American Elephants

If Politics Is A Game, Are There Any Rules About Lies? by The Elephant's Child

Politics is a funny business. How many of us would like to or be able to go out in public, brag about our accomplishments, in a way that hopefully didn’t seem too much like bragging, expose all our past failures and foibles, stand up under the insults and lies from our opponents team, and try to prove to the public that we are the better person to handle an important job? Not me! The connection between my brain and my keyboard comes easily, but I’m often a slow thinker. I have to ponder stuff, and the right answer doesn’t pop out of my mouth until much later, and all too often becomes just “I wish I’d said that.”

That said, it is not really surprising that much of a campaign’s advertising is based on an emotional appeal. The Obama campaign’s “Joe Soptic ad,” where Soptic tried to blame his unemployment and his wife’s death on Mitt Romney —was a charge that was shown not only to be false, but chronologically impossible. Nevertheless, it is still running. I see a far greater cynicism from the Democrats — an expectation that people will believe falsehoods and don’t know how to discover the truth. But perhaps that’s just because I’m on the other side.

Mitt Romney is in a difficult position for the opposing campaign. He has been an honest and spectacular success in business, helping to nurture many startups to success, and salvage others. His education prepared him for a successful career in business and his work ethic, leadership, and intelligence made it a sterling career. He turned those skills to saving the Salt Lake Winter Olympics from disaster, and went on to win the Governor’s office in Massachusetts. With a Legislature that was 93% Democrat, he managed to get rid of the deficit and restore the State to a surplus. This is not the stuff of easy attacks. We have a genuinely supremely skilled candidate who is that rare thing in politics at any time — a genuinely good and compassionate man. Makes the attack thing hard. It is well known that Mitt is rich, and people always hate the rich, because they have no conception of the common man. Out-of-touch, uncaring, and filthy rich!

Enter the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), who recruited Mitt Romney’s garbageman — embarrassing, but true — for a new ad, published Oct, 1, 2012. Richard Hayes is a City of San Diego sanitation worker whose route includes Mitt Romney’s $12 million oceanfront villa in La Jolla, California. This is his story.

Note the sledgehammer message? (h/t: Charles Cooke) It isn’t Mitt Romney’s house — it’s his “$12  million oceanfront villa.” Mr. Romney’s wealth and detachment prevent him from having to know what life is like for blue-collar workers like Mr. Hayes.

One problem, if the AFSCME folks had done their homework, they might have encountered page 251 of Mitt Romney’s book No Apology:

During my campaign for governor, I decided to spend a day every few weeks doing the jobs of other people in Massachusetts. Among other jobs, I cooked sausages at Fenway Park, worked on asphalt paving crew, stacked bales of hay on a farm, volunteered in an emergency room, served food at a nursing home, and worked as a child-care assistant. I’m often asked which was the hardest job – it’s child care, by a mile.

One day I gathered trash as a garbage collector. I stood on that little platform at the back of the truck, holding on as the driver navigated his way through the narrow streets of Boston. As we pulled up to traffic lights, I noticed that the shoppers and businesspeople who were standing only a few feet from me didn’t even see me. It was as if I was invisible. Perhaps it was because a lot of us don’t think garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works that hard deserves our respect. – I wasn’t a particularly good garbage collector: at one point, after filling the trough at the back of the truck, I pulled the wrong hydraulic lever. Instead of pushing the load into the truck, I dumped it onto the street. Maybe the suits didn’t notice me, but the guys at the construction site sure did: “Nice job, Mitt,” they called. “Why don’t you find an easier job?” And then they good-naturedly came down and helped me pick up my mess.

And here’s Mitt working as a garbage collector:

4 Comments so far
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” stand up under the insults and lies from our opponents team,”

Are you serious? Politics is about the collective ego of tribes. Politics from both sides is about half truths.

I still have not heard from either side any compelling reason to vote for either person. Romney is the one applying for the job so he needs to tell me in more detail what his plan is for reducing the deficit and how long it will take.

All the supply side theories are based on the Laffer curve, a curve that has no numbers on either the X or Y axis. It is a theoretical curve. Any meat head could tell you that when taxes are prohibitively high it will impact growth.

If we reduce taxes once again on the rich does this mean we will never have a recession again? If we do have another recession do we lower taxes on the “job creators” once again?

And what about those takers? What percentage of the total population is getting government assistance that are truly taking advantage of our generosity? Do we exclude the seniors and their Medicare and Social Security, disabled military veterans, poor children getting Medicaid and food stamps, the single mom who’s husband left her and she needs assistance until she can recover?

What percentage of the population are truly taking advantage of the generosity of Americans?

You see I tend to believe in the honesty of people and corporations unlike conservative who faithfully trust corporations to be honest but not the individual American.


Comment by Mark Baird

I disagree with your definition. Politicians are human, with all the flaws and foibles of humans, with an extra dose of ego thrown in. Some are honest, some are not, some are ideologues, some are patriots. If you want to know what Romney’s specific plans are, go to his website and read up. For Paul Ryan’s ideas, go to the House Budget Committee website and read up. You have to do your homework.

Of course the Laffer curve is a theoretical tool. So? Everybody talks about “the rich” but never asks what they do with their money. If you remember a few years back Democrats slapped a hefty luxury tax on the luxuries that “the rich” might buy. The tax on yachts was huge and prohibitive. “The rich” bought their yachts in Bermuda or elsewhere, and the boatyards that built yachts were devastated, huge layoffs, businesses ruined and closed permanently. Nobody is talking about reducing taxes on the rich. Romney wants to reduce everyone’s taxes, and close some of the more unfair loopholes. Our corporate taxes are the world’s highest. Romney wants to reduce those. The Bush tax cuts reduced taxes on everybody, and the rich got the smallest percentage cut. Obama wants to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich which is a tax increase. Our taxes are already the most progressive in the industrialized world (well, until Hollande, France’s new Socialist Pres.). And if we reduce taxes on the rich will we no longer have recessions? Not unless you cancel being human as well. There is such a thing as a business cycle. However this last recession and the one we are about to enter are caused, not by the business cycle, but by failures of government.

It is well documented that there is lots of fraud in almost all of the government’s helping programs. The government runs on paperwork and rules and regulations that are often only lightly observed. Oddly enough, Visa and Mastercard weed out the fraud fairly quickly. Don’t know the percentages, but it is high. Case in the last few days of someone who won a million or so in the lottery, buy continued to get their welfare check. Food stamps spent at casinos or Whole Foods. This conservative acknowledges that people are flawed, often difficult humans. The officials who run corporations are also human. Some good, some bad, lots in the middle. You apparently don’t understand much about conservatives.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Avg. pay for AFSCME worker $94,250.00


Comment by Don Welch

It’s not the pay, it’s the hugs and bottles of water. :>)


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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