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Friday, November 11, 2011

The great GOP gaffe exchange

Wednesday night two revealing moments in the talking points recitation that is being called a Republican debate were published  on the  front page reports.  One was Rick Perry's comedic moment when he said there are three cabinet departments he'd eliminate from the federal government, but could only think of two.  The other was when Mitt Romney said, "President Barack Obama gave GM to UAW, he gave Chrysler to Fiat.”

The story on Perry's gaffe was still prominently featured on the Internet pages of the media Thursday morning.  But the story on what they called Romney's "clunker"  had disappeared and was replaced by accounts of how Romney's steady performance would put him in the lead for the  nomination.  Of the two gaffes, Romney's was by far the most serious.  Where Perry made a fool of himself that can  really harm no one but himself, Romney stated a falsehood that does damage to the integrity of the country.  What he said  is not true and gives voters misinformation upon which they can base further bad decisions of the kind that created the Great Recession.

Of the major news sources which published the story about Romney's "clunker" on Wednesday night and dropped it on Thursday morning were The Washington Post, the Associated Press, The Chicago Tribune, and The Rapid City Journal.  Here is the Post version of why Romney is wrong:

THE FACTS: That’s not what happened in the bailout.

A trust owned by the United Auto Workers received a 17.5 percent ownership stake in GM to help that trust pay for its retirees’ health care. That stake has declined since then, after the company went public in November 2010. The trust now owns about 10 percent of General Motors. That’s much smaller than the government’s stake of about 30 percent, and it doesn’t support the notion that the government “gave” the company to the union.
Moreover, the union did not get free rein in return for its share. It was barred from going on strike over wage issues during recent contract talks with GM and Chrysler, as a condition of the bailouts.

Nor did Obama give Chrysler to Fiat.

The Italian automaker Fiat received an initial 20 percent stake in Chrysler as Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 in exchange for only management expertise and technology. Since then, Fiat has paid $1.8 billion to boost its stake to 53.3 percent, including a $500 million payment to the U.S. Treasury to purchase the government’s 6 percent share of the company.

Whether Romney said what he said  because he has not bothered to apprise himself of the facts or whether he is simply lying as part of his campaign to discredit Obama makes little difference.  He made a false accusation, and the last thing we need is a perfidious weasel leading the country.  That's what got us into Iraq, cost the lives of four thousand soldiers, pissed a trillion dollars down a rat hole, and left another 30,000 troops wounded.

The press and commentators have missed the telling aspect of Romney's attack on Obama.  In claiming that Obama's policies are wrong, he does not analyze what he thinks are flaws in the policies.  He instead takes the ad hominem track of saying they are wrong because the person who implements is inferior.

The press is not savvy enough to see how Romney's attacks are received by African Americans.  Some that I know see this as the old racist argument that blacks are inherently inferior and may be okay to perform menial service to the master class, but should never be put in charge of a household to run it.  They are not capable.

In pursuing his ad hominem denunciation of Obama, Romney is reviving an old Mormon premise that the church officially abandoned in 1978.  Up until that time, blacks were denied the priesthood in the Latter Day Saints church.  All male heads of households are regarded as priests and have priestly duties and privileges in the Mormon church,  Blacks could ally themselves with the LDS church, but they could not exercise any of the privileges, such as be married according to laws of the church.  The rule stemmed from Brigham Young's pronouncement that "The Lord had cursed Cain's seed with blackness and prohibited them the Priesthood."

Romney's persistent attack on Obama's competence and qualifications as a person equal to the task he has assumed follows that old racist rule.

But Romney is by no means the only  Republican who is using the technique exposed by George Orwell for conditioning the unwary and gullible by constantly repeating a lie.  The entire GOP field of  candidates likes to harp on the notion that government regulation is the big obstacle to economic advancement in the U.S.  They are trying to condition the  electorate into thinking that regulation is an evil so that the restraints that keep the corporate world from bilking, fleecing, and cheating the consumer can be removed.  The GOP wants to restore the very practices that produced the Great Recession. 

Here is the Fact Check on the contention the regulation is the basis for our economic problems:

THE FACTS: It has become an article of faith in the GOP field that regulations are a leading drag on jobs, but Labor Department data show that few companies where large layoffs occur say government regulation was the reason. Just two-tenths of 1 percent of layoffs since Obama took office have been due to government regulation, the data show.

Moreover, there is little evidence that the regulatory burden is any worse now than in the past or that it is costing significant numbers of jobs. Most economists believe there is a simpler explanation: Companies aren’t hiring because there isn’t enough consumer demand. And economists believe high levels of economic uncertainty are a leading complication for business, arising more from struggles over taxes and spending in Washington than from regulations — an unwelcome quantity, for sure, but a known one.
The technique of repeating the Big Lie until people accept it is being used by the perpetrators of the Great Recession to escape responsibility for their practices and the mess they create.  The Big Lie seems all that GOP has to run on at this time. 

1 comment:

Bob Newland said...

I agree that Romney is a perfidious weasel. However, based on Obama's violation of his promises to not persecute people for obeying state law with respect to therapeutic cannabis, we already have a perfidious weasel in the oval office.

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