Thursday, August 30, 2012

Building It, Day 2

I don't get riled up often -- regular readers can, I hope, vouch from me on that one. I did, however, get just a bit over the top tonight (specifically, on twitter) when Paul Ryan delivered one of the most awful lies I've heard in a major convention speech. I'm calmer now, and if you want more of that I wrote up a (very watered down) version of my twitter reaction over at Greg's place.

But if you're looking for something more in the way of analysis...

Actually, I do have a point to make about the broadcast network hour. I missed the earlier speeches; sorry, I played hooky to get to (half) of my pick-up game tonight, so other than a bit of Rand Paul on the radio on the way there, and a bit of the Huck on the radio on the way back, I don't have anything, other than to marvel that "build that" wasn't just a one-night thing.

As for the broadcast hour. It featured Condi Rice, Susana Martinez, and of course Ryan. What I have to say definitely applies to the first two, and probably to Ryan as well, although to tell the truth I floated in and out of his speech after the deficit commission thing and I don't really have it in me to go back and read it all. Still. Rice kicked it off with what many of us imagined would be a foreign policy speech, but not so! Instead, it was a perfectly fine speech about the United States, it's strengths, it's challenges and to some extent how her life fit into that. Folks on twitter at least were extremely impressed; I thought it was fairly good, but nothing special. Then came Martinez, who talked a whole lot about herself, took a few shots at Obama, and, well, no policy there, either. As far as Ryan: he talked a fair deal about the deficit, and quite a bit about health care reform, but there was relatively little positive policy stuff there, too -- definitely some on budget, although it's all a bunch of vague generalities, but beyond that I didn't hear much ( I did think that the first extended part of Ryan's speech, in which he made the case that Obama had come in with the economy in terrible shape but had failed to fix it, was overall quite well done. I thought the ACA section that followed was much less likely to appeal to anyone but committed Republicans, and then he got to the deficit...).

Nor, from any of them, did I get much of a sense of why Mitt Romney in particular was particularly well-suited for the Oval Office. We get, as we got on day one, a repeated version of his resume -- business, Olympics, governor -- but that's about it, beyond some vague "good leader" stuff that could have been used for anyone from the Huck to Pawlenty to even Herman Cain.

Anyway: I talked yesterday about how then the party was on policy. But several have been arguing that they're also thin on building up Romney, and I think that's right. As I was watching Rice and Martinez, however, what hit me was that the real goal of having them out there -- and I think the goal of last night's broadcast hour also -- was more basic than that. The goal is just to make the Republican Party seem not scary. That's it. They have normal people, who recite normal, non-scary, cliches. If you're fed up with Obama, you don't have to worry that you'll get some sort of freak show.

And if that was the goal -- and it's a smart goal to set -- then I think they've done a pretty good job of achieving it from what I've watched.

Also, Paul Ryan really did tell a whole bunch of really blatant lies, and his reputation should take a major hit for it. Just didn't think I should leave off on this without making sure everyone gets that part.

23 comments:

  1. Would have loved to see your face during the Ryan speech ... your reaction was priceless. Will be interesting to see how MSM treats this speech (and if I had the stomach for it I'd like to see how Fox covered it too).

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  2. The Twitterstorm was priceless. It was as if you had turned on the TV to find that the Giants had put Glenallen Hill back in left field.

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    1. Right field. The guy in the cape was in left field. And, yeah, something like that.

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    2. Took a short morning nap, came back to find 11 more comments...really hoping they're all about the merits or lack thereof of Glenallen Hill. Suspect not.

      On the good side: my nap was not interrupted by terrifying dreams of spiders.

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    3. The comments are not about Hill. It's much worse than that. It's trolling and troll-feeding. :)

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    4. Use of caps and profanity occasionally still have some power. I think the professional ad makers will be all over Ryan's lie about Simpson-Bowles shortly. Maybe they'll even quote your tweet. A bunch of ads are already playing in my head.

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  3. While I think they did meet the normal bar, the ghost of George Bush was seen hanging around.

    And that McCain speech made me want to vote for Obama...

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  4. Yeah, Ryan's a big fat liar and a racist. Everybody knows we have to borrow 43 cents of every dollar we spend. We have no other choice. Ryan is a big fat liar for suggesting otherwise.

    It's great that Romney nominated him for VP, because he's a big fat liar and a racist, and everybody knows it. This should be a piece of cake. ;-)

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    1. You're the first person I've heard say that Paul Ryan is a racist. I agree 100% with your criticism of Ryan's votes that turned a surplus into a record deficit, but the racist thing is a bridge too far for me.

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  5. What you call "racism" is quite popular among white voters. Ryan received 68% of the vote in 2010 in his 82.2% white district (his district is 5.2% black, 9.0% Hispanic, and 1.7% Asian, from the 2012 Almanac of American Politics). He has never received less than 63% of the vote in his six re-election campaigns. As I have pointed out before, a generous welfare state combined with a progressive income tax on balance transfers substantial resources from whites and Asians (who are disproportionately represented among high earners) to blacks and Hispanics (who are disproportionately represents among low earners). Hence white voters have favored Republican Presidential nominees in every election since 1968, and blacks and Hispanics have consistently given large majorities to Democratic nominees during the same time period. Some of you like to say that whites vote Republican for "racist" reasons, but no one is saying that blacks vote nearly unanimously Democratic for "racist" reasons. Both communities are voting in their economic self-interest. Romney and Ryan are appealing to white voters' self-interest, and Obama and Biden to the self-interest of black and Hispanic voters. There are not any saints or sinners here.

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    1. "As I have pointed out before"

      So you're the same Anonymous as in some previous comment threads? Are you also the Anonymous below at 9:12? If you'd like to establish a posting identity with a referable history, you might want to give yourself a name or sign-off.

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    2. No, I'm 9:12.

      And Paul Ryan is still a big fat liar and a racist. ;-)

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  6. In the coming days, I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on -- or your summaries of what political science studies have found on -- whether media coverage highlighting a candidate/party's inaccuracies and lies matters at all in electoral performance.

    The two uncertainties right now seem to be: will widely-seen media outlets do their job by flatly and prominently stating that lies are a central part of the GOP campaign, and will that matter even if they do state this?

    Ryan's reputation and the GOP has so far taken barely any discernible hit in terms of actual polling performance, and the purveyance of lies, if anything, seems to be attracting support from GOP-sympathetic citizens (i.e. not in anyway making them feel ashamed and willing to speak out) and attracting large amounts of resources to further spread the lies. The GOP continues to be able to say anything it wants and still count on at least ~45% of the vote. From convention time onward, once people in general start paying more attention, has been identified as when we could start judging whether the dynamics would change or not.

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    1. They already won control of the House based on the same story about Medicare cuts. Why should they worry now?

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    2. Yeah, they're big fat liars and racists. We can clean up, as long as we keep hammering that over and over and over and over...

      ;-)

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    3. Because the composition of the electorate in presidential years is different, the interest level among the general public is greater, and the amount of coverage is greater...a number of things. Sometimes I incline toward despair, but I'd like to have a dispassionate appraisal of as many relevant factors as can be thought of. The US -- like any as democracy -- is far from the idealistic fantasies of deliberative democracy, but there may be some isolated moments in which certain features of deliberation and norms-policing rear their heads a bit more than usual. Then again, there may not be.

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    4. *like any other democracy, I meant

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    5. Anon 9:12,
      I'm happy to hear what you have to say -- it seems to be that I'm deluded on some level -- if you want to talk here. But why not explain that and engage me, rather than flinging snark?

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    6. "Snark?" Come on now. I'm bolstering your point. Ryan is obviously a big fat liar. We need to hammer that point home incessantly. That's the ticket to victory.

      Everybody knows 100% debt to GDP is a pittance. 200% here we come, hopefully. Ryan is a big fat liar and doesn't understand those simple truths. You and I do, thankfully.

      Plus he's a racist.

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    7. You're not as funny as you think you are. You do know sarcasm is the laziest form of humor right?

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    8. Anonymous, you seem very concerned about debt, and it also seems that you are pro-Paul Ryan. However, Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" does not call for a balanced budget until 2040, and his plan will actually add $3.1 trillion to the debt in its first 10 years.

      Source: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-draconian-is-the-ryan-plan/

      [note that I didn't exactly pick a "lefty" source]

      You may like Paul Ryan because he eliminates government programs and taxes that you don't like, which is your prerogative; nothing wrong with that. But to inveigh against debt and then to be a fan of Paul Ryan doesn't make much sense.

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  7. "Pro-Paul Ryan?" Hardly.

    He's a big fat liar and a racist, and you know it.

    Plus, he doesn't like that we're borrowing 43 cents of every dollar we spend, and actually wants to mitigate that spending tsunami, and we certainly can't have that, can we?

    Nope, let's do the obvious, and call him the big fat liar and racist that he is. That's a sure path to victory. Let's make sure we hammer that point constantly, on that lying racist. ;-)

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  8. I only wish that lying racist Ryan could be as fiscally conservative as Obama. ;-)

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