Republican Convention Reveals Mitt Romney’s Daring Strategy -- Tell Blatant and Bold Lies

Paul Ryan, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, didn’t write his speech to the RNC — anymore than Sarah Palin wrote hers. A national political convention is like a movie production. It is all scripted. The Ryan speech was written and rewritten and sets the strategy for the Romney campaign. What stands out in the Ryan script  is the boldness and the extent of its lies, lies, and lies.

Most everyone at the convention, I’m thinking, realized that Ryan was telling whopper lies — yet they cheered his every word. The maintenance of a big lie requires a big conspiracy, and, the Republican machinery, with Fox News, and with tons of money for marketing, is gearing up for the task.

Romney is going after the votes of Americans who are persuadable via emotion, anger, and resentment — not by logic, nor, amazingly, their own self interest. Big lies give such voters an emotional push, a reason to believe what they want to believe.

It would seem a daring strategy for a presidential campaign to advance blatant and bold lies. It could backfire. But, evidently, Romney has come to the conclusion that his route to victory is via bold lies. The fact that a major political party should seek to control the White House by conducting such a strategy is a strong warning that our republic is in real danger.

 

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7 comments to Republican Convention Reveals Mitt Romney’s Daring Strategy — Tell Blatant and Bold Lies

  • Bryan

    Mike,
    To write an article that at some level suggests the GOP party has a monopoly on ‘blatant and bold lies’ is quite humorous. Since the GOP doesn’t have a monopoly on that, I would expect that next week you write a similar article on the blatant and bold lies told by the democrats and reference a number of republican leaning news sources to support it.

    On a side note, I found a CNN fact check article that said Ryan did get it right on the GM plant closure. CNN isn’t known for its positive reporting of republican candidates, but admits Ryan left out some key details, but got the meat of it right. Many of the articles you link to have even added updates to point out the additional details as CNN reports them. Many of the articles, including politifact are even at odds with the CNN article. http://articles.cnn.com/2012-08-30/politics/politics_pol-fact-check-ryan-gm_1_gm-plant-president-obama-barack-obama

    It just goes to show that the truth is a complicated thing and can be interpreted or misinterpreted in any number of ways, regardless of the party.

  • Mike Bock

    Bryan, This post is not suggesting that the GOP has a monopoly on lies. It is reporting the fact that Paul Ryan in his acceptance speech told a lot of whoppers and predicts that these whoppers will be at the center of the Romney campaign. It’s astoundingly contradictory that a political party where evangelicals and conservative Christians have such influence should promote and applaud a candidate that lies, lies, lies. My point: “The fact that a major political party should seek to control the White House by conducting such a strategy is a strong warning that our republic is in real danger.”

    You write: “I would expect that next week you write a similar article on the blatant and bold lies told by the democrats and reference a number of republican leaning news sources to support it.” Yes, I will be listening to hear if lies are told, but, the fact is, it is unlikely that the Dems will come close to matching the boldness of the big lies told by Ryan. You seem to want to excuse Ryan because you are convinced that his opponents are equal in their untruths, but, the reason I took the effort to make this post is because it seems to me that Ryan is raising the bar way beyond the usual.

    Interestingly, the reporter from Fox News, Sally Kohn, representing a network not known for favoring Dems, wrote, “Republicans should be ashamed” She concludes her article: “ultimately by trying to deceive voters about basic facts and trying to distract voters from his own record, Ryan’s speech caused a much larger problem for himself and his running mate.”

    Her comments:
    “To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.
    The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.
    Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.
    Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush. Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant, while Romney has criticized the auto industry bailout that President Obama ultimately enacted to prevent other plants from closing.
    Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn’t what the president said. Period.
    Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.
    Elections should be about competing based on your record in the past and your vision for the future, not competing to see who can get away with the most lies and distortions without voters noticing or bother to care. Both parties should hold themselves to that standard. Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many.”

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/08/30/paul-ryans-speech-in-three-words/#ixzz25PTxRFsg/#ixzz25P90EwZG

  • Stan Hirtle

    What are lies and truth in a political campaign and why do you care? Bryan says “truth is a complicated thing and can be interpreted or misinterpreted in any number of ways, regardless of the party.” Giuliani said “Well Look, when people give speeches not every fact is absolutely accurate.” In academia accuracy matters. In politics what matters is what the person hears, based on his/her own feelings and assumptions, and what he/she does afterward. In practice there are many target audiences. You want to energize the base, convince the uncommitted, get favorable spin from as much as the opinion media as you need. Some audiences may care or pick up on cues, while others do not. Furthermore you have the quote, attributed to political master Karl Rove, that reality based people are less important in an Empire than actors who create their own reality.

    Here the facts are that Obama came to the Janesville plant to campaign in 2008. He is quoted as having said ” I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.” Ryan originally said that Obama promised to keep the plant open and broke his promise. However, it was clear there was no actual promise. At his acceptance speech, Ryan left out the part about retooling and said “Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.” In fact the plant closing was announced, and production shut down, during Bush’s term, as was the original GM bailout, although GM’s bankruptcy filing, the deal to give the government nonvoting stock in GM, and the actual decommissioning of the plant happened early in Obama’s administration. Certainly no retooling program could have been successful by then. And the plant has not been reopened during Obama’s administration. Is Ryan lying, or perhaps more accurately is he selectively editing the facts to mislead his hearers? Are his statements just political opinion, or perhaps just “puffing” on the campaign theme that Obama has failed in his job to fix America’s economic problems? Is he just being on message and who cares about the details (particularly if you agree with the message?) If the truth is a complicated thing, shouldn’t we expect our politicians to have some integrity in how they present complicated truths to us for decision? Or do we expect them to get away with whatever they can get away with (perhaps based on the dynamics with the opinion media and blogosphere and who they reach in today’s era of the Big Sort where people listen mostly to those who agree with them) and tell us what we want to hear? Do these politicians know better than what they are telling us, and if so what does that mean? Or is winning by any means necessary the only thing?

  • Mike Bock

    Stan, you ask a good question: “If the truth is a complicated thing, shouldn’t we expect our politicians to have some integrity in how they present complicated truths to us for decision? Or do we expect them to get away with whatever they can get away with …?”

    Your use of the word “politician,” I believe, says a lot. It is a term that now carries a lot of negative baggage.

    Those we put in authority over us should be exemplary human beings. We should be electing public servants, statesmen, and stateswomen, leaders, visionaries, teachers, problems solvers, communicators, healers. But, instead, we have allowed our system of representative democracy to become so degraded that, instead of choosing those among us who are most worthy, we are electing “politicians.”

  • Stan Hirtle

    At some level professional politicians are like a professional military. It’s a job that many find is too unpleasant or ugly for them, so the professionals get disconnected from everyone else. get their own culture, their ways of discipline within the culture, and very likely their own self seeking agenda. I wonder about people who get into politics and get socialized into doing the ugly side of it all the time. People like Beagle, the state senator, or even Turner or Hall before him. They didn’t start out to be lords over fiefdoms or to do the ugly stuff, but they plug into a system that does that, and to get along you need to go along. They probably wanted to do good for the community as they saw it, and were prepared to play by the rules to do that. But then you think of national Machiavellian figures like Rove or before him Atwater or Ailes who are able to set the tone and drive the system in their direction. Probably a lot of people don’t want to have anything to do with “politics” because of that and it leaves those with more tolerance or enjoyment of the ugly side to establish the environment. Everyone else then lives under it, and maybe comes up and votes in some big election, where the choices have been limited by what goes on before. The public expects more, but has no way to get it. They would like the Democrats and Republicans to get together and compromise their differences in a way that solves problems. They get the Republicans deciding from day one that Obama needed to be a one term president and they have been working at seemingly nothing else. When you get to the highest levels you have no idea what they really think about anything because they are so much into character and playing these games to get an advantage. Underlying all of this, the power of money to bid everyone out of the market, the power of insiders to manipulate the system in their favor, and a system that self selects people who are deceptive, manipulative and power hungry, you have the fact that we have a lot of divisions in the society that people do not work around or overcome. Whether or not people believe in all of these radically different realities, are just doing it because that is how you get power, or some combination of these, we have a “politics” problem that is a democracy problem.

  • Bryan

    When Stan said that accuracy matters in academia, I couldn’t agree more. It also matters to most voters, too. However, thanks to politicians and the media, it is often very hard to find out exactly what is and isn’t accurate.

    One thing I like about online news is the growing trend where article references are linked back to sources allowing readers to go all the back to the source such as a report, audio, or video.

    The fox new article you posted, which was on the opinion page, listed many facts that weren’t so factual if you started linking back to the sources. In many ways, it’s like the telephone game. The farther you get from the original source, the less accurately it is represented.

    For example: Fact 1 says Ryan blamed the dems for the credit downgrade, when the rating agency blamed the republicans. If you follow the source back to the document, you find that the rating agency blasted both parties for failing to take action regarding agreements to address both revenues (taxes) and cuts(entitlements). The only mention of republicans was buried in rational for changing inputs to their best, worst, and middle line case assumptions.

    Even the huffington post articles have been updated to show that fact 2 isn’t really correct in that the janesville GM plant wasn’t fully shutdown until April 2009.

    The medicare cuts issue has just been a mess for both sides.

    Now I’m wondering if you are going to report on the top lies or misleading statements told and repeated at the DNC this week. Some of the big ones that come to mind are the $4.5M jobs statements, the Mass. ranking for job growth under Romney, the details of the Ryan Medicare plan, and how Obama calculates cutting $4 trillion from the debt.

  • Mike Bock

    Bryan, The Annenberg Public Policy Center seems very credible and puts a lot of effort into fact checking. The Center agrees with you that both Obama and Biden, at the Democratic Convention, made incorrect and exaggerated statements. I think a good argument can be made, however, that, in the contest for making deliberately incorrect statements that satisfy the criteria for being “whoppers,” Paul Ryan takes the cake. The reason I was motivated to write this post is that, in his speech, Ryan seemed amazingly bold and blatant in his lying and seemed intent on setting a new standard.

    The bigger issue is that lies and misinformation in presidential politics has become the norm. Even for someone who is making the effort to sort it all out, it is hard to separate out all the lies and deliberate distortions — and fact checkers disagree with each other. There are a lot of hired guns and supposed experts who actually are being paid to misinform, not to educate. For the biggest part of the voting public, the result of these campaigns spending millions is not increased understanding, but, increased confusion. The problem is, without some foundation of truth and agreed to facts, there can be no basis for rational discussion or any hope for reasoning together in some productive way. And so, the whole basis for our representative democracy — an informed and engaged citizenry — is dangerously undermined.

    Our political process has become one where it is all about winning and we have created a system where a politician is rewarded for lying and rarely punished. It is appalling that our media seems to lack authentic journalists and that some political figure in an interview can tell lie after lie and never be challenged by the supposed journalist conducting the interview. It is appalling that we have web sites and whole networks devoted to promulgating misinformation

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