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View Diary: Rachel Maddow: "The most persistent [Republican] myth in the modern politics of American money." (120 comments)

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  •  About the Romney Math (42+ / 0-)

    Someone on MSNBC explained it in such a way that even an arithmetic idget like me can understand.

    Okay, I'm paraphrasing:

    Imagine you're in the drive-thru at McDonalds with a date who opens his nearly empty wallet and pulls out two crisp one dollar bills.  

    He then proceeds to order a Big Mac, Large Fries, a Strawberry Milk Shake, a Double Filet of Fish, Small Fries and a large coffee. Oh, and an Apple Pie.

    You and the cashier look at him like he's crazy when he hands her the two dollars.  Meanwhile, he insists that will cover it.  She asks for coupons.  He doesn't have any.  She asks if this a joke, and he just looks at her like she should know better.

    Well, that's basically Mitt Romney's number's problem.   It's mathematically impossible.

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

    by WFBMM on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 01:53:26 AM PDT

    •  Robert Gibbs scared me a bit (26+ / 0-)

      He didn't seem to be buying into the argument that the math should be easy to understand. I hope that Obama finds a much better way of presenting the idea that Romney's math doesn't work -- and that analogy works better than 5.1 trillion cut with 2.5 trillion more in defense...

      It's interesting to me that in those polls, the one where they asked "who do you trust" on lots of issues gives Obama the greatest lead. It's like they almost made people consider their votes. It makes it hard to say "Romney" after stating time after time, Obama is better for the country.

      But why doesn't Obama have a 10 point lead in that poll -- on all but one measure, Obama has a clear and often significant advantage... Weird.

      “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan” is an anagram for “My ultimate Ayn Rand Porn.”

      by theKgirls on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:56:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was wondering the same thing (9+ / 0-)

        I think this might be another small piece (of many) that race is playing a role in this election.

        "Mitt Romney has more positions than the Kama Sutra." -- me "Social justice is love, made public." -- Cornel West

        by billlaurelMD on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:02:02 AM PDT

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        •  I.e. some people would rather have their (8+ / 0-)

          pockets picked by the strong-seeming white guy than helped by the scary black dude with the terrorist name. But wouldn't they have been in the Romney camp from the start? I doubt that undecideds are that racist.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:52:52 AM PDT

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          •  There are people that are unconscious racists (11+ / 0-)

            Call it latent racism. In places where there are few to none people of color, the subject doesn't come up. And since it's unfashionable to be overtly racist, people convince themselves that they aren't. Until they run into a situation where they are faced with it.
            They may not even be cognizant of the racial element of their choice and if picked at will build up a wall of denial, but it's there and it's working.
            Obviously, race isn't the ONLY factor and for most people, not even a prominent factor, but it's there and significant in enough that it can turn a close election.
            Or make an election like this one, that should be a landslide, into a squeaker.

            •  I think you're talking about (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hungrycoyote, a2nite, elwior

              people who were likely going to vote for Romney (or whoever the GOP candidate was) all along but pretended to themselves that they were undecided because they think that being "independant" is a sign of being "serious"--or were unhappy with Romney and so held out till the end. Whether this is out of racism or something else, I don't know, but they were never likely to vote for Obama.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 07:34:02 AM PDT

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              •  I've seen this with people (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hungrycoyote, elwior, caliblue

                who voted for Obama in 08 because they really couldn't stand McShame. Who've convinced themselves that that proves that they aren't racist. I've seen it in dyed-in-the-wool-Democrats, particularly some of the Hillary-ites, making up all kinds of reasons why they hate Obama, none of which hold water.

          •  the point though (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DMentalist, elwior

            was that Obama led Romney in all categories but the deficit (Romney by 3%) in that poll (and the deficit isn't the highest concern of voters now if I remember that correctly ....), but he only leads overall by 3% in the same poll.  In some of the other items where Obama was preferred, like foreign policy, it was something on the order of 10-15%!  None were less than about 5% favoring Obama.  So how to you get those numbers and have only 3% advantage to Obama as to for whom they plan to vote?

            "Mitt Romney has more positions than the Kama Sutra." -- me "Social justice is love, made public." -- Cornel West

            by billlaurelMD on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 10:15:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since it's only a 3 point advantage I wonder.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hungrycoyote, elwior

                 ...If when people are polled on these questions, they think:

               "Well, Geez, I've given higher marks to Obama on EVERYTHING....I really ought to give the other guy SOMETHING.  Deficit?  OK, sure, why not?"
                  Sort of like an elementary school teacher writing a report card:
              "F in Math, F in Reading, F in Science, F in History...Gotta put something positive in there...How about an A in Citizenship (whatever that means)?  Let the poor kid have at least a shred of self-esteem and dignity..."
                  Although with only a 3 point advantage, that's not really like getting an A.  More like a C-Minus.
            •  For the same reason that many more Americans (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hungrycoyote, elwior

              call themselves conservative vs. liberal compared to the number who claim to prefer specific conservative vs. liberal policies on issues such as Social Security or public education. People tend to give one opinion in the abstract ("Yeah, I guess I'd call myself conservative") and another often contradictory opinion on specifics ("But I do like my Social Security!"). It's quite baffling.

              I think that there's a significant group of people who can't tell their asses from their noses and give correspondingly perplexing responses, and that they skew the polls in these ways. It's one thing for a base Repub voter to side with Romney on the deficit since they're going to vote for him and other Repubs anyway. They may be wrong on his deficit policy, but at least their wrongness is consistent. But it's another thing for an Obama leaner to prefer Romney on the deficit.

              These are not people who give a lot of thought to the details. But in their gut, they sense that Obama's the better candidate.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 11:46:23 AM PDT

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      •  Yep, Gibbs doesn't get it. It's Romney's character (8+ / 0-)

        He immediately started throwing all kinds of numbers out there without going after Romney's character.   Trying to quote studies and commentators, and doing the math isn't going to work.

        Obama has to use examples from Romney's past to show he simply can't be trusted.

        Also, soon after the Gibbs interview she had a clip from Ann Romney about how the Democrats were slandering the good name of her husband.

        It's all about Romney's character from here to election day.

      •  Well think it this way (8+ / 0-)

        If you already have decent critical thinking skills and follow the news, you know Romney's plan is a sham.  If you vote tribally or on superficial resentments, budget arguments won't sway you.

        Obama has to fine-tune his pitch to those who are only marginally paying attention and probably don't feel the presidential outcome will affect them much one way or the other.  Too wonkish and people turn out.  Too abstract and people won't understand.  Oversimplify, and no only might you end up showing contempt for the undecided voter, but the other side can easily counterpunch with their own BS buzzphrases.

        Notice how no Republican tried to take on Clinton's speech directly.  That's a sign he hit exactly the right balance.

      •  he kept evading her question (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that annoyed the crap out of me.  she tried to stress her point several times and Gibbs never answered directly.  he kept doing the math.  Rachel said she understood the math but that,

        "nobody else, broadly speaking, in the country is getting the math.  People really think the Republican will be better on this.  So what's the distance between what they're trying to do and what people believe about what they are trying to do?"
        Rachel didn't understand "why Romney gets credit for being the guy who would be better at handling the deficit."

        she had made it clear that Democrats are better at deficit reduction and inquired as to why the Obama campaign and Democrats are not emphasizing that reality.  she finally gave up with humored frustration and said,

        I think you will convince people--you will get rid of the Romney advantage on the issue of handling the deficit if you start talking about the Republican presidential record in modern history about running up the debt in a way that Democrats just never have.  But what do I know?  I'm just a TV person.

        I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

        by blue drop on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 12:25:51 PM PDT

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    •  Yes but, the ordinary individual, the household, (21+ / 0-)

      and the states are not like our federal government. They don't issue their own money. Our federal government does. In fact, it issues all the IOUs that we all use to keep track of all our obligations. And, the more obligations we keep track of, the less we expect to get for free and without getting anything in return, the more money we need to use. Republicans are cavalier about the deficit because they don't worry about honoring their obligations. In the long run the deficit does not matter. If the federal government issues more money than flows back in a given year, it doesn't matter as long as our currency is honored because we have a reputation for doing what we promise.
      Republicans use the deficit as an excuse not to do what they don't want to do -- meet their obligations to provide for the general welfare. For aggression and causing damage they always have enough money. For the friends who keep them in office, they always have enough money. For the friends who want to live on easy street clipping bond coupons and eating bonbons, they issue bonds as a guaranteed stream of income.
      This is how it works. First they give friends exclusive access to free natural resources which they take to market and sell for profit. Then, instead of taxing that profit to pay for the resource depletion and the infrastructure used to deliver it to market and protect it from thieves, they have our various public bodies borrow the profit in the form of bonds, which we pay back with a premium. So, the friends of Republican office holders benefit three times (free resources, no tax, dividends on loans). Or, you could say that the friends of Republicans have three things to resent about Democrats:

      1. Resource protection and restoration
      2. Taxes to pay for public services
      3. Pay go and direct grants to the states

      What we need to keep in mind is that there are people who want something for nothing. The promise of something for nothing entices them to be Republicans. That only a small percentage of the population can actually be kept without them resorting to parasitism and predation doesn't occur to them for the simple reason that they don't make the connection. Their whole existence strikes them as something for which there is no explanation. They don't know how they got here, where they are going or what they are doing. They don't know. They feel.
      "no taxes" sounds good to people who don't know what being taxed (tasked) is.
      Being assigned tasks tends to be resisted by people who don't know how to carry them out, people who didn't like home work for the same reason. Likely, it's because these are people incapable of remembering the necessary sequence of steps to complete the task on their own. These are people who need to be minutely directed until the activity becomes ingrained as a habit and they don't need to think about it.
      There are such people in both parties, btw. The difference is one of attitude. Democrats are generous; Republicans are stingy and some are even mean. They're the mingles and they recognize Willard as one of their own. They know, for example, why Willard doesn't know how many horses Ann has. They know in their gut that he's not good with numbers. Which is why they also know that, like them, he's not going to worry about it.
      In case I wasn't clear, from the perspective of our leisure class, the deficit is a good thing because it lets them collect unearned income. So, they support politicians who promise them that. Beyond that, Republicans don't want to tax the children, but they as sure as hell want them to work for them.
      My mother spent a life time (98 years) insisting she didn't want to be a burden, but had a child so she could have someone to love and look after her. It didn't cost her and being told she wasn't a burden was all it took to satisfy her concern. She had no idea what a burden actually is. The only cross she had to bear was that her younger brother died in the war and couldn't look after her.
      The mistake Democrats make is taking Republican concerns seriously. The deficit is a hoax.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:15:11 AM PDT

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    •  Romney know's it doesn't make sense (17+ / 0-)

      What he doesn't say is that he expects YOU to cover the difference. The only thing that gives him a bigger thrill than saving money is having other people cover his bills. He's not just a cheapskate, he's a moocher and a leach.

      That's literally how he got rich, by taking what's not his.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:50:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Turn off the sound and watch Romney these days, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hungrycoyote, elwior

        there is something wrong with him.  His eyes blink a mile a minute and his mouth moves just as fast.  It is a strange thing to watch.....if I did not know better I would say the guy is drinking too much coffee or something stronger.

      •  What Romney says is that his magical job (6+ / 0-)

        creating policies will create enough jobs, and in turn, enough taxes from those working folk, to cover his enormous military spending spree.

        If he actually believes this, he's insane.

        Vote Tea Party Taliban! Bring the Burqa to America.

        by Pescadero Bill on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 07:14:54 AM PDT

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        •  I doubt he believes it (5+ / 0-)

          I doubt he cares. He's on an ego trip to his Swiss bank account.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 07:30:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Trust me (4+ / 0-)
          What Romney says is that his magical job creating policies will create enough jobs, and in turn, enough taxes from those working folk, to cover his enormous military spending spree.
          He has an answer for how he's going to cut all federal taxes by 20% and still raise enough money to spend $2 trillion on the military.
          MR. ROMNEY: Number two, let's look at history. My plan is not like anything that's been tried before. My plan is to bring down rates but also bring down deductions and exemptions and credits at the same time so the revenue stays in, but that we bring down rates to get more people working.

          His answer is: trust me.

          The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

          by FiredUpInCA on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 08:58:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not convinced Romney (4+ / 0-)

        has the political courage to cut middle-class deductions.  He'll just put it on the credit card and blame the seventies-era Housing act or some other BS for the ballooning deficit.  He'll just make things a bit worse for his successor, just like every other Republican president.

        Recall that in Massachussetts he faced a legislature with a veto-proof majority, so he couldn't really be blamed for not facing them down at every turn.  He compromised and got some things done because otherwise they would have done it without him.

        •  This is exactly right (0+ / 0-)

          Norman Goldman (radio) says the exact same thing.  They will cut the rates, eliminate the Cap Gains/Inheritance Tax and then "Ask Congress" to determine which loopholes, deductions, credits and exemption to get rid of.

          But Congresspeople, being Congresspeople want to get re-elected, so they are NOT about to take the hatchet to those tax preference items.  And if they don't . . . . deep cuts to all other spending.

          Congressman Ryan, as Chairman of the House Budget Committee with ALL the other Rs that voted in favor of his budget, already have the means to give us the details, but they aren't because they don't want to . . . and probably won't.

    •  K.I.S.S. version of this diary, PLEASE! (5+ / 0-)

      I need some help here. . . . .

      The most persistent Republican myth is ____

      and the truth is _________.

      I have poor eyesight and can't read the whole I'm busy contacting voters to GOTV and would love a quick sentence. Seven words or less.

      NOTE: it is dangerous to repeat Republican myths, even to counter them, because of how the human brain works.
      I'd love to have new, improved talking points about our values.

      (Emphasis is mine)

      "What Orwell Didn't Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics"
      Edited by ANDRÁS SZÁNTÓ

      "As Lakoff tells us,

      'A few words in political language can activate large portions of the brain: War on Terror, tax relief, illegal immigration, entitlements (turned to conservative use by Ronald Reagan), death tax, property rights, abortion on demand, cut and run, flip-flop, school choice, intelligent design, spending programs, partial birth abortion, surge, spreading freedom, private accounts, individual responsibility, energy independence.

      When they are repeated every day, extensive areas of the brain are activated over and over, and this leads to brain change. Unerasable brain change…. And every time the words are repeated, all the frames and metaphors and worldview structures are activated again and strengthened -- because recurring activation strengthens neural connections. Negation doesn't help. "I'm against the War on Terror" just activates the War on Terror metaphor and strengthens what you're against. Accepting the language of issue and arguing the other side just hurts your own cause.'

      Drew Westen, a psychology professor and political consultant, supports Lakoff's statements as well as his contention that in America these techniques have been exploited far more intelligently by the political right than by the center and left, which are hampered by what Soros calls "the Enlightenment fallacy" -- that is, the fallacious assumption (dating from the 18th century) that freedom of thought and speech will ensure that reason will prevail. The media and the Democratic leadership, Westen says, are unwittingly "smuggling Trojan horses into popular discourse" by parroting terminology created by those in power, "essentially advertising the 'product line' of the Republican party and selling its 'brand.' "

      From Barnes & Noble book review by Brooke Allen:

      George Lakoff, an author and professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley who calls himself a "cognitive activist," says this: "One of the fundamental findings of cognitive science is that people think in terms of frames and metaphors – conceptual structures. The frames are in the synapses of our brains – physically present in the form of neural circuitry. When the facts don't fit the frames, the frames are kept and the facts ignored."
      In other words, forget winning on the facts or the science. It's all about the story. And once stories take hold, they're hard to dislodge. "

      "It goes against our nature; but the left has to start asserting its own values"

      . . . . . Common Cause, written by Tom Crompton of the environment group WWF, examines a series of fascinating recent advances in the field of psychology. It offers, I believe, a remedy to the blight that now afflicts every good cause from welfare to climate change.

      Progressives, he shows, have been suckers for a myth of human cognition he labels the enlightenment model. This holds that people make rational decisions by assessing facts. All that has to be done to persuade people is to lay out the data: they will then use it to decide which options best support their interests and desires.

      A host of psychological experiments demonstrate that it doesn't work like this. Instead of performing a rational cost-benefit analysis, we accept information that confirms our identity and values, and reject information that conflicts with them. We mould our thinking around our social identity, protecting it from serious challenge. Confronting people with inconvenient facts is likely only to harden their resistance to change.

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