News reports of the Romney-Ryan ticket bring to mind the continuing bias of today's journalism. Oh, I'm not talking about Fox News, the Tea Party Channel. In fact, the reporting class bias bends heavily in two directions: equivalency and laziness.
Whenever I hear the words "both sides do it" my skepticism meter goes toward the high end of the scale. I don't become a total rejectionist. But if I start hearing weak examples, or if I hear no examples at all, my hand heads toward the channel changer like Dr. Strangelove's arm shoots reflexively toward the new Republican direction. Sometimes both sides actually do something or other, so I wait long enough for a quick judgment.
That's the equivalency part. One side eats little kittens alive. The other side shoots rabid dogs. So both sides do the same thing. Kind of.
The laziness part is perpetual. It's part of human nature.
I can relate, of course. It gets worse with age. Some Saturdays I try to get up on time just so I won't miss my nap. I often regard sleep the way other folks regard a chef-prepared meal or the perfect martini. The best martini, by the way, ignored the Bond advice. It's never shaken, always stirred. Otherwise you get a bunch of tiny ice chips that quickly melt, which is okay if you like a watered down drink. Okay. Back to the art of sleep. I think of it the way friends might think of a chef-prepared meal or the perfect martini. M-m-m-m, that's good. Gimme more.
Journalists don't actually sleep. Ever. But they are lazy.
I'm thinking now of Mitt Romney's bold choice of Paul Ryan. Bold is the word. Mitt Romney has taken under his wing the top choice of the rightest wing of the right wing of the right wing Republican Party. So it's bold. Ryan has been famous for a while. He's been the man with a plan. It's the one that turns Medicare into a voucher system. The one that turns the Romney 13.9% tax year into the 0 percent tax year. That's the Romney choice for Vice President.
Sounds pretty bold, right? Except Mitt Romney is making clear he doesn't necessarily buy the Ryan budget. "I have my budget plan. And that’s the budget plan we’re going to run on."
Democrats have been pouring arctic water on on the Mitt attempt to separate the man from the plan. History might help just a little. Mitt Romney went through a lot of trouble to convince the far right that the Ryan Budget is exactly what he wants to run on. Not "my budget plan." The Ryan plan.
Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress recalls five instances in which Mitt Romney endorsed the Ryan plan, if not to the delight of far right Republicans, at least to their placation.
I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan...I applaud it. It’s an excellent piece of work and very much needed.
He is setting the right tone for finally getting spending and entitlements under control... we are on the same page.
I think it’d be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budget and to adopt it and pass it along to the president.
We’re going to have to make changes like the ones Paul Ryan proposed.
- Paul Ryan and I have been working together over some months to talk about our mutual plans and we’re on the same page.
Democrats at large are making similar observations.
I notice something else at work. Each of the Romney endorsements resembles his tricky business contracts, the ones with magnifying glass loopholes, and tax-avoidance sub-paragraphs. The finely tuned clauses that engineer heads-I-win tails-I-win-bigger hidden ability to raid pension programs and retirement buildups.
marvelous if they would,
changes like the ones,
on the same page
It all sounds to the cheering throngs like endorsements. Sounds that way to news folks as well. News folks are supposed to know better than the keep-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare folks. But knowing equals research. Research equals work.
Lets see if the loophole technique holds when the wiggle protests begin. The "I never said that" protests. Will that fly with the general public the way it does with those sub-paragraph clauses in BainLand? We'll know eventually.
But for now, in journalist country, the quitting-time whistle is blowing. Copy due by five. Get it done with as little effort as possible.
Bold. Yeah. That's the word.
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My only regret is that Ryan isn't at the top of the ticket. ... oh and that he didn't have a more conservative VP at the bottom of the ticket.
Also, I think Democrats should be careful what they wish for. They're so giddy about Ryan, but I think by November 7th, they'll have reason to second-guess their initial reactions.
I'm inclined to agree with you on the boldness, or lack of it, of Governor Romney's choice of Paul Ryan, although I suspect our reasoning may differ.
History offers some support for your warning to those of us on the other side. Democratic glee about candidate Reagan in 1980, and Republican giddiness about candidate Clinton in 1992 might lead us to a bit of caution this year.
I especially remember a gathering of GOP leaders at the Bush White House laughing for the cameras at the idea of Bill Clinton posing an electoral threat.
If that pattern holds once again, I promise to write President Romney proposing a cabinet position for you. You should definitely lead one of the Departments our soon-to-be new Commander-in-Chief will abolish.
Of course, the perception of a candidate's experience is all about proper spinning--I mean framing.
No political experience? You bring a fresh perspective to the table.
Only political experience? You can get things done because you know the ins and outs of government.
No experience with the military or foreign policy? You aren't part of the "current mess."
Experience with the military or foreign policy? You are uniquely qualified.
And when it comes time to criticize the other candidate, you simply reverse the spin.
Now there's another:
Willing to reveal your tax returns? You're an honest man with nothing to hide.
Not willing to reveal your tax returns? It's no one's business anyway!
I hate the ridiculous and inconsistent propaganda. I just want to know the facts: the candidate's beliefs, his desires, how far he'll go to pursue those desires, his plans and how they'll get through Congress and be implemented, the fields in which he has experience, what he'll do to make up for inexperience, who his advisors will be, how he deals with the other political party, evidence of deception, etc.
None of this information is irrelevant; none of it is a "distraction." That is itself a spin. For those who are ideologically conflicted, information about a candidate's character might provide the incentive to vote for or against him. And even those who are not ideologically conflicted might think twice about voting for an unqualified or dishonest man.
This may not work (or it may), but he really didn't have much of a change (in my opinion), and now he has changed the game in a way where we cannot know the outcome.
That is what he needed to do.
My imagination tells me you are onto something. I do notice another pattern. It is as if Mr. Romney has dwelled for so long in contracts and technicalities that he sees the entire world as composed of contractual loopholes.
So if he uses "whereas" instead of "therefore" the voters will, like any friendly judge, let him get by with a technical interpretation.
So he carefully words his "endorsement" of the Ryan budget in in case he needs an extra-clause in a sub-paragraph that he can exercise, just as he would a tax option.
After all, voters will appreciate his interpretation as soon as he points out his carefully constructed language.
I did not say that you were wrong because I do not disagree with you. I was criticizing propaganda in politics, not you.
However, Romney's political identity is a bit more questionable. What he did as a governor may not be what he would do as president. Uncertainty is justified because of his inconsistency.
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