Conservatives have been trying to sell two conflicting narratives in the last three years and the oxymoronic nature of those narratives might have started to occur to some people. The Republicans in charge of the conservative economic narrative – the ones we see on cable, in newspaper columns, the big soapboxes have claimed that high taxes, burdensome regulation and the general magical aura put out by the anti-colonist Obama administration is hurting the economy. The conservatives making this arguments have ranged from the 6 figure income pundits on the low end to successful business owners taking their deposits to the bank in the trunk of their German made luxury cars to billionaires. As Jonathan Bernstein notes, many Americans watching the RNC convention, before they went into shock from the guy arguing with an empty chair, noticed this strange dichotomy. Elsewhere: Ryan, Bouncing
Then today at PP, I talked about how the lessons of this year’s conventions might play out. My serious point is that whatever are thought to be the lessons of the conventions will matter but that those lessons may have little or nothing to do with what actually caused Romney to get no bump and Obama to get one, but I framed it around a wish that everyone will conclude it was the Republicans’ lazy mendacity that was the problem.
Speaking of which, have I mentioned my totally screwy and almost certainly wrong theory of why the GOP convention flopped? The GOP convention featured a whole string of successful businesspeople explaining how successful they were. Their main complaint about Obama wasn’t that he ruined their businesses; it was that he didn’t properly respect their success. Perhaps some people watched that and concluded that business in the US was actually doing really well?
(One exception that I remember: there was a guy from Nevada, if I recall correctly, whose government-had-nothing-to-do-with-my-success business was selling something — road signs, I think? — to government, and his complaint was that under Obama the government wasn’t buying enough of whatever it was. Ah — here’s the story).
As I said, probably wrong, but I’m having fun semi-believing it.
Basically the speakers at the RNC said yea sure we have gold plated bathtubs, but if it were not for Obama we could have platinum. This is from Jonathan’s link. The guy is actually making an argument for more Obama-Keynesian spending,
Phil Archuletta is the owner of P&M Signs in New Mexico. His business specializes in making outdoor and traffic signs.
It is also the beneficiary of federal government contracts.
“For the last 40 years, my company has built the road signs on the Forest Service road system,” Archuletta explained in his prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention. “In fact, in 1984, I was fortunate to receive the national award from President Reagan for being the most successful minority business in the United States. In 2004, President Bush made it possible for our company to manufacture signs for all federal agencies.”
His complaint? He is not getting his fair share of new government contracts. To make signs for land on public property. I’m sure he went over that speech. He probably had someone to review it for grammar and content. Yet, no warnings buzzer went off that said gee I’m a flaming hypocritical whining slug. Even though business is down, he still managed to come up with the travel and hotel expenses to tell America his sop story. Bernstein notes in another column the running theme of every Republican running for office this cycle, not just Romney-Ryan,
I’m rooting for a different lesson, however: that it’s a bad idea to base your convention theme around an out-of-context quote, and that it’s a bad idea for your vice presidential candidate to reel off one whopper after another in his convention speech – especially obvious lies that the media can’t help but pick up on.
Is that what hurt the Republicans? I have no idea. My best guess now is Obama having more low-hanging fruit to harvest than Romney, but that’s just a wild guess. However, I’m really hoping that the interpretation involving lazy mendacity takes hold, since it really would be nice if our politicians believed that sort of thing was punished.
We know that conservatives do not punish mendacity. In 2004 it was well established that Bush-Cheney-Rice-Conservative movement had lied and exaggerated us into a unnecessary and counter-productive war. Cheney threatened the nation – if you vote Democrat you’re all going to die. While Bush won by one of the smallest margins in a hundred years, he managed to pull off a victory through some of the sleaziest falsehoods ever perpetrated. Conservatives literally repeat the falsehoods in the Romney attack ads – the built it and welfare ads – as the new truth. This recent debacle by Rand Paul (R-KY) is a good example of how conservatives, do not think, but live in a bubble of their beliefs. Paul is not Limbaugh or Matt Drudge, he is a U.S. senator, yet has no idea of the fluctuation of employment numbers for public sector workers. He heard something somewhere that said what he wanted to hear and that became his truth. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin Helps Spread Romney’s Sleazy Lies.
On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.
On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.
The CIA ran into a wall of preconceived notions about who was a legitimate threat – Al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein. The neocons had come into office with their sites set on Iraq. Evidence? They didn’t need no stink’n evidence. They were conservatives and conservatives have a divine monopoly on the truth. We all know what happened on 9-11 because of what conservatives do with the truth.
That same day in Chechnya, according to intelligence I reviewed, Ibn Al-Khattab, an extremist who was known for his brutality and his links to Al Qaeda, told his followers that there would soon be very big news. Within 48 hours, an intelligence official told me, that information was conveyed to the White House, providing more data supporting the C.I.A.’s warnings. Still, the alarm bells didn’t sound.
I’m not going to link to it, but anyone can copy and paste this headline into Goggle and it will take you to the results. This is a headline Fox News is running, “EXCLUSIVE: Parents of SEAL Team Six member say unit endangered by Obama administration statements”. I feel genuinely bad for those parents for their son’s death is a operation that took place after the Bin laden raid. Though They seem to be caught up in the web of urban myths that have sprung up around that operation and who said what and when. This is an interview with a SEAL talking about the raid with CBS. many details of the raid are and have been public information from day one (May 2, 2011). That the SEALs exist is not a secret. No one but Fox News and some former military has mentioned any specific names. The SEALS have a web site where you can click over and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Fox News has previously ( several times in fact) made the ludicrous claim that President Obama did not give the SEALs credit. How many versions are there of the killing of Bin laden, who did, how and how many ways are there to avoid giving the Obama administration and the CIA credit – if you follow Fox News, maybe as many as a half dozen at this point. If there is a single news outlet that is dragging the SEALs through the mud, it is Fox News and their right-wing echo on the web. One of the reasons conservatives are so willing to taint the reputation of the special forces is that they are now operating under a commander-in-chief that is ringing up an amazing record of success against Islamic radicals: just in today, Al-Qaida’s No. 2 in Yemen killed in airstrike. If you want to screw up a simple operation to send out a posse to get the bad guys, simple, put a Republican president in charge. He’ll invade the wrong country and tell you how patriotic his screw-ups are.