The Daily Show: Lies, Damned Lies, and Republican Talking Points
August 31, 2012 5 Comments
THE DAILY SHOW: A party too patriotic for facts. A candidate too successful for taxes. A city where flip-flops are evening wear. From Tampa, Florida, this is the Republican National Convention: the Road to Jeb Bush 2016.
The Romney campaign’s insistence on taking Obama’s “you didn’t build that” quotation out of context is emblematic of their fondness for duplicity. What were Barack Obama’s actual words?
CNN: “Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” he said. “You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.
“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that,” he continued. “Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.”
Okay, so Obama was saying that you didn’t build the public infrastructure on which your private company relies, but what are facts when it comes to making ideological points?
PAUL RYAN: And I hope you understand this, too. If you’re feeling left out or passed by — you have not failed. Your leaders have failed you.
JON STEWART: Time out….let me get this straight. So if your dry-cleaning business succeeds with a Democrat in office — you built that. But if your dry-cleaning business fails with a Democrat in office — the government f#cked you. So, still no hard truths. That sounds like it’s just convenient truths. You know, at this point in this speech, I’d settle for any truth.
Last night, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show presented a wonderful fact-based takedown of the myth of the self-start as epitomized by Mitt Romney.
THE DAILY SHOW: George W. Romney was a wealthy auto executive and future Michigan governor, but being born his son was anything but luck. Willard Mitt Romney won the coveted position only by out-competing thousands of less motivated sperm.
And though, when he was a teenager, the Romney family was for a time forced to take shelter in public housing –
– young Mitt refused on principle to take taxpayer money for his schooling, instead convincing a local businessman to invest in his future.
And then, Vietnam. Romney volunteered to serve. In France. A Mormon missionary, bravely fighting the French people’s love of wine. It was a quagmire.
….Back stateside, the handsome connected young man bucked the odds, gaining admission to Harvard. Refusing on principle to pay for school with taxpayer money, but instead with his own hard-earned stock, given to him by a local businessman.
…armed only with Ivy league, business, and law degrees and the Rolodex of a local businessman –
– Mitt Romney trail-blazed his way to a pioneering new Boston firm, where he learned how to secrete money.
From there, it was a series of personal triumphs, from single-handedly saving the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, to electing himself governor of Massachusetts.
The Daily Show proceeds to take us through Romney’s transition from defending gay rights and reproductive rights to attacking those rights with zeal.
I actually think that there is a consistency to Romney’s ethics. Romney will take whatever position is needed to gain power, so long as he can serve moneyed interests.
But the fact underlying conservative willingness to lie about Obama’s “you didn’t build that” statement is that they need to lie. That is, this deliberate lie is emblematic of the conservative reliance on fiction. Their entire perspective on free enterprise depends upon one willfully ignoring the amount of public assistance that goes toward delivering private profit.
Mitt Romney doesn’t build these lies himself. He has the assistance of an entire conservative movement.