Beliefs equal facts per the GOP

At last week’s Republican Convention, the big loser was accuracy and factual data. Why let the facts get in the way of your story? If you want to scare the hell out of folks and tell everyone how bad things are and that you alone are the man and group to fix such problems, then why should facts interfere with that narrative? The problem is what was presented is largely at odds with the truth. I ask people who tell me how bad things are by asking a simple question, what country are you talking about?

John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” broadcast on Sunday shows the several bald-faced lies that were told by the convention speakers, including their nominee. The fact the nominee lied is not news as he has broken all records for lying in a campaign dating back to when fact checkers started measuring comments. What turned out to be the most fascinating conversation was an interview with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is portrayed as the most serious and knowledgeable GOP spokesperson.

During the interview, the reporter challenged him when he said violent crime is up in America. The reporter said the data clearly shows a decline over the last twenty-five years. Gingrich refused to concede that, but the reporter kept insisting. She gave him an out saying there are a couple of large cities where it has gone up the past year and he seized that, but she reiterated it has clearly declined over time. Gingrich then said people believe it to be higher and I will leave the data to the liberals and media. “As a politician, beliefs are more important,” said Gingrich. Unfortunately, he was not the only person to say he believed something over facts, so in so doing it must make it true.

As Oliver pointed out, it does not work that way. You cannot substitute your beliefs for facts and think everything is alright. You can believe all you want that climate change is a hoax and even make it more colorful as The Donald does adding it is a hoax invented by the Chinese to steal our jobs. But, it remains a huge problem we must deal with.

Let me offer a few facts in rebuttal to the story painted at the GOP convention.

  • America’s economy is actually doing pretty well, especially related to the rest of the world. The stock market has more than doubled under Obama, unemployment is down to under 5%, 10 million plus net jobs have been created on his watch and we are currently on the 5th (soon to be 4th) longest economic growth period ever in the US.
  • In 2015, the US sold more US made cars than ever before, beating the previous record, ironically, when Bill Clinton was President.
  • The rest of the world still respects the US as we have higher ratings than when Obama took the reins from Bush. Our reputation had fallen with the WMD story. By the way, the British just completed their review of the Iraq invasion story and were highly critical of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush. We have chosen to investigate Benghazi ad nauseam rather than the WMD issue.
  • The Affordable Care Act is not perfect and needs improvements, but is working pretty well with over 20 million new insureds and slower cost growth than before it was implemented.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has penalized banks, credit card companies and pay-day lenders over $11 Billion for aggressive and fraudulent marketing practices, with over 90% of that money going to cheated consumers. Consumers benefit, but GOP legislators hate this program. By the way, Senator Elizabeth Warren played a strong role in its passage and implementation.

I could go on, but we are in a much better place than was told last week. Yes, we have things to improve upon such as the declining middle class and increased poverty which have occurred over the last forty years and we must have better dialogue around race and violence issues, as well as gun governance, but America is not going to hell in a hand basket. And, even if it were, The Donald is the absolute worst person to be given keys to the car. His track record is one of great salesmanship, but poor management.

So, please ask questions of politicians and don’t let them off the hook if they say they believe it to be so. Show me your data.

 

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40 thoughts on “Beliefs equal facts per the GOP

  1. I love Ms. Hillary’s new commercial I caught last night. It shows two small children watching a vignette of Trumpisms on the television. Trump making fun of the disabled man, etc. I hadn’t actually seen any of the actual actions, just read about them, but I was horrified by what I saw. And I know all of the instances were, in fact, Facts! Pft. I also heard a Rep got booed off the stage at the RC for not standing behind The Hairdo. Disgusting.

    • Thanks Leiah. That is a great commercial. Since we are swing state, we have been seeing them often. She has another one where he talks of everyone having nukes and yet another where a retired General says he lacks the judgment and temperament to be Commander in Chief. By the way, an Illinois Republican just resigned from his party and cited Trump’s cowardice.

    • He did say it. I commend the reporter for her doggedness and knowledge of facts. I wish Lesley Stahl was as dogged when Trump lied to her about is Iraq invasion position.

      There was a former Republican congressman on Bill Maher who was cavalier with his facts. He was pushed back on several times and did agree he had misstated one, but was not contrite. By the way, the actress who played in Ugly Betty was on the show as a spokesperson for Clinton. She is very knowledgeable and well spoken, pushing back on this congressman. She was the more factual one. Keith

  2. Not a die hard liberal and consider myself a moderate. However when some one says “they” are the only one to “fix” our problems I say run don’t walk as far away as possible.

    • Holly, I am a moderate as well, fiscally conservative and socially progressive. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who have been the last multi-term Democrat Presidents, are also moderates. The Democrat platform has a more progressive platform, but Hillary is more hawkish with defense than the party.

      A key frustration I have with my old Republican party is they have run most of the moderates out of the party with the gerrymandering and chastising when legislators have collaborated. I was fearful and saddened by the tone and message of the GOP convention. The fact that many stayed away is telling. It is also telling that in a year when political incorrectness is the mantra of the party, they booed Ted Cruz for being politically incorrect.

      If we elect Trump as President, we will have routine reminders of “what have we done?” It will be like the movies Groundhog Day and Hangover collide.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Keith

      • I was disappointed to find the very strong feminist overtones at the Democratic convention last night. We are looking for a president, I don’t care if it is a man or woman, being a woman does not make it more enticing for me to vote for Hillary, her platform and policies, experience and knowledge, character, that is what I am looking at. I think it was a mistake to have Meryl Streep preaching the glass ceiling , Alicia Keyes, Power to the woman. Let’s get real, we have issues that threaten our very way of life…feminism is not one of them.

      • Holly, I agree in part. It may have been overplayed some, but it is still a big deal. Here is a reason I have written about for several years after reading “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn about the maltreatment of women around the globe and the follow-on book by Former President Jimmy Carter called “A Call to Action” about the maltreatment of women in America. Her actions and visibility on this issue cannot be overstated. She represents a huge symbol to American and global women.

        To be frank, if we can reduce the maltreatment of women in any area, that community improves. Not only is it not right, but competing in a world with only half your intellectual capital holds a community back.

        The echo of her presidency will reverberate far beyond our shores. So, in my view, it is a big deal. Our choice in this election is to make a huge step forward or a large step back. She is far from perfect, but she is the step forward. Keith

      • I am not saying it is not a big deal, it surely is, but this is a turn off for many people and the object is to get this lady elected.

      • Holly, you are right it can be overplayed. Hugh has a post from a former Wall Street reporter who is not a Hillary fan. Yet she writes that Hillary has been fairly, but mostly unfairly treated over time. She notes if Clinton were a man, her credentials would make her a slam dunk. Take a peek and tell him what you think.

        To be honest, I voted for Obama over her for some of these reasons offered by her critics. So, I fully understand people’s reservations. But, I would much have her hand at the throttle than her thin-skinned and ego-maniacal opponent. I appreciate your perspective. Keith

      • It’s a big deal in that this approach might bring some of the women on board who were disillusioned by Sanders’ treatment by the DNC.

      • Hugh, it also is an attempt to bring over suburban women who have concerns about Trump. I am still amazed how low Trump can go with his invitation to Russia to hack emails, but what gets less play is saying he may lift sanctions on Russia and recognize their seizing of Crimea. Our NATO allies are incredulous that this man could be President. Keith

      • There are, but the true narrative given his ego, thin skin and resume and large mouth, is he is the least qualified person to address pretty much of anything involving the interests of others.

  3. I have come to believe that Trump’s mantra is: it’s not a lie if you can get them to believe out. The fact that very little of what he corresponds with what is real and true is irrelevant (and probably unknown). He’s a real piece of work that man.

    • Hugh, he is so relentless and he never lets up. Just yesterday in front of the VFW, he repeated we are the most taxed country in the world, which is not close to being correct. As for painting Clinton, her husband said it last night, overtime they have made up a cartoon and run against the cartoon

      She is far from perfect and is too defensive which hurts her, but hearing her history of public service from Bill last night was a far different narrative. Of course, he is biased, but he shared her past that many do not know.

      Keith

  4. Looking at the fact-check sites, I see that the dems did not do great, but the difference I noted was that there were many, many people being checked. As I recall, it was mostly Trump and his daughter taking the stage from the RNC. Even that difference is interesting.

    • Susan , the other difference is the relative number of states people and senior folks speaking at the Dem vs GOP convention, many of whom stayed home as they did not want to support Trump. Outside of Bill, Michelle and Bernie, the most impactful speaker to me were the 9/11 victim and first responder who described how Clinton repeatedly went to bat for them and stayed in contact. This was a major point of Jon Stewart’s regarding the hypocrisy of the GOP on the Blue Lives Matter, as the GOP fought first responders benefits. These guys risked their lives and cleaned up the mess after being told the fumes were not toxic – that was not true. Of course, Blue Lives Matter, but it has to be more than a slogan. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: The Donald repeated yesterday that the measured unemployment rate of 5% is again wrong. It is more like 42%. If that were indeed true, we would be in a severe depression. Yet, let’s take this a step further. The unemployment rate is the compilation of the data from 50 states and the District of Columbia. Right now, 50 Governors are bragging to their constituents how low they got the unemployment rate in their states, whether they had an hand in it at all. Many of these Governors are up for reelection, some of them Republican Governors. So, in essence Donald Trump is saying those Governors are wrong to cite their state’s unemployment rate that is included in the 5%. At this speech yesterday with the VFW, Republican NC Governor Pat McCrory was in attendance. In essence, Trump just called McCrory a liar. I would have loved to been there to ask Mr. McCrory and Mr. Trump to explain that.

  6. I turned on the tube, and the station is carrying Mr. Obama giving his speech at the Democratic Convention. Can you imagine how much Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama could do for this world if the idiot population sat down and shut up?

    • Leaih, she is imminently more qualified than her opponent for the job. I hope folks saw Biden’s speech last night as well as independent voter and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well. Bloomberg was especially indicting as he concluded if Trump is going to run this country like he runs his business, “God help us.” But, he also gave full throated support to Clinton for her post 9/11 efforts as a NY Senator. Keith

  7. “Gingrich then said people believe it to be higher and I will leave the data to the liberals and media. “As a politician, beliefs are more important,” said Gingrich.”

    That right there is why the GOP needs to dismantled and remade. Not that Democrats are wearing halos on the fact checking front, but they do seem to hold at least a passing respect for it and they appear to assume their constituents also think that facts lead to solutions.

    I a viable third party could be created that focused entirely on using facts and reality to create progress and manage our country, and that party had a basic plan of inclusion – I would jump on it.

    • Agreed, but in my view the 3rd party needs to be between the parties, a moderate left and right. I am fiscally conservative, but socially progressive, which I do not think is unique. Although, not as theatrical, the most effective speech was made by Michael Bloomberg last night. His closing line was very impactful. If Trump runs the government like his business, “God help us.”

  8. I have an illness that begins in childhood and involves a certain degree of magical thinking. As an adult I have certain beliefs that are not based on fact.

    That said, I know that as adults we are expected to know the difference between fantasy and reality. I don’t understand a political party that goes out of its way to pander to people who have never achieved the basic skills of co-operation and common sense that are the hallmarks of adulthood.

    Magical thinking is the stuff of early childhood.

    Most healthy eight year old know how to look up facts.

    • Very true. And, the fact checkers provide a useful service in spite of the naysayers who tend to be the worst liars like Trump, Gingrich and Cruz. Politifacts shows a graphic with Trump as #1 liar nosing out Michelle Bachman.

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