Saturday, September 06, 2008

Truth and Lies

Now politicians often stretch facts or take their opponent's comments out of context for their own ends. Obama has done this. Anyone who heard McCain's comment that middle class begins at $5 million knows he was actually saying that he didn't want to raise taxes on anyone and that he wasn't really saying at income was the dividing line between middle class and wealthy. Still Obama has used that figure in his speeches.

But that isn't what I want to point out. At the RNC, there was almost no real policy discussion (compared with a little at the DNC) but there was a lot of outright lies regarding records. Here is an article from the Associated Press that points out some of the lies told from the podium at the RNC.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.

And Palin is being portrayed as a fiscal conservative who cut pork and reduced the budget in Waslla and in Alaska... again not true

In fiscal 2003—the last fiscal year Palin approved the budget—the bonded long-term debt was $18,635,000. In fiscal 1996—the year before Palin took control of the budget—there was no general obligation debt. [Wasilla Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2003, Table 10]

I'm checking for the figures in Alaska, but I understand that similar changes took place in the state under her governorship.


Michael Mahoney said...

It's funny how much effort is being put into beating up Sarah Palin. I don't remember seeing a VP candidate get so much attention. I even saw a couple of news stories referring to the "Palin/McCain ticket."

Per-capita spending in Alaska. Are you kidding? No one lives there. They put up one roadsign and that number goes up three dollars. Alaska had 366 earmarks in 2005. California had 1182! For over 1.6 billion dollars. Looks like Arnold is doing his job!

Huckabee can say what he wants. He's not on the ticket. And all that praise for Obama "working with" other people still means he hasn't authored a single bill.

Mike said...

People are working so hard to beat up Sarah Palin because she is a real and obvious threat. All these details that were pointed out on this blog are rather insignificant and couldn't raise any less interest in the minds of most Americans.

Sarah's commitment to parents of special-needs children was just one of the nails in the Obama/Biden campaign coffin. She speaks to the hearts of Americans in real and understandable ways...instead of relying on the word "change," which is very fuzzy the way Obama uses it.

There just isn't much to Barack Obama. Yes, he's a gifted speaker and can inspire a crowd, but I think America is realizing that there is no substance behind the polished veneer.

It is funny how much effort is being made to beat up Palin. It's even funnier watching Democrats and liberals frantically scramble in their efforts to make Obama more shiny than he really is.

Here's my prediciton...Obama's run for Presidency will no doubt go down in history...but it will be the end of his political career. After November, you won't hear of him much anymore in the grand scheme of things. Obama-Mania can only happen once...and like a previous poster has said...he peaked too soon.

roy said...


So much is being made of Palin because so much is being made of Palin. After all, she was chosen to be VP when nobody knew anything about her. It is natural and expected that she would get lots of attention. People want to know something about the person who would become leader of the free world if something happened to the president. I do. Plus, I have heard more than one Republican talk about her as the future of the party. Again, that intensifies the spotlight. And the fact that she is not answering the press' questions only intensifies it more. That piece of the puzzle makes her an amazingly good choice as it keeps the attention away from the issues where the Republicans haven't got a prayer.

So California had about 4 times the number of earmarks as Alaska... how many times the population? Let me save you the research... a bit over 55 times as many. If earmarks went at the same ratio, CA would have had over 20,200 earmarks. Looks like Arnold blew it big time.

Mike, it is possible that nobody would be interested in any of these facts...except the one about taxes where Palin just lied. My taxes would go down under Obama as would the vast majority of people's. Unless the only folk she was talking to were her wealthy friends... The reality is that the Republicans are misrepresenting themselves. No surprise there.

Michael Mahoney said...

While that may be true, I will gladly forgo that two percent difference to me in order to not stife infusions into the economy - the stifling effect Obama's plan will bring. I've said this before: the folks with the money are the ones who drive the economy. And when Obama makes them hide it offshore or stick it in a tax shelter, you and I lose.

The rich stay rich for a variety of reasons. One of them is tha they can afford the best tax lawyers. Anyone who thinks that the wealthy are actually going to pay significantly more taxes just because Obama says so is kidding themselves. They will find new ways to avoid taxes, ways which will take wealth out of the US economy.

You can't compare the economics of Alaska to any other state, especially on a per-capita basis. No one lives there (comparitivly) and the Feds own 60% of the land in Alaska. Of couse they spend a ton of money there - they own most of the state. The only state they own more of is Nevada. With such a small population, it is doubtful that there is sufficient resources to generate internal funds to maintain all that land. (Maybe we should give it to the Russians, hmmm..?) Alaska only has 1.2 people to support every sqare mile. California has 234. (Connecticut, BTW, has 722/sq mi)

My point is Alaska is a unique situation, and your assertations are overly simplistic.

I agree, BTW, that too much is being made out of her by both sides. She's the VP candidate for Pete's sake!



True lies

You thought Arnie n your Mum were shysters, c’mon he is. There’s these people, old women who circumnavigate the globe with the sole intention of propergating twoddle. They’re mystical you see, because no one ever remembers seeing or speaking to these “old wives” although we always remember their tales. Some tales are inside you now:

Goldfish have a memory of only three seconds
More like a few months, but what the frig do they have to remember.

Lemmings engage in suicidal dives off cliffs when migrating.
A lie made by Old Disney Wives.

Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet, Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb, and Henry Ford did not invent the automobile.
Nope, all me.

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