READER, it's from a column called The Fact Checker:
For all the outrage (on the left) about misrepresentations and misinformation in Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech accepting the Republican nomination for vice president, my reaction was: par for the course.
We are, of course, talking about a political convention. The whole point is for the party to put its best foot forward to the American people. By its very nature, that means downplaying unpleasant facts, highlighting the positive and knocking down the opposing team.So Lies are understandable, expected, and all in the nature of confrérie; reaction (on the left) is tiresome and unrealistic, a wetter of blankets and a pooper of parties.
This is from a column called The Fact Checker.
In fact, until Ryan showed up, in the traditional role of a vice president attack dog, my impression was that, given the nasty, brutish attacks by both sides in this campaign, the Republicans were generally on good behavior.
The first night was a bit odd, since it was devoted to the political exploitation of a single Obama gaffe — “You didn’t build that” — the Republicans blatantly misrepresent. The theme was so overdone, with virtually every speaker making reference to it, that it may have actually diluted the impact of the attack.Y'know, so long as it's still referred to as a "gaffe" by what is referred to as "political journalists" then it's not dilute enough. In fact, so long as there are yet-undrowned Republicans floating on it not nearly enough water's been added.
Ryan was so quickly labeled a fibber by the Obama campaign that one suspects it was a deliberate effort to tear down his reputation as a policy expert, similar to using attacks on Romney’s Bain Capital record to undermine his reputation as a skilled business executive.
Oh, yes, one does suspect that. Just as one suspects the only people who actually believe that Ryan is a "policy expert" are members of the press corps too bored by policy to bother looking.
But worst convention speech ever? Please.
The Obama campaign said that? Facts, please.
Palin, for instance, gave a self-serving account of her support for the “Bridge to Nowhere”— claiming she said “thanks but no thanks”— when in fact she had supported it until it was largely killed by Congress. This is a bigger failure to tell the whole story than Ryan criticizing Obama for doing nothing with the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction recommendation, without noting that he himself voted against the commission report .
No. It isn't. Not unless we're voting for who we want to be best friends with in third grade, and those are the only two choices.
Palin's comments underlined a personal dishonesty so thorough that no one would trust her to make the proper change. This was a subject the Press, naturally, stayed the hell away from; her wardrobe grifting got some play, but also the required faux-balance pushback. When she told Katie Couric she read "all" newspapers it was taken as evidence that she couldn't name any (possibly true, extemporaneously, anyway), but not so much as evidence that she'd lie to anyone about breakfast, if she felt she needed to ("C'mon. She's a politician!").
Ryan, on the other hand, simply misrepresents inconvenient facts in order to push his apodictic Randian certainties on the rest of us, and those certainties collapse the moment facts are applied. That's an exponentially greater lie than Palin's fictional bio (or Marco Rubio's), and several orders of magnitude more consequential.
For all the tough ads on television, this cycle’s GOP convention was largely a kinder, gentler affair.
C'mon, it's a political convention. Romney wasn't gonna break out the Birther routine again. Besides, they save Full Crackpot Mode for incumbents (Buchanan '92; Zell Miller '04).
In his acceptance speech, Mitt Romney toned down his rhetoric. He repeated some claims that have earned him Four Pinocchios (such as Obama going on an “apology tour” overseas) but he passed up many others, such as reprising an attack on an Obama administration change in welfare rules that his campaign claims is his most effective ad.
Yeah, now you point it out, "Traitor" does sound a lot nicer than "Shiftless Negro". Probably more popular with primetime advertisers, too.
Romney’s speech had none of that angry, dismissive tone.
Look, how does one become a Fact Checker without understanding that this PR shit is the biggest lie of all? The tone of Romney's speech had nothing to do with anything other than the roomful of expensive consultants who decided what tone he needed to take.
Ultimately, convention speeches are about making the argument for your team. We should fully expect politicians to make their case using facts and figures that either tilt positive about their accomplishment — or negative about their opponents.
Yes. Using facts and figures. If you can't make your case without lying outright, then you can't do it at all.
As the fact checking business has blossomed in the news media, it has been increasingly hard for politicians to get away with such truth-shading without someone noticing.
Though not at the WaPo Fact Checker column, apparently.