The Great Lie List Of 2012
On August 31, 2012, 10:58 AM by Savannah Cox
The lie is the contemporary conservative’s pocket square. Here’s a handful of the most colorful ones present at the Republican National Convention.
As alarming as it was obvious, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse recently stated that “The Romney campaign is not going to be dictated by fact checkers”. While Newhouse constrained his opposition to facts to the 2012 campaign trail, he could very well have uttered the exact same thing regarding this week’s Republican National Convention, which resembled more of a crazed fan fiction gathering than a forum to promote party goals and platforms to the masses. True, hyperbole is as ubiquitous as American flags at any party convention, but to the chagrin of this year’s conservative attendees (actually, probably not) truth is not infinitely elastic. There is a breaking point, but Republicans—seemingly unsatisfied with seeing truth snapped and spread across the floor—took the rhetorical equivalent of a jackhammer to it this week in Tampa. Here are some of the highlights.
1. “We Built That” Intentionally Misleading Paraphrase
Not since the days of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the American audience been subject to such an exemplary display of slicing and dicing. This lie, which served as the marrow of Tuesday night’s convention speeches and faux-campy video montages, divined its inspiration from a statement Barack Obama made in Roanoke, Virginia earlier this summer regarding his proposal to increase taxes on those earning $250,000 or more per year. The original quote is here:
“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. 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. Somebody else made that happen.”
Granted, Barack’s phrasing lacked the eloquence of the statement’s originator and fellow GOP ire-inspirer, Elizabeth Warren, but it should have been fairly obvious that the demonstrative pronoun, “that,” referred to infrastructure, not the business in question. The GOP’s tweetable edit can be seen below. For what it’s worth, what their paraphrasing lacks in intellectual honesty it gains in prickly pithiness.
“Let me tell you, if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
2. Barack Obama: Welfare King
On that same day—and just as commonplace as an outraged Ron Paul supporter—was the idea that Barack Obama’s administration seeks to end the work requirement for an individual to receive welfare and thus dole out dollars that we don’t have to support those who don’t deserve them. But unfortunately for the GOP, no amount of skillful stitching can save this claim from what it is: an unsightly and factually unsound invention aimed at portraying the United States’ first African American president as a welfare king.
The GOP’s claim did come from somewhere, but sadly it’s not nearly as exciting or fantastical as a made-for-TV movie on TNT. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services vocalized that they would consider—yes, just consider—granting waivers from implementing the welfare-to-work requirement in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to states if they could show that they had more effective measures in helping welfare recipients find employment. In other words, granting more authority to the states. Which is something that, you know, the Republican platform should like in principle—that is if those principles included anything beyond deceit and calculated manipulation of truth.
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