The DOC’s Politics

DOC: So, are you paying attention to the conventions lately?

LRE: You mean my doc wants to talk politics, too? Fine; I can do that.

DOC: Really?

LRE: Yeah, but I’m going to have to refer to my notes where I have exact quotes and even links.

DOC: Oh, right… more of those underlined, blue things.

LRE: Yeah, more of those. So since everyone else is talking about politics… and, in particular, the speeches at the convention, yeah, let’s talk about them, too.

DOC: Those speeches are so often filled with little white lies.

LRE: Never expect a politician to EVER tell the WHOLE truth. I haven’t taken the time to evaluate Palin’s speech, yet… however, I HAVE done so with Obama’s. After he finished all his promised (how are we going to pay for health care equal to that offered to Congress for 10 million in this country without?), he started telling half truths. Imagine that…

DOC: I was kind of waiting for him to start promising soda in all of the drinking fountains.

LRE: I know, right? Here’s what he said after:

Obama: “Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow.”

LRE: Not quite true, big guy. In July, his campaign told the LA Times that the yearly cost of their proposed tax cuts would be $130 billion with the revenue from closing tax loopholes at just $80 billion. What he FAILED to mention was that he would be raising taxes to pre-Bush levels for families earning more than $250,000 a year and singles making more than $200,000 a year; talk about supporting the American Dream. Think that was misleading? Wait; he’s not quite done yet. The NONPARTISAN Tax Policy Center stated that “without substantial cuts in government spending” Obama AND McCain’s plans “would substantially increase the national debt over the next ten years.”

DOC: I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to ten more years of annual deficits.

LRE: Let’s see… here’s another quote for you; on taxes.

Obama: “I will cut taxes… for 95% of all working families… [McCain proposes] not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans.”

LRE: Turns out, his numbers are very wrong (unless you think being off by 34.2 MILLION isn’t that big of a miscalculation). His planned cuts would affect 81.3 percent of households. McCain’s plan would leave 65.8 million without a cut. However, there’s a bigger difference for corporations. McCain proposes to lower the corporate tax rate while Obama promises billions of dollars in increased corporate taxes through loophole closings. These tax cuts DEFINITELY affect consumers (that’s YOU AND ME, doc): these changes would manifest as lower returns on investments and losses from stock sales. Corporate Income Tax eventually comes out of people’s pocketbooks.

DOC: That sucks; especially since you don’t even pay me.

LRE: Whatever; I will as soon as you actually exist. Next quote; this one about Afghanistan.

Obama: “When John McCain said that we could just ‘muddle through’ in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorist who actually attacked us on 9/11.”

LRE: If you’re going to quote somebody, try and get it right. In 2003, McCain said, “I think Afghanistan is dicey… There has been a rise in al Qaeda activity along the border… I believe that if Karzai can make the progress that he is making, that, in the long term, we may muddle through in Afghanistan. So I’m guardedly optimistic, but I am also realistic that the central government in Kabul has very little effect on the policies of the warlords who control the surrounding areas.”

DOC: What? You mean, McCain actually knows what’s going on over there? How did he find out? It’s not in the media…

LRE: I’ll ask him next time we hang out. But, BOTH candidates have called for an increased troop presence in Afghanistan. Obama proposed sending two more combat brigades, McCain proposed three more, but those would include NATO forces.

DOC: That would be good; get a little help from a friend.

LRE: Yup. Let’s see… another quote; this one on the middle class.

Obama: “Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans; I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year?”

LRE: How ‘bout if we go back to where Obama found this “definition” given by McCain – location: Saddleback Church forum; date: August 16. Here, doc, you read this quote.

DOC: Pastor Rick Warren said, “Give me a number, give me a specific number – where do you move from middle class to rich?” And McCain replied, “I don’t want to take any money from the rich – I want everybody to get rich… so I think if you are talking about income, how about $5 million? (laughter) But seriously, I don’t think you can… the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues.”

LRE: Hilarious, I know, but still; HE WAS JOKING. And another quote, talking about the average family.

Obama: The income of “the average family… [went] down $2,000” under George Bush.

DOC: Not for me; I started out making nothing and I’m still making nothing.

LRE: It’s not correct at all, let alone for imaginary docs. The census reports that average family income went down $348. Apparently, Obama didn’t exactly mean “average” or really “family” either for that matter. An Obama aide stated that he really meant median (midpoint) income for working families, not retired couples. If we’re looking at all families, median income bumped up under Bush by $272. And that, folks, is how politicians take statistics and find the numbers that say exactly what they want them to say.

DOC: Why didn’t he just say ‘median working families’ instead of the average family.

LRE: Why don’t you just phone him and ask?

DOC: Later.

LRE: I’m not out of quotes yet. Next one’s about McCain’s health care plan.

Obama: “How else could [McCain] offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits…”

LRE: McCain proposes to grant families a tax credit up to $5,000 to use for health benefits although what McCain seldom mentions is that employer-sponsored benefits would also become taxable. Both candidates are spouting half-truths here, neither giving the complete picture.

DOC: What? You mean, they’re BOTH politicians? Gasp.

LRE: Right… imagine that. You want one more quote?

DOC: Yeah, bring it.

Obama: “And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need. But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.”

LRE: Obama has made his campaign slogan clear – he promises change.

DOC: And yet he chose Biden as his running mate, who has been in the Senate for over 30 years.

LRE: And… according to the NY Times, he would not “reinforce Mr. Obama’s message of change.” But back to the quote… It’s true that McCain’s voting support for Bush policies has average slightly above 89 percent over eight years, although it has gone up and down, hitting it’s lowest in 2005. By comparison, Obama’s record has averaged just under 41 percent. BUT… his voting record is JUST AS PARTISAN. His vote has fallen in line with his party 97 percent of the time. If we’re going off of Senate votes, NEITHER candidate can claim a record of breaking with his party

DOC: Palin on the other hand…

LRE: Could be different.

DOC: Thank you, Obama, for giving us a lesson in how a POLITICIAN bends people’s words, tells only part of the story, and picks very particular statistics to convince the masses that he’s their new Savior.

LRE: How does that promote change? Sounds like the same thing we ALWAYS hear from career statesmen.

(with a little help from factcheck.org)

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4 comments

  1. Good stuff Larrie.

    My old boss Dan Jones used to tell me: “Brian, numbers never lie, but liars use numbers.”

    Another favorite: “Numbers will tell you anything you want when tortured.”

    The lies of politicians are compounded by the problem that once the first lie is told, the other candidate says, hey, if they other guy gets to use his numbers, why can’t I? Which just means lying rarely ends in political debates about money.

    But let’s not talk about the economy. It’s much more important to find the MySpace page of Bristol Palin’s boyfriend who got her pregnant… /facepalm

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  2. Man, I keep writing a response to this and it keeps disappearing. Ridiculous.

    You know the dems aren’t the only ones who stretch the truth in their speeches. The convention yesterday was killing me.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080904/ap_on_el_pr/cvn_fact_check

    She got more votes in her town election than Biden got in his presidential run? What? Huckabee was just making crap up.

    Here’s a couple of non-partisan tax commentaries that lay out the tax plans of both candidates. factcheck.org is useful for debunking the non-sense, but it’s sometimes hard to see the overall picture that way.

    Here’s a quick and dirty analysis: http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/2008/06/12/mccain-vs-obama-your-future-tax-bill/

    Here’s a couple of other comparisons: http://money.cnn.com/2008/06/11/news/economy/candidates_taxproposals_tpc/

    Arguably, you could say that McCain’s proposed plan would lead to more deficits since his plan proposes bigger cuts for the top 0.1% who pay a large portion of the tax revenue, leaving us with even less money to balance the budget.

    But then again, maybe those sites aren’t to be trusted, because according to the right, the entire media (except Rush and the Fox News crew, I’m assuming) are hateful, lying manipulators. Apparently we should only listen them.

    Blah. I think I may be the last living moderate in the United States.

    Also? I told my dad last week that I might not vote for McCain (it would be first departure from the republican party EVER) and he called me a dangerous socialist and refused to talk to me for the rest of the weekend.

    I’m tired of this election already.

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  3. @Brian – I feel like I want to throw tea into the ocean these days. Nobody tells the whole truth and all I can do is try and decide who’s less evil…?

    @Heather – As I listened to what I caught of Palin’s speech, I heard the half truths, too, but I didn’t have a friend who raved about her speech on her blog. I guess I wanted her to know that her hero, Obama, is still a politician, too, just like the rest. It was a really long blog entry to try and do that, eh?

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  4. I sympathize, Larrie.

    One of the problems with the American political system is a lack of recognition of the rolls of our elected leaders. Presidents are seen as CFOs, as opposed to CEOs, if that makes sense. In reality, the President is America’s Chief Executive, and though he prepares budgets and can urge Congress to pass legislation, budgets aren’t his real job.

    Budgets are the responsibility of Congress, who really should review the budgets presented to them and cut and gut the waste. But that doesn’t really happen.

    In my mind, the President’s role in American life has become inflated. This is as much the fault of Republicans as it is Democrats, and perhaps moreso since the Democrats have controlled Congress for such a great portion of the past 50 years, Republicans expanded the role of the only branch of government they could control consistantly.

    In the World According to Brian, the President would take a backseat to Congress in setting the nation’s agenda, and step in only to act as a check on Congressional over-reach and in his role as Commander and Chief. Unfortunately, that’s a fantasy, not reality.

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