Thursday, August 30, 2012

The speechifiers

I haven't watched or listened to any of the Republican (Tea Party) National Convention this week. Frankly, you couldn't pay me to - it would just be too painful. But I have followed the convention, faithfully reading the reports in the news outlets that I follow daily and listening to summaries on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. My overall impression of the event is that I cannot remember any convention in my lifetime or any presidential campaign in my lifetime that has been so clearly and profoundly built on lies. The candidates themselves seem unable to open their mouths without uttering bald-faced lies.

As for the speakers at the convention, they have been, to put it as kindly as I can, a bit irony-challenged.

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Let's consider Ann Romney, for example. She spoke on "Women's Night," which is a totally ironic concept in itself for this anti-woman party. Her challenge was to make her listeners love Mitt Romney and to convince women that the Republican Party really does understand them and really does take their concerns seriously. So, how did she go about doing that? Here is just part of what she said, but I think it is fairly representative of her speech. (The emphases are mine.)

And if you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It's how it is, isn't it?
It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.
It's the moms of this nation—single, married, widowed—who really hold this country together.
We're the mothers, we're the wives, we're the grandmothers, we're the big sisters, we're the little sisters, we're the daughters.
You know it's true, don't you?
You're the ones who always have to do a little more.
You know what it's like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report, which just has to be done. 
You know what those late night phone calls with an elderly parent are like and the long weekend drives just to see how they're doing.
You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answer the phone when you call at night.

And on it goes. What she is saying is that sexism exists. She is acknowledging, among other things, that women must work harder for less pay and less respect. And she's saying that that's just the way it is, ladies. Nothing we can do about it.

I guess when you've got a billion dollars in your bank account, fighting against injustice doesn't seem quite as urgent as when you are a single mother trying to raise a child while working minimum wage jobs.

This is supposed to make women want to vote for Romney?

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Another woman who spoke at the convention this week was Condoleeza Rice. She was there to lecture the Obama Administration on foreign policy and to tout Romney/Ryan's expertise in that arena. Irony, indeed, thy name is Condoleeza!

This is the woman, who as a national security adviser, totally ignored warnings that Osama bin Laden was preparing an attack on the United States in the summer of 2001. She is also the woman who supported an unnecessary war against a country that had done nothing to harm us, thereby being complicit in the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Americans. She is the woman who carried the water for the disastrous foreign policies of the Bush Administration around the world. And she has the chutzpah to lecture anybody on foreign policy???

In fact, as an article in Slate.com rightly points out, the Obama Administration has been very successful in its foreign policy initiatives and is respected by countries around the world. 

According to a recent survey by the Poll Research Center, 53 percent of British citizens had a favorable view of the United States in 2008, the last year of Bush’s presidency. Today the figure is 60 percent. In France, the figure rose from 42 percent to 69 percent; the Czech Republic, from 45 to 54 percent; Germany, from 31 to 52 percent; Japan, from 50 to 72 percent; Mexico, from 47 to 56 percent. Only in the Arab countries (Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan) has the rating declined (and do the Republicans really care much about that?).
Another Pew Poll, released just this week, about global attitudes toward President Obama as a leader makes Rice’s concerns seem ridiculous. As summarized by CNN, 87 percent of the Germans, 86 percent of the French, 80 percent of the British, and 74 percent of the Japanese have confidence in Obama—in each case, more confidence than they have in their own leaders. More striking still, 92 percent of the French, 89 percent of the Germans, 73 percent of the British, and 66 percent of the Japanese want Obama re-elected.

President Obama, who Rice excoriates, is the one who got Osama bin Laden and who has decimated al-Qaida, actions which she and her beloved George W. failed to do in their eight years in office. But I guess she forgot that.

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Lastly, we have the Paul Ryan speech which, as far as I can tell, was nothing but a tissue of lies from beginning to end. Salon.com did some fact-checking on the speech. Here's what they found:

  • GM plant —  Ryan: blamed Obama for the closing of GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wis. Truth: One of the biggest whoppers of the night; the plant closed before Obama was even sworn into office. His position also contradicts the Republicans’ position of opposing President Obama’s auto rescue.
  • Stimulus — Ryan: “The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal.” Truth: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the stimulus created 3.3 million jobs. Four out of five economists agree. Ryan himself wrote letters requesting stimulus money, then lied about it.
  • Medicare — Ryan: “Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” Truth: As we’vepointed out many times, Obamacare doesn’t raid Medicare and Ryan’s plan would do a lot more to ruin Medicare. One of the biggest lies of the campaign.
  • Obamacare — Ryan: “You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover…” Truth: Politifact called the “government takeover” of healthcare meme their “lie of the year” in 2010.
  • Jobs — Ryan: “We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.” Truth: An almost impossible goal.
  • Debt — Ryan: “The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.” Truth: A false choice. There is no evidence suggesting that decreasing the size of government would grow the economy; in fact, it may hurt by killing government and contractor jobs. And much of the debt is due to Bush policies that Ryan voted for, like the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Simpson-Bowles commission — Ryan: “He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” Truth: Ryan sat on that commission, and, as chairman of the Budget Committee was a leader on it. He voted against the commission’s recommendations, bringing all the other Republicans along with him.
  • Credit downgrade — Ryan: Obama “began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.” When Standard & Poors downgraded the country’s sovereign debt rating in 2011, they said that it was becauseRepublican lawmakers had taken the nation’s debt ceiling hostage (something Ryan supported doing) and because “the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues” (another position Ryan maintains).
  • Poor — Ryan: “We have responsibilities, one to another — we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak.” Truth: About two-thirds of the cuts in Ryan’s budget proposal come from programs the benefit poor people, such as food stamps. Meanwhile, he calls for tax cuts for the wealthy.
As I said at the beginning, there may have been a more dishonest campaign somewhere along the way, but I don't remember it.

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Finally, I can't end my wrap-up of the convention without including this from The Daily Show - correspondent Samantha Bee's interviews with actual Republicans at the convention.


Irony-challenged doesn't even begin to cover it. These people truly don't have a clue.



2 comments:

  1. Love this post and love the Daily Show!! Did you see the extended interview with Herman Cain? That interview exposes one of the lies of the GOP! It was great!

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    1. Actually, I couldn't bring myself to watch Cain. I just find the man so annoying. But since your comment, maybe I'll go back and force myself to watch it.

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