Playing the Indian Card

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Republican Convention Through the Looking Glass

It’s weird how the reporting on the Republican convention and its speeches differs depending on which outlet you consult. If you go to any right-wing outlet, say, National Review, what were the best speeches of the convention? Probably the most excitement is about Paul Ryan (“fading Obama poster”), Clint Eastwood (“the empty chair presidency”), and Mia Love. If you go to any of the MSM guys, or the officially left-wing press, what were the great failures of the convention? Paul Ryan’s speech (“he lied”), and Clint Eastwood’s speech (“bizarre and embarrassing; a train wreck”). (See, for example, And Mia Love? Her speech was cut by NBC; never shown nor mentioned. A search on Google News shows few references to it anywhere in the left-wing or mainstream media.

Both perceptions cannot be true; someone must be either scamming their listeners/readers, or delusional.

That last factoid, the odd absence of Mia Love from NBC and others, makes me believe that it is the right that has it right. (Of course, I could be accused of partisanship. I am Catholic.)

Another factoid that makes me believe this: Slate Magazine, definitely leftist, ran a snap internet poll right after Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech, asking whether Romney’s speech made readers more or less likely to vote for him. The result showed a strong jump in Romney support. Yet the Slate readership is presumably predisposed towards Obama. This reaction, inevitably, also reflected the results of the Eastwood speech immediately before Romney’s. SurveyUSA ran a similar snap poll, and detected a 10% swing from Obama to Romney over the night. ( So Eastwood seems to have hit home.Rasmussen is also detecting movement Mittward.

So we have solid, objective evidence that Mia Love and Clint Eastwood really were good. What about Ryan? Did Ryan lie in his speech? It really ought to be possible to determine, objectively, whether what he said was in violation of the facts or not.

The main or marquee claim is that he lied about the closing of a plant in his home town. But a careful reading of what he actually said shows that it was precisely accurate, and his words seem to have been extremely well-chosen.

The second claim is that he lied in accusing Obama of “doing nothing” in the face of the Simpson-Bowles debt report. The critics point out that Ryan himself voted against that report. But he did not blame Obama for rejecting Simpson Bowles per se, but for “doing nothing”—in other words, presumably, it would have been okay if he had had any alternative plan to reduce the deficit, if not Simpson-Bowles. Did Ryan himself vote against it in favour of “doing nothing”? No—he had his own plan, as everybody knows well. Again, his words seem to have been truthful, and carefully chosen.

Of course, it is not literally true that Obama "did nothing" about the deficit. But it is true that the deficit has grown exponentially on his watch. Seems like fair comment, well within the realm of normal political discourse.

Was there an intent to mislead? Possibly, possibly not. I don’t see it. Everyone is free to judge that for themselves. You can’t prove intent.

And you cannot fairly accuse someone of lying when their words are true.

So, given that the mainstream and left-wing media are well off the beam here, what is going on? As noted before, they must either be deliberately conning their readers and listeners, or they must be delusional. Either reflects poorly on the prospects for the left this time around. If they have resorted to the con, they have lost the moral mandate of heaven, and must themselves be feeling desperate. If they are delusional, they are not going to be able to respond to events sensibly and intelligently. They are likely to do things that are not in their best interests, and fail to do things that are.

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