Romney: What is truth in the age of Dowd!


Parker spots the prompters: Jonathan Chait cites the following language from Mitt Romney’s speech in New Hampshire last night:
ROMNEY (12/20/11): Just a couple of weeks ago in Kansas, President Obama lectured us about Teddy Roosevelt’s philosophy of government. But he failed to mention the important difference between Teddy Roosevelt and Barack Obama. Roosevelt believed that government should level the playing field to create equal opportunities. President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes.

In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing—the government.

The truth is that everyone may get the same rewards, but virtually everyone will be worse off.
As Chait notes, those highlighted claims are basically crazy. Unless you read today’s New York Times, where Ashley Parker ignores what was said and takes us toward the essentials:
PARKER (12/21/11): On Tuesday night, in what was billed as a major speech here, complete with teleprompters, Mr. Romney appealed directly to the states’ voters, railing against what he called the big-spending government and “entitlement society” envisioned by President Obama.

“President Barack Obama has reversed John Kennedy’s call for sacrifice,” he said. “He would have Americans ask, ‘What can the country do for you?’ ”
That was Parker’s full account of the speech. She skipped past the problems with what was said. Instead, she turned to an age-of-Obama snark point: When Romney said the things he said, he was using two teleprompters!

That is Dowdism in a nut-shell, delivered by a fatuous child the famous Times has been grooming. That said, Chait got his text from Alexander Burns at Politico. Burns breezed right past the content too.

The children are very dumb, basically empty. For reasons no one has ever explained, the Times has been happy to breed these life-forms as the spawn of Dowd.

Just a guess: Within the house of the Times, this will help build Parler's rep for being cool and knowing. Reason: She took a dumb-as-rocks Foxified point and turned the point against them.

In a world of very dumb folk, this counts as being smart.


  1. Of course, the use of teleprompters has been normal for decades, not just at the Presidential level but even for ordinary business conferences that I've attended.

    From my conservative POV Chait is pretty much correct. Romney's supposed distinction is ridiculously exaggerated.

    IMHO that quoted section was not Romney's strongest available criticism of President Obama. I think the President is vulnerable on more specific areas, such as over-expanding the size and power of government, giving special favors to friends and donors, and ineffective design of his health reform and stimulus bills.

    Perhaps Romney mentioned some of these things. I have unable to find a full text of the speech. But, the section quoted by Chait strikes me as too vague and exaggerated to be helpful.

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  3. "I think the President is vulnerable on more specific areas, such as over-expanding the size and power of government, giving special favors to friends and donors, and ineffective design of his health reform and stimulus bills."

    Care to cite any specifics? Too much enforcement from the EPA? Solyndra? Not enough shift to private health insurance provider reliance in the ACA? Not enough income tax relief in the stimulus, perhaps?

  4. Too vague and exaggerated, indeed. Ha!

  5. "Special favors to friends..."

    Of course! You mean unions, don't you?

  6. Some of us that attended high school during the cold war might remember the parable about "If I gave everyone an "A", the A students would eventually quit striving, the C students would quit working altogether and the F students would sleep through class.
    The meaning was social programs are socialism and socialism is communism, and the country would fall apart if government helped the needy.
    Romney is repackaging that old argument, and putting words into people's mouths to do it.
    Some will reject his comments out of hand, and others will spread them around as a brilliant analysis of WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICA!

    We also heard at that time that welfare recipients would vote in politicians that would tax the rich and give the money to the poor, like Robin Hood.
    Well, that certainly came to pass, didn't it?

  7. One man's "ridiculously exaggerated" is another man's "false and defamatory," especially when #1 is D in C.

    Fact: Romney will say false things about Obama because that's what the GOP base demands and because he knows the MSM won't call him on it. Witness the Politifact silliness.

    Fact: opportunity is less equal today than it's been in decades, with ridiculously large share of income and wealth going to the top 1%, especially to the top 10% of the top 1%. Mobility in the US is declining, now lower than in most of Europe (except the UK, where the Tories are punishing the 99% with growth-killing austerity). Will Mitt tell that truth? Not bloody likely, given his Bain history of job destruction.

  8. I don't want to hijack the thread, but below are a few specifics. I know that there are responses to these charges, but at least they're more specific than what Romney was quoted as saying.

    -- Federal spending grew from around 19% of GNP to around 25% of GNP

    -- Much of the stimulus money went to traditional Democratic groups, rather than for shovel-ready projects.

    -- The health reform bill is so complex and yet so undefined that it makes planning impossible. See

    Incidentally, in line with Bob Somerby's complaint about the Times not doing a good job of covering serious news, today's paper has a rather major correction:

    And the article misstated Israeli charges against one of the freed prisoners, Izzedine Abu Sneineh, who had been arrested three years ago at age 15. Israel had accused him of weapons training, attempted murder and possession of explosives — not throwing stones and hanging Palestinian flags from telephone poles.

  9. The Dowdettes like Parker might be dumb as a stone quarry, but they're going to go very far, and we'll all be the worse off for it.

    But what you gonna do?

    Now, about the Ivy League...

  10. BillNRoc, I haven't seen the statistics, but I'll take your word for it that mobility in the US is declining. And, yet it's clear to me that opportunity is more equal than it used to be. Take these examples from my own life:

    -- When I went to college in 1960, it was a big financial burden. Lots of people just couldn't afford it. Today, scholarships and loans are so widely available that most can afford to go to college. And, financial support is also widely available for postgraduate and professional education.

    -- The UC Bekeley Math Department discriminated against women in the 1960's and 1970's. Obviously, that's a closed chapter.

    -- When I started work in a big insurance company, blacks were hired only in the mail room. Women were treated as far below men. Jews and Asians had just begun to be tolerated. Even white, male, Catholics had been discriminated against until the mid-1960's.

    -- In the actuarial field, anyone who can pass the exams is employable with excellent job prospects. His or her background doesn't matter. In fact, there's a fair amount of outreach to bring blacks into the field.

    It's an interesting puzzle to try to figure out why mobility is declining, despite improvements in opportunity.

  11. David in Cal -- You say you're an actuary, so I assume that you're pretty good with numbers. That makes me wonder why you write that under Obama "federal spending grew from 19% of GNP to around 25% of GNP." You have to understand that your statement is grossly misleading.

    First, a comparison of spending under Obama with spending under Bush shows that in his first 3 years in office Bush increased the federal budget by more than 21% above what it was in Clinton's final budget. Obama has increased spending by less than 20% over Bush's final budget.

    Second, using "percentage of GNP" to discuss federal spending ignores the denominator in that equation -- the GNP, which in this instance contracted in 2008-09. That contraction caused federal spending to take up a larger percentage of GNP, and would have done so even if spending didn't increase at all.

  12. Anonymous, I think your points are valid to a degree. Yes, George Bush escalated federal spending quite a bit. And, if GNP had risen more, the ratio would be lower.

    A way to avoid problems with the ratio is to look at actual dollars. Federal spending at the end of Clinton's term was around $2 trillion/year. At the end of Bush's term, it was around $3 trillion. Today, it's around $4 trillion.

    From my POV Bush did a bad thing by expanding government so much. Rather than fix what Bush had done wrong, Obama made it worse. The same is true of the deficit. Bush ran very high deficits; Obama's are even worse.

    Also, we're in for a huge jump in spending once Obamacare comes fully into effect. As that law is structured, businesses are encouraged to cancel their their employee health coverage. The reason is that the fine for doing so ($2000/employee) is cheaper than the cost of providing the coverage. Employees without coverage will be covered by a federal program.

    So, it's possible that a majority of our of workers and their families will be covered by a federal program. For them, it will work something like Medicare. Medicare cost 3.6% of GDP in 2010 and is projected to rise to about 6.2 percent of GDP by 2085. Obamacare, as currently structured, will cover more people than the 45 million or so in Medicare, although the average medical expense will be lower than for the seniors in Medicare. It's not unreasonable to imagine that the percentage of federal spending to GNP will move the current 25% to the high 20's and might exceed 30%. This is a radical departure from the historical federal spending ratio of 18% - 19%.

  13. DinC
    For crying out loud, give us a break here!

    Old Zen saying, "When the student is ready, the master will appear."

    You obviously are not ready to accept new ideas or facts.
    This blog is not intended to teach you what you are not willing to learn.

    Read Paul Krugman's "The Conscience of a Liberal". Read Robert Reich's "Aftershock". Read Thomas Frank's "The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule". Read Charles R. Pierce's "Idiot America". Read Eric Boehlert's "Bloggers on the Bus".
    Google Piketty and Saez and read their studies. Google "Beat the Press".
    Google "The Baseline Scenario".
    Stop trying to interpret numbers and graphs through a conservative fog and read a little modern American history and economics.
    You will be amazed at how many things you will understand when you learn how we got here.
    Please try it.

  14. Still fiddling while New Rome burns. Partisan politics in the military-industrial-media-government complex merely hides continued authoritarian policies under new skins.
    I like Krugman and Reich myself - but economics is a field which theorizes rationales rather than punches the buttons much of the time. For that you have to look at Progressives and pay attention to Ron Paul. Racist and rich he may be - but he,Ralph Nader,Lyndon LaRouche,Michael Chussdovsky and Noam Chomsky all lend a variety to analysis missing elsewhere. Then again, Steve Lendman and M. Jay Rosenberg plow the field of foreign policy and Israel as well.

  15. What are we supposed to do with people like David in California? Obama might suck, but it's the Republicans that made him do it. Everything Romney says is a lie, every single thing. This is the guy whose prophet got it from a golden salamander.

  16. Evidently some people will fan the flames of religious bigotry in order to try to win the election.

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