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Last night, Jon Stewart really tore into Paul Ryan for whining about Obama indirectly mentioning him by rejecting his premise of "makers vs. takers" in his inaugural speech.

Help me out, vanquished vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan from yesterday, characterizing Obama's speech on the radio.  What is he doing?
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (1/22/2013): ... that rhetorical device is that he uses over and over and over... a straw man.
Actually, you know what?  I think a straw man is when you create or falsely characterize an opponent's argument so that you can then easily dismantle the new fictional argument.  You know, "Some, like my opponent, say children are useless parasites on a productive society.  I humble disagree."  No.  I think the President right there is throwing your own words back in your face without naming you.  Passive aggression!  That's what he's using!  Passive aggression!

....

But the point is, how did Obama mischaracterize the makers-takers argument?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (1/22/2013): No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements — entitlements you pay for, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security — are putting you in a "taker" category.  No one suggests that whatsoever.
Oh, OK.  So when you were saying "takers", you don't mean Grams, sweet old Grams.

You mean Hobo Joe.

I got it.  But here's the thing.  Back in 2011, Congressman Paul Ryan was pretty specific about how he defined "takers".

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (2011): Right now, according to the Tax Foundation, between 60 and 70% of Americans get more benefits from the federal government than they pay back in taxes.  So we're getting towards a society where we have a net majority of takers versus makers.
Holy shit!  So you're defining "takers" as 60 to 70% of society!  That's a shitload of takers!  Imagine how high that percentage would be if Ryan included Social Security and Medicare recipients on the taker list.  Well, you don't have to imagine it, because it wouldn't be any higher, because he does include it on the taker list, Social Security and Medicare, according to the Tax Foundation report cited by... a Paul Rien... Ryan, I'm sorry, Ryan.

In fact, if you don't include Social Security and Medicare on the takers list, you can't even get to Romney's slightly more generous 47% taker-to-maker ratio.  If "takers" were just welfare recipients, that would only get you to 2%.

....

And what... here's what I don't understand, what is the danger of receiving some help from the government when you need it?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (8/2/2012): We risk hitting a tipping point in our society where we have more takers than makers in a society.  Where we will have turned our safety net into a hammock, that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency, which drains them of their will and incentive.
I'll give you this.  That is a pretty good description of what a hammock does.  But to Ryan's larger point that government programs drain your initiative.  Most of these food stamps and Medicaid "takers" are the working poor, who I'm sure would very much love a little hammock time, but they're too busy flipping burgers or working literally the swing shift in a windowless hammock factory.

Try walking a mile in their shoes, Congressman.  Or maybe even your former shoes, when at 16 you received Social Security benefits after a family tragedy.  Did that turn you into a victim, or was it an opportunity?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (3/31/2012): I did not think of myself as stuck in some condition in life, as some victim.  I saw myself on a road of opportunity, trying to realize my version of the American dream pursuing happiness, how I defined it for myself.
Huh.  So you didn't fall into the hammock.  In some ways, a government entitlement freed you up to pursue your American dream.  That's a beautiful sentiment.  Where have I heard that sentiment before?
BARACK OBAMA (1/21/2013): These things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.  They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
Oh!  So the rhetorical device Obama used wasn't a straw man; it wasn't even passive aggression.  It was plagiarism.
Video and full transcript below the fold.

Here we are, listen, two days since Barack Obama's inauguration speech in which, you may recall, he gave an unapologetic defense of the social safety net, and addressed the criticism of entitlements.
BARACK OBAMA (1/21/2013): The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.  They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
Ah, that's interesting.  See, the president there is using a rhetorical device in this speech, that is... what is that rhetorical device...?  Help me out, vanquished vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan from yesterday, characterizing Obama's speech on the radio.  What is he doing?
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (1/22/2013): ... that rhetorical device is that he uses over and over and over... a straw man.
Actually, you know what?  I think a straw man is when you create or falsely characterize an opponent's argument so that you can then easily dismantle the new fictional argument.  You know, "Some, like my opponent, say children are useless parasites on a productive society.  I humble disagree."  No.  I think the President right there is throwing your own words back in your face without naming you.  Passive aggression!  That's what he's using!  Passive aggression!

Ah, but this taker argument, it's a straw man?  I could've sworn I heard a politician make that exact statement.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (11/1/2011): We can become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (7/11/2012): ... before we become a nation of net takers versus makers.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (1/6/2011): And we need to have more makers and less takers in America.

Though to be fair, you don't want too many makers, I mean, because then it's a whole other problem.  Seriously, have you been on Etsy?  I mean, we get it!  You have a glue gun!  OK!

Look, you can't say the takers argument wasn't a part of your campaign, Congressman Ryan.  This is looking less like a man made of straw, and more like a man made of... titanium.

Really?  Three 20-minute workouts a week?  That's all?  I don't buy that for a second.

But the point is, how did Obama mischaracterize the makers-takers argument?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (1/22/2013): No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements — entitlements you pay for, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security — are putting you in a "taker" category.  No one suggests that whatsoever.
Oh, OK.  So when you were saying "takers", you don't mean Grams, sweet old Grams.

You mean Hobo Joe.

I got it.  But here's the thing.  Back in 2011, Congressman Paul Ryan was pretty specific about how he defined "takers".

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (2011): Right now, according to the Tax Foundation, between 60 and 70% of Americans get more benefits from the federal government than they pay back in taxes.  So we're getting towards a society where we have a net majority of takers versus makers.
Holy shit!  So you're defining "takers" as 60 to 70% of society!  That's a shitload of takers!  Imagine how high that percentage would be if Ryan included Social Security and Medicare recipients on the taker list.  Well, you don't have to imagine it, because it wouldn't be any higher, because he does include it on the taker list, Social Security and Medicare, according to the Tax Foundation report cited by... a Paul Rien... Ryan, I'm sorry, Ryan.

In fact, if you don't include Social Security and Medicare on the takers list, you can't even get to Romney's slightly more generous 47% taker-to-maker ratio.  If "takers" were just welfare recipients, that would only get you to 2%.

And I gotta tell you something, nobody ever won an election demonizing such a small percentage of Americans.  Well, hardly anyone.

Look, the idea that Republicans had actually characterized even Social Security and Medicare as hallmarks of a taker society, I'll let the speakers from this year's Republican National Convention in Tampa explain how that came to be.

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE MIA LOVE, R-UT (8/30/2012): We built it!

GOV. SUSANA MARTINEZ, R-NM (8/30/2012): You better believe they built it.

REP. CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS, R-WA (8/30/2012): We built it!

PA ANNOUNCER (8/28/2012): Performing "I Built It"...

LANE TURNER (8/28/2012): ♫ I built it....

Yeah, you built that shit!  And I know a great website where you can sell it if you have a glue gun.

And what... here's what I don't understand, what is the danger of receiving some help from the government when you need it?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (8/2/2012): We risk hitting a tipping point in our society where we have more takers than makers in a society.  Where we will have turned our safety net into a hammock, that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency, which drains them of their will and incentive.
I'll give you this.  That is a pretty good description of what a hammock does.  But to Ryan's larger point that government programs drain your initiative.  Most of these food stamps and Medicaid "takers" are the working poor, who I'm sure would very much love a little hammock time, but they're too busy flipping burgers or working literally the swing shift in a windowless hammock factory.

Try walking a mile in their shoes, Congressman.  Or maybe even your former shoes, when at 16 you received Social Security benefits after a family tragedy.  Did that turn you into a victim, or was it an opportunity?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WI (3/31/2012): I did not think of myself as stuck in some condition in life, as some victim.  I saw myself on a road of opportunity, trying to realize my version of the American dream pursuing happiness, how I defined it for myself.
Huh.  So you didn't fall into the hammock.  In some ways, a government entitlement freed you up to pursue your American dream.  That's a beautiful sentiment.  Where have I heard that sentiment before?
BARACK OBAMA (1/21/2013): These things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.  They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
Oh!  So the rhetorical device Obama used wasn't a straw man; it wasn't even passive aggression.  It was plagiarism.  We'll be right back.
And after wondering if there was another reason for the extremely cold weather, Jon then covered the surprising results in the Israeli elections.
Meanwhile, Stephen went more in depth in Beyonce's lip-synching "scandal".  He then noted how there's now a dating site for Ayn Rand fans.
Stephen then awarded Virginia state senate Republicans his Alpha Dog of the Week for screwing over Democrats with their redistricting plan when civil rights leader Henry Marsh left town for the inauguration.
Stephen talked with actress Sally Field, and Jon talked with former fighter pilot Missy Cummings about our drone program, which went long.  Here's the whole unedited interview in two parts.
Part 1
Part 2

Originally posted to BruinKid on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Electronic America: Progressives Film, music & Arts Group.

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