Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The GOP convention's first night theme was "We built it (on a lie)"

There it was, in big letters on the wall of the auditorium. In case you didn't get the message, one speaker after another harped on the theme of entrepreneurial Small Business Job Creators vs. President Obama, who recently told them "You didn't build it." Meaning, they hammered home again and again, that Big Government built it. You were just along for the ride. You owe everything to European Style Socialist Big Government.

So the first evening's theme was a refutation...of something President Obama never said. I mentioned this to a Republican friend of mine, who responded that he heard the clip of Obama saying exactly that himself. I said it was taken out of context. My friend say where did you hear that? I said MSNBC. My friend said "I wouldn't believe anything MSNBC said." I said they played the clip too--only with the words before and after that showed what President Obama meant. My friend said enough talk about politics.

It was exactly as if I said "I support the death penalty as long as it's for murder, as long as there isn't the slightest doubt as to the murderer's guilt (and eyewitness testimony has been proven to be unreliable), and as long as the prosecutor hasn't railroaded the defendant, withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense." And you quote me as saying "I support the death penalty." Did I say that? Yes. Does it say what I meant by itself?

The President said "You didn't build it" in the context of talking about how every successful entrepreneur depends on America's government for the roads his goods travel on, the safety of his warehouse not being plundered by thieves, the communications possible via the Internet (started 100% as a government project), the education he and his employees received--most likely in public schools, the electricity he gets, the plumbing he uses.

That's what the President said. He in no way discounted what successful entrepreneurs bring to the party. He just pointed out that saying "My achievements are 100% attributable to me and no one else" is a slap in the face to our society, and borders on the narcissism of a vain, boastful little boy who can't admit to having ever gotten any help.

The irony piled on irony is that Mitt Romney's signature achievement--rescuing the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics (I mean, other than RomneyCare)--mostly came from getting a $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars from the Federal government to bankroll it (with a lot of that going to pork for local cronies). You can read the gory details here.

Not to mention the fact that most of the self-made men and women cited in the GOP's "We built it" campaign have turned out to be similarly ungrateful about getting substantial largesse from the government they hate so much. The poster child lady first featured in their campaign turned out to have gotten a huge SBA loan a year before--and was featured in SBA marketing for their program.

Here again, the GOP could make an argument for fiscal conservatism. But they're addicted to the mind-altering drug of the Big Lie, which plays with resentful, fearful, angry, uneducated white men far better than the facts. Plus it doesn't force them to reveal the fact that they aren't fiscal conservatives--their proposals for tax cutting without specified expenditure cutting means they're fake deficit hawks.

But they're real government haters, because their hyper-rich patrons are government haters, because they might make a few less billions that is currently being siphoned out of middle class pockets and into theirs.

Robert Reich says the two fears motivating middle class Americans are "the rot at the top and the mob at the gates."

The GOP's propaganda campaign gives them the best of both worlds by misdirecting the "rot at the top" part towards educated people in general and the federal government in particular, and the "mob at the gates" part toward all blacks and Latinos, using code words and phrases (like "welfare queens") to get the word out without having to admit what they're doing.

PS: Mrs. Romney talked about how she and her husband faced the same problems you faced raising your family and dealing with illnesses. She's just like you.

Except for the fact that her "family" includes dozens of maids and whatnot to cushion the burdens of parenthood, and her illnesses didn't result in her health insurance company cancelling her health insurance as soon as she got really sick, forcing the Romneys into medical bankruptcy. Funny how she didn't mention those things.

So apart from those tiny details, yeah...she's just like you & me.

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