Let me ask you this: remember when Solyndra was a monster scandal and a household word? I suspect that if you listen to Rush Limbaugh regularly, you do -- but if not, and believe it or not it's not only a handful of extreme left-wingers who don't -- then no, you probably don't know anything about Solyndra. There's an excellent chance, in fact, that you've never even heard of it. So if you're a typical low-information undecided voter who tunes in to Paul Ryan's speech, what do you make of this:
It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs and make believe markets.My guess is: huh?
It wasn't just Ryan, either; I'm sure I heard Solyndra name-dropped half a dozen times at least throughout the convention, as if it meant something. And yet, while I certainly could have missed something, I think Ryan's explanation was the most thorough one given.
Granted: you have to throw something to the rabid fans, too. But if Solyndra is really something worth talking about, you would think it's worth a paragraph or four -- even an entire speech, really -- explaining. Obviously I have no way of knowing this, but my strong guess would be that it isn't that Republicans thought that more on Solyndra would weaken the point or wouldn't appeal to independents; it's that Republicans assumed that more wasn't needed. And if so, it's exactly the kind of damaging effect of epistemic closure that I and others have been harping on for some time now.