URLs du Jour

2012-09-04

  • donkey As I did with the Republicans, I plan to rely mostly on Dave Barry for my insights into the Democrats' convention:

    Now the eyeballs of the nation turn toward this vibrant, proud, ambitious city in North or possibly South Carolina as the Democrats gather here to present their message of hope for America, namely that the Republicans are fascist, racist women-hating scum.

  • It might actually be useful to have journalist-type people going out and doing some research as to whether the words coming out of politicians' mouths bore the slightest relation to reality.

    We could call these folks—oh, I don't know—fact-checkers?

    Or we could, if that word hadn't been grabbed by journalists already. Unfortunately, they seem to be doing anything but fact-checking, and their efforts have been inspiring boos from all over. A small sampler from just the past few days:

    • Matt Welch notes that fact checkers uniformly botched their "check" of Paul Ryan's remarks about Obama's 2008 campaign speech about GM's Janesville, Wisconsin plant.

      Ryan is universally condemned for mentioning that an auto plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, was shut down during Obama's presidency the year after candidate Obama had vowed that the plant would be there another century. "The plant was closed in December 2008, before Obama was sworn in," Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote. But Kessler and his fellow fact-checkers turned out to have been wrong; the plant did close in 2009.

    • Mickey Kaus notes the "fact checkers" were overly credulous about accepting White House spin about the gutting of welfare reform.

    • And Clive Crook (hilariously) takes on Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post fact checker. Kessler is in the habit of "rating" the pols on a scale of 1-4 "Pinocchios".

      Of course [Romney's assertions Kessler is "checking"] are misleading, and for the reasons Kessler says, but let's not be distracted by any such split-the difference bullshit. The point is, Kessler isn't confining himself to checking facts, he's contesting one interpretation of the facts with his own interpretation. Whatever the merits of the rival interpretations, that's not fact-checking, it's commentary. Kessler himself says, "Romney is asserting an extreme interpretation of what might happen..." See? Guilty. An interpretation is an opinion--not a fact.

      Some of you may find that distinction hard to grasp. It's Two Spocks difficult. Paul Krugman helped me see that people are divided into three groups: the ones who know I'm right (I call these "excellent"), fools and knaves. Possibly, you're a fool, so let me spell it out for you. When a fact is wrong, it's not some number of Pinocchios, it's just wrong.

      I'd disagree with Cook about the "misleading" bit; read the Kaus link. But (in any case) Read The Whole Thing™.

  • Jennifer Rubin notes the 2012 Democratic platform has moved singificantly out of the mainstram on abortion and Israel. Abortion is no surprise, of course—can't afford to offend a single feminist! But (even) I was surprised at how thoroughly Israel is being thrown under the proverbial bus:

    The platform is dramatically less supportive of Israel than it was even four years ago. In 2008, Obama committed “to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.” That language is gone in the 2012 platform. The 2008 platform said: “All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” That entire section is absent in 2012, and, as we know, the administration won’t say where the capital of Israel is. “Jerusalem” is not mentioned in the platform. This is the most radically unsupportive statement of policy on Israel by any major party since the founding of the state of Israel. It is indeed Obama’s Democratic Party.

  • Speaking of platforms: at Cato, Juan Carlos Hidalgo tries to find any significant difference between the party platforms when it comes to the War on Drugs. And fails:

    It appears both the Republicans and the Democrats will seek to maintain the status quo in the war on drugs. They agree that if we double-down and refocus our efforts, perhaps we can help Mexico make a small dent in the violence engulfing their country.

    Why, it's enough to make any good libertarian… vote Libertarian.

    Although this hasn't stopped President Obama from courting the stoner vote.


Last Modified 2014-12-05 12:01 PM EST