What do these things have in common? Like so many other things, they only have value in the eye of the beholder. Further than that though, they only have meaning in the eye of the beholder. The infamous “I know it when I see it” is often as good as any other explanation, though reams, nay tons (literally) have been written on each subject. Careers have been made on their study. Theories expounded. (Some of which I am more partial to than others, because they make more sense to me. However, that may just as well be my own bias as their validity, no?)
American political campaigns at a national level drag on far too long. To the point where they are exhausting for all involved – the electorate, the candidates, the campaign staff, the media, and even the political junkies. But, what is even worse, is that there is so much misinformation out there, and it isn’t serving any real purpose.
Let’s face a brutal fact here, shall we? Most people are not looking for information or opinions with an open mind. They are not gathering information in order to then reach a conclusion. This is not a scientific process. No, rather this is, for the vast majority of people, a religious process. They are, at best, looking for validation. They are looking for someone to agree with them. They’re looking for someone that the next time they are having an argument/discussion with another someone of the “opposite” political persuasion, they will be able to cite as part of their arsenal. Someone to use as part of their, “But, George Will says,” or “But, as Thomas Jefferson said”, if they bother to cite sources at all.
If people were looking for facts with an open mind, then we would have a very different election cycle. The conversation would be a very different one. We would not, for example, hear repeatedly about how in debt we are to China when the actual indebtedness to China is approximately 7% of the overall debt (as of July 2012). This is, in the big picture, a tiny fraction. However, to hear those on the right tell it, China owns our souls. We owe Japan almost as much ($1.12 trillion versus $1.15 trillion) and yet that is not all over the news. We do not hear Romney talking about how he’d cut programs based on, “Is it valuable enough to borrow money from Japan to pay for?” That is what we call misdirection.
We hear talk about cutting funding to PBS. Really? Because cutting 0.012% of the federal budget on a service that is invaluable to much of the country will really make a difference. This sounds like no big deal to people who live in major markets. In larger markets, this would be no big deal. To Sesame Street productions, this would really not directly be a hit. But, for smaller markets, this will mean an end to this service. But, that’s that 47% Romney doesn’t care about, right? Oh, no. That was just an inelegant statement. He didn’t really mean that. Again, in the eye of the beholder.
Let me just put this out there bluntly. If you really believe that Romney did not mean that he didn’t care about that 47%, you are simply either a fool or you are being intentionally blind. You decide which it is. The man said what he meant, in a private conversation, amongst people he thought were “safe” and it got out. Then he was embarrassed and he’s got to try to back pedal on it. Those are, again, facts. You do not misspeak those words that badly. This was not a slip of the lip where he said one or two words in error, or in the wrong order. This was 1 minute out of a much longer speech.
Following the Vice-presidential debate all of the far right “news” sources (Fox, Daily Caller, etc) are trying to push the line, as Britt Hume put it, that “I thought it was rude. And I have a feeling it will come across to an awful lot of people as rude. It looked like a cranky old man to some extent, debating a polite young man.” They are trying to push the angle the Ryan won the debate. Hume himself though points out that if you pay attention to facts, “If you read the transcript, you might conclude that the vice president had a very strong debate, that he had a lot to say, that he was strongly critical of Gov. Romney and his program, that he held his own.”
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