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View Diary: Rick Perry was right: Mitt Romney did remove line about Romneycare (39 comments)

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  •  It's good that Perry caught Romney out, (0+ / 0-)

    I suppose, and it's an especially slimy move to publish a softcover version that presents itself as an unrevised version of the hardback, while omitting key items from the earlier version of the book.

    However, I'm already getting a kind of sinking feeling about the exchange of soundbites and "gotcha" scenarios that we've already seen, and as we know, it's early in the game.

    Think back to 2008, and think how annoyed we all were that the Dem primaries were subject to a never-ending litany of faux-"gates": Phone-gate (would Obama take a 3 AM call?) Flag pin-Gate (is a cheap metal flag pin a surefire representation of a candidate's relative degree of patriotism?), "I-like-you-well-enough"-gate (did Obama hurt Clinton's feelings?), and on and on.

    We never really got the nuanced policy discussion that we all really needed. Or, to be precise, we got it -- I do remember a few dribs and drabs here and there about the relative merits of Clinton's and Obama's health care plans, about the sensibility of mandates, and so forth -- but it was all lost within an inane back-and-forth about useless ephemera.

    What this meant was that two candidates who had a lot in common, and who should have been seen as batting for the same team, were caught up in one of the most divisive primaries in years. And what did we really learn from all that?

    Now, I'm not naive. 24/7 news channels, the ubiquity of YouTube and cell phone cameras, live blogging -- these all provide a congenial, and practically unavoidable context for the rise of "gotcha" questions and soundbite wars.

    And I know for a fact that we would be stupid to assume that the Republican pundits and politicians would ever dial back the soundbite attacks on President Obama.

    But I would love to see a soundbite war that had some tenuous link to reality. In theory, we do get a bit of this with the Romney pseudo-scandal: it is important to know what Romney's plans are for American health care. But the fact is that whatever Romney thought in 2002, his current stance is the repeal of Obama's health care plan... so does it really matter whether Perry found him tweaking his book, or editing his Wikipedia page, or doing whatever? In the end, the current environment in the Republican party is congenial to repeal, and so that's almost certainly what any Republican candidate would do as their first action in office -- if only to distance themselves from Obama.

    Certain soundbites are important. It was very important to know, for example, that McCain -- at the height of the financial crisis -- thought that "the fundamentals of the economy are still strong." That shit revealed how basically divorced from reality McCain really was.

    But I'm going to get very tired of a campaign that is nothing but a Red Team/Blue Team exchange of trivial salvos, based upon largely meaningless, symbolic debates over non-issues. And that's what the age of the soundbite portends.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 08:08:42 AM PDT

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