The Heritage Foundation’s political action spinoff, Heritage Action, didn’t waste any time getting its reaction to President Obama’s reelection out. In fact, its video, Stand With Us, was published on Youtube on November 6, Election Day. Romney didn’t concede until after midnight but the folks at Heritage Action must have indulged in too many buttershots and occasional beer chasers to care because Youtube’s video statistics says they didn’t wait for him.
It’s not like Heritage Action threw their video together hastily as the results were coming in on election night. It was produced in advance because Heritage knew like everyone else that there was at least a 50/50 chance that Romney would lose. I take stories about Romney's shell shock the same way I take everything Republicans say. It’s a lie told for a reason.
Heritage Action’s video continues the rightwing’s familiar strategy of all lying all the time. Out of carelessness or bravado, the video puts its lies right on the screen. Let’s have a look.
Michael Needham, Heritage Action’s CEO narrates the video with the dead seriousness of a three-year old whose rattle has just been stolen from his hands. President Obama’s reelection is “a devastating blow” he tells his audience. At the exact point in his tantrum when he warns that Obama will, in the next four years “continue exploding federal spending” a graphic appears, briefly, and it contradicts Needham’s script.
Did you catch it? Let me slow that way down for you.
Focus your attention on the three numbers on the left edge of the clock:
• US Public Debt Subject to Limit
• US National Debt
• US Federal Spending
From the first frame to the last, the number for the US Public Debt Subject to Limit advances from $16,037,495,161,227 to $16,037,495,168,474 an increase of $ 7,247.
Similarly, from the first frame to the last, the number for the US National Debt advances from $16,218,543,294,584 to $16,218,543,301,512 an increase of $6,948.
Look at the number for US Federal Spending. From the first frame to the last, it decreased, from, $3,550,412,688,196 to $3,550,412,687,539, or $657.
The US Debt Clock continues to register a decrease in the amount of US Federal Spending so that today it shows $3,548,328,881,096 as I write this diary. That’s a drop of $2,083,807,100 from the amount shown in Heritage Action’s video.
The number for the US Federal Budget Deficit has been dropping too. The CBO wrote about the shrinking numbers a month before the video was posted and also the day after it was posted.
Heritage Action uses a similar deception 25 seconds later in the video. Overlapping sounds and images are supposed to reinforce the sense of ominous doom the video tries to create. In the jumble of faces and voices that come and go quickly there’s a female newscaster who reports that “the Dow dropped nearly a thousand points.” Let’s stop there and have a look.
This doesn’t pass the smell test because the stock market, in general, has performed remarkably well since Obama took office. From Inauguration Day in 2009 until November 6, when the video was posted, the Dow increased 67% but the video intends to attribute a drop of nearly a thousand points to Obama.
There’s irony here that shouldn’t go unnoticed. In trying to fabricate a sense of economic disaster caused by the President’s policies, Heritage Action references an infamous episode that only proves the unmitigated risk Wall Street imposes on the rest of America. The "Flash Crash" was a unique glitch that began when electronic program trading triggered a runaway sell off that somehow evaded control to allow intervention by humans. It occurred during a normal trading day when, without warning, the Dow dropped nearly a thousand points in a half hour. When the problem was corrected, the Dow recovered almost as quickly as it had fallen. If you listen closely to the video, after “the Dow dropped nearly a thousand points,” you can hear the newscaster’s voice trailing off with “in a half hour.”
It may seem like I’m nitpicking when there are more inflammatory and even alarming statements in Heritage Action’s video. Obama’s victory in the election is gratifying. There’s satisfaction in winning. At the same time, organizations like the Heritage Foundation help to shape conservative opinions and they have no gripes unless they lie. That isn’t going to change.