Of course, Republicans will immediately reject the Washington Post fact checker’s findings that Day #1 of their convention was “Four Pinocchios” false. Why will they reject it? Not because the fact checker, Glenn Kessler, got it wrong, that’s for sure. Here are the two Big Lies from last night, with a few of Kessler’s comments.
1. The utterly fallacious “you didn’t built that” line of attack. Kessler asks, “Can an entire convention be built around a grammatical error?” It’s a good question, because that’s exactly what this is: total distortion, taken to the nth degree, of what Obama was actually saying. As Kessler explains it, Obama was “making the unremarkable point that companies and entrepreneurs often benefit in some way from taxpayer support for roads, education and so forth…trying to make the case for higher taxes, and for why he believes the rich should pay more, which as we noted is part of a long Democratic tradition.”
2. The “President Obama waived the work requirement for welfare” Big Lie line of attack (it’s also despicable for another reason, namely that it’s taken from the Lee Atwater/Jesse Helms “southern strategy”, appealing to/stoking racial resentment). According to Kessler, this one’s “a gross simplification of a complex issue,” with “PolitiFact awarding the claim ‘Pants on Fire’ and FactCheck.Org also saying it was incorrect.” In addition, I’d point out that welfare wasn’t even in the top 10 (20?) issues anyone cared about, prior to millions of dollars of these disgusting, pandering-to-racism ads going up on TV. So why are Republicans spending those tens of millions of dollars on this? Ezra Klein explains that one (“Race and the 2012 election”) extremely well.
And that’s pretty much the GOP convention recap for last night: two attacks on Obama, both utterly fallacious according to every independent fact checker who’s looked at them, one of them at the minimum appealing to racial resentment. I mean, can you get any more appalling than this? Oh yeah, I almost forgot Todd Akin, Paul Ryan’s plan to voucherize Medicare, Mitt Romney’s comments about wanting the U.S. auto industry to go bankrupt, etc., etc. Unfortunately, that’s today’s Republican Party – most definitely NOT the party I joined as a Teenage Republican back in the late 1970s in Connecticut, back when the party was dominated by moderates and even progressives, people like…George Romney, just to pick one randomly. Heh.
By the way, Kessler also notes that Republicans themselves have cited the same exact fact checkers when it suits their interests, so take their predictable, automatic, kneejerk rejection of Kessler’s finding that Day #1 of the GOP convention was based on two “Four Pinocchios” lies with a huge grain of salt.
P.S. Check out the exclusive video, above, from behind the scenes at the GOP convention last night. Fascinating, huh? 🙂