The Starting Line — The GOP Jobs Program: More Fact Checkers

by on August 30, 2012 · 1 comment

in Columns, Government, Health, Politics, The Starting Line

Day 2.5 of the Republican National Convention brought out more big guns for the TV cameras and the party faithful. There were the usual failed attempts at partisan humor (a bipartisan affliction) including rim shots at the President’s golf game, which seemed a bit odd in a hall dominated by the country club set. Oh wait! Maybe the jokes were there because he was the black guy on the golf course…. nah, the Republicans wouldn’t do that, would they?

The consensus amongst the mainstream media chattering heads was that Condoleeza Rice’s appearance at the convo was the surprise hit of the day. She got a standing ovation. The crowd went wild. And nobody had to pre-print homemade looking signs saying “we love you”.  Bill Keller, writing for the New York Times, captured the moment quite aptly:

 For starters, she declined to spend any of what remains of her credibility assailing the incumbent president. I’m pretty sure she was the only speaker who did not even utter Obama’s name, and she offered only the most glancing and implicit criticism of his foreign policy. (“We cannot be reluctant to lead, and you cannot lead from behind.”) There was none of the Romney fantasy boilerplate about Obama’s apologetic cringing, no plea to throw more money at the military. Her generic tributes to “peace through strength,” freedom and free trade were squarely in the comfort zone of the party’s traditional mainstream.

 For good measure she gave a heartfelt plea for a welcoming immigration policy and sounded more passionate about the crisis in education than any current crisis in foreign affairs.

 Her assurance that American security and leadership “will be safe in Mitt Romney’s hands” was almost literally the least she could say.

 The hawks may have Mitt Romney’s ear. But Wednesday night, for a while, Rice had the convention – winning a standing ovation from a crowd that may not have appreciated how far she was off message.

Credit: Daily Kos

 The crescendo of the convo’s evening was the speech by Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.  This is the guy on the ticket who is supposed to be everything that Mitt Romney is not. A decisive leader with unquestionable credentials that appeal to the core conservatives and the tea party activists that makes up the bulk of the GOP’s committed voting block. His “white bread” quotient makes him a good bet with uncommitted voters; he’s no grizzly mamma, having crafted a persona going back to Jack Kemp that gives the perception of just enough wonkiness wrapped around a mid-western sensibility to make him a safe choice. And his willingness to play fast and loose with facts and history make him an ideal pairing with the GOP’s Main Man of the moment.

Ryan’s message for Wednesday night was telegraphed well in advance of his speech by the party spinmeisters. Here’s a snip from a pre-speech story from Reuters:

Republican vice presidential contender Paul Ryan promised on Wednesday that he and running mate Mitt Romney would lead Americaout of the economic doldrums by making tough choices that would generate jobs and strengthen the middle class.

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, will accept his assignment as Romney’s No. 2 at the Republican convention with the biggest speech of his political career – one designed to fire up conservatives while reaching out to independents still uncertain about the Republican team.

“We will not duck the tough issues – we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others – we will take responsibility,” Ryan will say later on Wednesday, according to excerpts of his speech released by Romney’s campaign.  

The “liberal” media of the East Coast was all over Congressman Ryan’s lack of command of the facts in his speech. What they didn’t get, apparently, is that facts don’t matter here. Having spent four years buying into the alternative reality crafted for them by their party’s leadership, the party faithful in Tampa and the vast majority of those watching Ryan’s speech on television were certainly not going to be troubled by mere facts. Sally Kohn at Fox News said it, but nobody was listening. The roar of crowd, the sense that, finally, “we” can “take America back” was all that mattered:

 On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.

 The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated….

 Elections should be about competing based on your record in the past and your vision for the future, not competing to see who can get away with the most lies and distortions without voters noticing or bother to care. Both parties should hold themselves to that standard. Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many.

RNC Tampa Inanity Watch 2012! Help us keep track of the dumbest things said at the Republican National Convention.  Let’s face it:  GOPers have been known to say some mindboggling things over the last two years.  In fact, it’s almost expected that something pretty dumb will come out of a Republican figure’s mouth.  This week especially it is assured that some whoppers will come out of Tampa, particularly with the extreme social agenda included in the official Republican platform that RNC Convention Chair Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (aka:  Gov. Ultrasound) put forth last week.  Tampa should provide us with a veritable treasure trove of unintentionally comedic/frightening statements.

In that spirit, the San Diego Free Press is asking our readers to submit their own list of the five most inane, insane, or just plain stupid things said during the Republican National Convention.  Please include links where possible so that we can verify the statements.  Email them to us at contact@sandiegofreepress.org.  At the end of the week, we will sort through the submissions and compile a top 10 list of the craziest, stupidest things said at the RNC based on our reader suggestions.

Have fun with it, but please keep it PG rated.

A little Presidential Q & A with the Reddit crowd… Meanwhile, back in the “other” world of Obamaland, the President was talking with voters on Reddit, a popular social media platform.  Using their “Ask Me Anything” format, Obama answered questions submitted by readers on a wide variety of topics.  As of this morning, 1,861,916  4 million readers had checked in on the conversation.  A totally different audience from the world of conventioneers was tuned in, one that was wasn’t necessarily drinking the Democratic Party brand of kool-aid, as they split down the middle when it came to those indicating approval or non-approval of the President’s remarks. UPDATE: (From the Washington Post)- “Obama’s campaign says the event led 25,000 voters to register on their Web site, including one 98-year old.”

The President did use the Reddit Q & A to make one proposal that we hadn’t heard before. In response to a question about what he would do to end the influence of money in politics, Obama responded,

Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it)… Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of [sic] the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”

The President’s response on the social media platform was significant in two ways.  As a constitutional law professor, Obama has trod lightly on the subject of amendments, while other chief executives have used such suggestions for political grandstanding. The other aspect of his response was that the influence of PACs and SuperPacs are hot topics with the internet centric crowd, whose view of the world is influenced by the underlying democratic anarchism inherent in web culture.

Obama on the road… The internet chatfest wrapped up two days of campaigning for Candidate Obama, who spoke to the second largest crowd of the season thus far in Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday. The crowd size was estimated at more than 13,000, falling just behind the campaign kickoff in Columbus, Ohio, the largest Obama rally of 2012. Wednesday, he spoke to 7500 students in Charlottesville, Va., telling the crowd that, on women’s issues, Romney “wants to go backward, sometimes all the way to the last century,”

God responds to the lies in Tampa… Well, not really, but since the fundamentalists in the Republican fringe are always blaming natural disasters and such on the President, we thought it would be appropriate to note here a Coast Guard report from yesterday that announced that the Mississippi River was, in fact, flowing backwards. Strong winds and storm surge from Hurricane Isaac were cited as the official reason for the reversal, but we know….

The debate over gun nuttiness continues…California lawmakers sent a bill yesterday to the Governor’s desk that would ban openly carrying unloaded shotguns or rifles in public to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown. This follows a similar ban approved last year on openly carrying unloaded handguns in public.

Shockingly, Republicans lawmakers strongly opposed the bill. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly asserted that gun-totin’ Californians are simply expressing their basic freedoms. “They’re not criminals! Do not criminalize more Americans because they believe in the 2nd amendment!” said Donnelly.

 Scott Peters wins one for the party… The campaign of Scott Peters received a boost yesterday with the announcement from Sacramento that his supporters internet votes had won the  ‘Win Back the House Challenge,’ a week-long contest held to determine which endorsed Democratic Congressional challenger in the state has the most online grassroots support.

As the winner, Peters earned extra support from the state party in the form of on-line outreach and a fundraising email blast to the Party’s statewide activist list. His battle with Rep. Brian Bilbray for the 52nd Congressional District seat is considered a critical race in the Democratic Party’s quest to regain control of the House of Representatives.

“This win shows that our supporters are as enthusiastic and energized as any other campaign in the state, and I’m very grateful to them for helping us win this,” Peters said via press release.  “We galvanized our voters for this contest with on-line outreach and social media; we’ll do the same, and more, for Nov. 6 and look forward to another winning result,” he said.

Dow Chemical is back at it again… Last week Dow Chemical donated $1.2 million to defeat Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods, which will appear on the ballot in California this fall.  And, in keeping with their totally disregard for the environment, Dow is also petitioning the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the approval of a new genetically engineered “Agent Orange” soybean that tolerates the extremely toxic chemical herbicide 2,4-D, a major component of the Vietnam era defoliant known as Agent Orange.

This move is particularly onerous as numerous studies have linked exposure to 2,4-D to serious health problems that include cancer (particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), lowered sperm counts, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, dozens of peer-reviewed studies have found the use of 2,4-D to contribute to hormone-disrupting activity linked to reproductive problems and thyroid dysfunction. Remember folks, the USDA does not testing on its own; it simply accepts field results paid for by the company involved. Don’t you feel safer now? Aren’t they just lovely?

Tweet of the Day:

Rebecca (@liberalmama) 2 y/old was just screaming his head off. DVR’d Dora ended and the Republican convention came on. I wanna scream too.

 On This Day:  In 1645 Native Americans and the Dutch made a peace treaty at New Amsterdam. New Amsterdam later became known as New York. In 1965 Thurgood Marshall was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Supreme Court justice. Marshall was the first black justice to sit on the Supreme Court.  In 1970 Jimi Hendrix performed at the Isle of Wright Pop Festival in England.

 Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmer’s Markets: Carmel Valley (Canyon Crest Academy 5951 Village Center Loop Road) 3:30 – 7:00 pm, Chula Vista(Downtown, Center St. & Third Ave.) 3 –7 pm, Linda Vista  (6900 Linda Vista Road Between Comstock & Ulric) 2 – 7 pm, North Park (CVSPharmacy parking lot 3151 University & 32nd St.) 3 – 7 pm, Oceanside Market & Faire (Pier View Way & Coast Hwy. 101) 9 am – 1 pm,Oceanside Sunset (Tremont & Pier View Way) 5 –9 pm, San Carlos (Pershing Middle School 8204 San Carlos Drive) 4 – 7 pm, SDSU Farmers’ Market (Campanile Walkway btw Hepner Hall & Love Library) 10 – 3 pm, University Town Center  (Genesee Ave. at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza) 3 – 7 pm.

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I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org    Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013 and 2014. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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avatar Anna Daniels August 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

Ryan sez “We will not duck the tough issues…” OK. Mitt- Show us your taxes.

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