican politicians never tell the truth” would be read as a personal insult by fewer people than “Republicans never tell the truth.” And it would be closer to literally true, if only by virtue of being literally false about fewer people.

    But all that’s kind of obvious; it would be incredibly presumptuous of me to assume that anyone needs me to tell them that.

    That said, I would feel less obliged to make myself a target by pointing it out were it a statement about politicians… mostly because, rightly or wrongly, I don’t care too much about the personal feelings of politicians.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh yes. I once half facetiously made a joke here, in which I said, “How do I know a Republican politician is lying?” Answer: “Their mouth is moving.”

  • Emerson Yael

    Y’know there are plenty of legitimate beefs to have about Obama beyond the whole “secret socialist muslim fascist” bit. I’m surprised none of these Republican conspiracy nuts aren’t going, well, nuts over the whole “Kill List” bit. Isn’t this the kind of government intrusion and abuse of power they normally rail against?  But I’m also disappointed that the same people who railed against Bush II when he committed grotesque human rights violations, don’t seem to care about Obama’s human right violations. Can we agree that it’s wrong to indefinitely detain someone or torture them or execute them without the benefit of a trial, regardless of who’s doing it?
     
    This is why I’m not looking forward to the election. Yeah, Romney’s blatantly in favor of screwing the poor and laughing at human rights, but Obama’s currently no great shakes in either department.

    BTW: My computer was screwing up the whole commenting thing. Sorry to have to hijack yours in order to post, Invisible Neutrino.

  • Lori

    I’m surprised none of these Republican conspiracy nuts aren’t going,
    well, nuts over the whole “Kill List” bit. Isn’t this the kind of
    government intrusion and abuse of power they normally rail against?

    You’d think, but it turns out they only care about it if the government is intruding on white guys with guns. As long as the list is only for “those people” it’s OK. They’ll pitch a fit about a totally imaginary plan to Take Away All The Guns, but using drones to execute people without trial is A-OK as long as the people are brown and the drones are only bombing people in other places.

     

     But
    I’m also disappointed that the same people who railed against Bush II
    when he committed grotesque human rights violations, don’t seem to care
    about Obama’s human right violations. Can we agree that it’s wrong to
    indefinitely detain someone or torture them or execute them without the
    benefit of a trial, regardless of who’s doing it? 

    Yes, we can agree on that. One of the reasons I was so angry that no one reigned in Shrub’s actions is that once something becomes established practice, no matter how horrible or unconstitutional or just plain wrong it is, the next guy will do it too and it will keep growing until it reaches a crisis point.

    The reason that I don’t talk about Obama’s human rights record in the context of the election is that replacing Obama with Romney won’t fix anything*. Voting Obama out of office won’t “send a message about human rights” and the next guy to have the job will not only keep the current policies, but will likely extend them. Fixing the human rights nightmare that we started after 9/11 is going to require action by Congress or the courts. I honestly have no idea what it will take to get one or the other to do something effective.

    *In fact it will almost certainly make it worse because of Romney’s relationship to the more extreme elements in the GOP.

  • Tonio

    The reason that I don’t talk about Obama’s human rights record in the context of the election is that replacing Obama with Romney won’t fix anything*. Voting Obama out of office won’t “send a message about human rights” and the next guy to have the job will not only keep the current policies, but will likely extend them. Fixing the human rights nightmare that we started after 9/11 is going to require action by Congress or the courts. I honestly have no idea what it will take to get one or the other to do something effective.

    You’ve just crystallized my stance on the matter. Looking more broadly, Obama hasn’t done enough to make US society more just, but I liked the measures he’s taken toward that goal. His statement condemning Akin and Ryan was on point. He gets it. I wish that the candidate facing Obama in November was the centrist Romney who governed Massachusetts instead of the current panderer whose economic plans amount to oligarchy – that might encourage Obama to push harder for justice. 

  • http://mousehole-mouse.blogspot.com/?zx=500aaee65c6e185f Mouse

    Again, I know electing Romney won’t fix any of the things I’ve mentioned regarding human rights and all that, but you’ll have to demonstrate the Obama will actually do something, not just say, but do something regarding those things. And don’t say he can’t because all those mean widdle Republicans will stop him: he couldn’t do anything even at the beginning of his term when his party controlled the house and senate in addition to the executive branch. Which is another thing that drives me crazy about Obama: the whole “bipartisan reaching across the aisle” thing. Bush II just had to say “National Security” and he could get whatever he wanted passed, but Obama’s all “we got reach across the aisle to people who’ve clearly said that they’re going to oppose me no matter what I do.”

    Also, it bugs me, the way so many are silent about Obama’s kill list. Like nobody, not even he, would abuse the power to execute anyone they see fit without trial, even if they’re an American citizen as proven in the Awlaki case.  Even if we suppose that all the people being killed by drones are totally evil that’s still entirely too much power for the POTUS to have. Because eventually, you’ll get someone in office who isn’t as scrupulous and they will abuse that power. I can’t believe people don’t understand that. Abuse of power is abuse of power regardless of who’s abusing it.  

    BTW, I am Emerson Yael. Again, computer was acting funky.

  • Lori

    I don’t think you’re responding to what I actually wrote. It’s fine if you just want to vent about the situation because it’s frustrating to you, but what you’re complaining about isn’t what I said.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I, personally, don’t believe that elections ever really produce equally bad options.  Even when there’s no one that you can really morally approve of, I believe that there’s always a worse option.  And it’s important to stop that worse option from being chosen because the difference tends to be measured in lives.

    So right now I’m focused on not getting Romney, because for all Obama has done wrong I believe a Romney administration would be so much worse.

    This is a place where I agree with my registered Republican sister actually.

    In fact, she wants Romney to win because she thinks he’ll be so much worse and do so much damage to so many people that the result will be revolution.  I highly doubt that, I don’t think the US has revolution left in it, and even if it did I don’t think the outcome would be good, and even if it were I don’t think it would be worth the cost.

    But I do think that a Romney-Ryan administration would destroy more lives, abroad and at home, than a second Obama term ever would.  So right now my focus is on Romney.

    Assuming that that cliff is avoided then we can hopefully get to work on making things better instead of stopping them from getting worse.  But making things better is a much longer and more involved process.  It’s easy to make things worse, hard to make them better.

    I’ve written some on this before, if anyone is interested:
    On the election right in front of you and the slow process of getting better elections in front of you in the future.

    On my sister’s thinking.

  • http://mousehole-mouse.blogspot.com/?zx=500aaee65c6e185f Mouse

    Is your sister aware of the fact that revolutions frequently cost more lives and produce even worse outcomes? I understand the impulse, the tendency to think that things are so bad the only thing left to do is burn it all down and start all over again due to my tendency towards clinical depression, but while I wonder if a revolution will fix things, I know that massive injustice can be fixed without it.  The Civil Rights Movement didn’t solve racism forever, but it did manage to go a long way towards addressing the massive injustices black people suffer from.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I’ve tried to make her aware.  And she should be aware without my efforts (she’s my older sister) but as to whether or not any of the things that should have made her aware of that finally have, I can’t say for sure.

  • Lori

     

    In fact, she wants Romney to win because she thinks he’ll be so much
    worse and do so much damage to so many people that the result will be
    revolution.  I highly doubt that, I don’t think the US has revolution
    left in it, and even if it did I don’t think the outcome would be good,
    and even if it were I don’t think it would be worth the cost.  

    I agree that your sister has it wrong. I do think the US has revolution left in it, but I think things would have to get a lot worse than a Romney/Ryan administration to spark it. The kind of changes they want to create to the way government relates to citizens could light a fuse, but it would be a very long one and the uprising wouldn’t come until they were long out of office. In the mean time millions of people will suffer real harm.

    I go back and forth on whether the outcome of revolution would be good or bad in the long run and that means that I have very mixed feelings about whether it would be worth it. On one hand, violence is a terrible thing and violence caused by our inability or unwillingness to use the non-violent tools are our disposal to solve our problems is a failure. On the other hand, it’s now fashionable in certain circles to claim that the Civil War wasn’t worth it and we all know how I feel about that. It’s entirely possible that we’ve got at least one more revolution in our future and that our descendents will look back on it and say that it was as fundamentally inevitable as we perceive the Civil War to be.  In fact, I can easily imagine it being seen as essentially the long-delayed second half of the Civil War.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    In fact, she wants Romney to win because she thinks he’ll be so much
    worse and do so much damage to so many people that the result will be revolution. 

    (sigh)

    I hear this sentiment a lot. Not just about Romney; I hear it a lot in general. Typically from people who give no thought at all to what steps we could take to build a better nation after a revolution, or why those steps will be easier or more likely to succeed than if we try them right now.

    I roughly classify it in the same category as my periodic impulse to just quit my job and live under a bridge.

  • vsm

    [blockquote]Assuming that that cliff is avoided then we can hopefully get to work on
    making things better instead of stopping them from getting worse.[/blockquote]
    If you’ll be so gracious as to let a foreigner complain about your politics: Is that day ever going to come? There’s an election every two years, and the Republicans will always be worse than the Democrats. Meanwhile, American politics have been moving to the right since at least the seventies and don’t seem to be stopping. The Democrats have also shown themselves to be largely useless even when they control the presidency and both houses.

    Mind you, I have no idea what you should do, just that the current strategy seems kind of self-defeating.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    To get better options at the top will take years.  Barack Obama rose to power incredibly quickly.  It took a mere 12 years from first elected office to Presidency.

    Even assuming that kind of lightning speed, a concerted effort to make things better now will take at least that long, more likely longer, before the markedly better presidential candidates start appearing.

    It will happen, if it does, from people who have a lot more energy than I have to offer (these days I’m mostly spent) working to create bottom up change.

    It will not happen because of presidential elections, it will happen because the people who worked their way up to the presidential level of politics are of a better caliber than the ones currently available to draw from.

    That said, once the election is over it is also possible to turn attention to the here and now and say, “Yes, Romney would have been worse, but that shit you’re pulling.  Fucking stop.”  With a lot more force than can be done when it’s necessary to amend the disclaimer, “But remember, Romney would be worse, so vote Obama anyway.”

  • vsm

    Is it really a question of having good people as candidates? I don’t think Obama is a particularly bad person, for instance. He’s certainly better than Richard Nixon, whose reign famously resulted in a lot of left-wing legislation being passed.

    As for pressuring Obama after the election, wasn’t that the plan the last time? It didn’t quite pan out, as I recall. And won’t you have to break out a similar disclaimer in preparation for the next congressional election? After that, it’s only two years until the next presidential election when the GOP nominates Lord Voldemort, so you shouldn’t criticize Obama too loudly before that either.

  • EllieMurasaki

    But I’m also disappointed that the same people who railed against Bush
    II when he committed grotesque human rights violations, don’t seem to
    care about Obama’s human right violations. Can we agree that it’s wrong
    to indefinitely detain someone or torture them or execute them without
    the benefit of a trial, regardless of who’s doing it?

    I care. Believe me, I care. But the only way the results of this election will make those people better off is if Obama gets a clue after victory or if Jill Stein wins, and of the two, Obama cluing in after winning is by far the likelier scenario. My state has pretty much already been called for Obama, so if I see Stein on the ballot I’m voting for her, no harm done and maybe the Democrats (local and/or national) will realize they need to swing left if they want my vote, but our governor doubled the number of registered voters a minor party needs to make the ballot and we’re the third-biggest party in the state and I don’t think we made it.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Oh, we CARE.  We just don’t think anyone who can get elected would be any improvement.

  • Fusina

    My 17 year old daughter spoke these words of wisdom. “Republicans only care about you before you are born and after you can vote.” I would add, “and only then if you vote republican and have enough money to not need anything.” I read Lord of the Flies, but I thought that was fiction…

  • Jay

    Once again, SMBC gets to the heart of the matter:

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2710#comic

  • TheDarkArtist

    I hate the diversionary tactic of “oh, so you’re saying my mother is a liar!”

    If your mother is saying that Obama is a muslim, or a communist, or that he raised taxes on the middle class, or that he’s gutting Medicare, or that he took the work requirements out of welfare, then yes; your mother is a liar.

    But, the person you should be pissed off at isn’t the person who, correctly, called your mother a liar. The person you should be pissed off at is the big liar who told your mother that those things were true in the first place.

    Yes, it sucks that people we love sometimes believe wrongheaded and even stupid things. That’s why it’s important to come to the realization that most grown-ups come to: your parents are just people. They’re people that you love, but they’re only human. They’re fallible and wrong, and they don’t have any more special insight than any other people may have.

    That doesn’t mean that you don’t love them, it means that you moderate your opinions on the things they say, and don’t take their word as being gospel.

  • gocart mozart

    This link should be spread far and wide on every conservative/Christian website.
    Shorter Romney:  “How dare you suggest that I am not 100% pro choice!”
    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2012/08/romneys-nihilism.html

  • http://www.aqualgidus.org/ Michael Chui

    It’s not really that Republicans never tell the truth.

    It’s that, if you check facts, you’re not in the Republican target demographic.

  • christopher_young

    I think the problem is that people don’t sufficiently realise that when Rumsfeld said that think about “We make our own reality now”, he actually meant it literally. These people really think that because America is so powerful and they’re so rich, they can say that black is white and black will in fact be white.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Combining a bunch of responses into one.

    @Magic_Cracker

    What if the maxim were modified to “Republican politicians never tell the truth”?

    Well, I’m not interested in telling anyone else how they ought to express themselves here.

    I guess what I mostly want is a way of letting referenced bystanders know that the sentiment that has just been expressed about them isn’t universally believed. Usually I end up letting others do this work, because I don’t know any way to do it without inadvertently attacking the speaker, and I usually don’t want to attack the speaker. (This is especially true when I agree with the speaker’s general position, just not what they actually said. But it’s also true when I disagree with them.)

    But that’s kind of cowardly, and I’m trying to work my way towards a better stance that I can sustain.

    @Tonio

    One way might be to point out that use of absolute terms like “never” and “always” is a mistake

    (nods) I considered that, as I agree that it’s true, but it seemed likely to get ignored as a rhetorical flourish around a presumed defense of Republican policy.

    That said, the same was true for everything else I could think of, so I figured I’d just ask the question. (Which will, no doubt, also be treated as a rhetorical flourish around a defense of Republican policy, but might also elicit some suggestions.)

    Thank you for engaging with my question, incidentally. I wasn’t sure anyone would.

    The issue is not whether your mother is honest, it’s that she favors policies that are cruel.

    Yes, precisely this. A fact that saddens me, and that I often discuss with her.

    @Lori

    I think that when people say “Republicans never tell the truth” they mean the public face of the GOP, not every single person who votes Republican.

    (nods) I expect that’s true.

    I also think that many people, when they read “Republicans never tell the truth,” understand the voters rather than the politicians. Which can make subsequent conversation more difficult: at least, I find it’s easier to talk to people who don’t start out by calling me a liar (even if it turns out that wasn’t their intent), and I assume the same is true of Republican voters.

    Your mom: a lovely person, I’m sure.

    (shrug) Like most of us, the line between good and evil runs directly through her heart.

    Right now I’m really unhappy with her over her support for a party that opposes the existence of my family, but she’s still my mom, and I expect we’ll both be happier in the long run if I don’t alienate her in return.

    I also expect that’s true of Republican voters I’m not related to, albeit less extremely.

    @TheDarkArtist

    I hate the diversionary tactic of “oh, so you’re saying my mother is a liar!”

    (nods) I can understand that.

    But, the person you should be pissed off at isn’t the person who, correctly, called your mother a liar.

    I’m not currently pissed off at that person, and I agree that I ought not be.

    it’s important to come to the realization that most grown-ups come to: your parents are just people

    (nods) I agree that this is important, and that most adults come to realize it.

    @chris the cynic

    Remind people that the hierarchy and the laity aren’t the same.

    (nods slowly) Yeah, I can see where this approach could work.

    As you say, there is certainly complicity on the part of voters in the acts of their representatives (I would say the same is true of churchgoers and their religious hierarchy, incidentally), and we can certainly with justice accuse the voters of enabling liars, regardless of whether they are themselves liars.

    And saying that might be enough to mollify those who would otherwise be outraged by the putative defense of Republicans, or Catholics, or whatever group we’re talking about.

    (nods) OK then, I’ll start trying that. Thanks for the suggestion, and for engaging with my question.

  • Xian-x

    Regarding the Jamelle Bouie article.

    Romney accuses Obama of treating welfare recipients with compassion and decency–as though that would be a bad thing. Obama’s supporters respond not by challenging the premise that it’s bad to treat welfare recipients with compassion and decency, but by pointing out that Romney is lying, that–in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in modern history–Obama is allowing states to impose even harsher conditions on welfare recipients than previous administrations have.

    Now, as many people here have already pointed out, there is good reason to think Romney will be worse than Obama, but several months ago Fred employed the notion of “deal-breakers” — policies or positions that are so reprehensible that a politician endorsing them should never be supported under any scenario. Fred was referring to the racist screeds issued by Ron Paul, which make it impossible to support Paul even though he has an acceptable record on some civil liberties issues. Similar to Fred’s use of the phrase “deal-breakers” John Cusack uses the phrase “Rubicon lines.” There are certain policies or positions that constitute “Rubicon lines” for Cusack, and if a politician crosses those lines, then Cusack will have a hard time supporting that politician even if the alternative is arguably worse.

    https://shannynmoore.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/john-cusack-jonathan-turley-on-obamas-constitution/


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