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View Diary: Abbreviated pundit roundup: Facts matter (83 comments)

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  •  on Obama getting out there on the facts (2+ / 0-)
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    Josiah Bartlett, SueDe

    I feel that way too, but I think it's much harder than people like us want it to be.

    Obama gave a Major Speech on the economy on July 24, in which he said, "Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years." To the extent that this statement was reported, it was wrapped in political gabbling. That makes sense (of a sort): the fact isn't news, but rather Obama's decision to say that is. If Obama had made it the focus of the speech, the statement would have gotten more attention, but the reporting would emphasize not the reduction in the deficit, but Obama's lack of a positive agenda and lots of "we said/they said" about deficit trends and so on.

    A fact may "sink in" over time with repetition, but that is far from inevitable -- and not many facts would merit the effort.

    It seems bizarre how unmoored political debates are from basic facts, but given that almost nobody reasons from facts to conclusions in the first place (and none of us does it all the time), it isn't likely to change. Not that Obama should stop reasoning from facts in public, but he isn't likely to have much success in conveying facts for basically the same reasons that his attempts to "work with" the other party have so little success.

    So I'm not sure what Obama should be doing differently, and really I give him lots of credit for still trying.

    "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

    by HudsonValleyMark on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 07:10:26 AM PDT

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    •  One of my nut-job, right-wing, (2+ / 0-)
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      codairem, HudsonValleyMark

      gun-fetishist neighbors insisted to me a few days ago that Obama's deficits were bankrupting the country (he was actually complaining about the federal debt).  But when I assured him that the deficit had been falling for the last few years, he smiled and remarked, "That's great.  The Republicans are keeping Democrats from spending all the money he wants to."

      Instead of getting into a discussion of macroeconomics and how the government needed to spend more money to facilitate more robust economic growth, I gave up.  But I could see the Republican message coming, about how the deficit wouldn't have been falling if the Democrats had had their way, and that the sequester was keeping the president from wild spending

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 09:36:31 AM PDT

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      •  that's a perfect example (1+ / 0-)
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        SueDe
        "That's great.  The Republicans are keeping Democrats from spending all the money he wants to."
        I thought of some other reasons why ramming this particular fact through people's heads might not do much good, but I missed that one. Sorry I didn't see your reply earlier.

        Of course the standard of effective communication shouldn't be winning over the hard-core right-wingers. But your example dramatizes how hard it can be to win arguments by appealing to facts.

        "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

        by HudsonValleyMark on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 04:36:18 PM PDT

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