• Cotton khakis slightly smoldering

    by  • September 6, 2012 • Commentary • 0 Comments

    Yes, it was classic Bubba Wednesday night, all folksy and humbly didactic, God bless ‘im. And his insistence on facts and arithmetic was refreshing, after last week’s Mendacity Fest in Tampa.

    So I was discouraged to check the washingtonpost.com Fact Checkers Thursday and find some FALSEs pinned to Clinton’s speech. First, Sarah Kliff, scrutinizing Bill on Medicare, slaps that F-word on the assertion that “Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the president for allegedly robbing Medicare of $716 billion… It’s not true.” Not sure what she found wrong with this, other than the fact that the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare,” which, refreshingly, Democrats seem to have embraced, take-that-style) did, indeed hew $716 billion away from the entitlement program. But, as Clinton went on to say, and Kliff certifies with a big, fat TRUE, “There were no cuts to benefits at all. None.” Apparently, her quibble is with supposedly fishy accounting question of whether or not that $716 billion can both reduce the deficit and be used to close the so-called “doughnut hole” seniors face after drug coverage ends and catastrophic care starts. On this point, Kliff acknowledges that some accounting pros argue that both are possible.

    At some point here, we are getting away from arithmetic and into ozone-y strata of accounting that I cannot access. That applies, as well, to Kliff’s other FALSE, Clinton’s assertion that if Romney does what he says will do, Medicare will go broke in 2016. Go broke… become insolvent… run out of money… OK, so various reports have been alleging this for 40 years.

    The essential point remains TRUE is that it was FALSE for Ryan and Romney to scare seniors into believing that ACA cut their benefits.

    Anyway, in a separate post, Glenn Kessler picks apart various claims by Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic speakers, starting by referencing Clinton’s use of a GOP pollster’s quote: “We are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Maybe Bill reads Kessler, too. (Or maybe he got that from my previous post. Yeah, sure.) Kessler picks apart the $4 trillion savings in President Obama’s budget proposal, which includes not having to pay for two wars any more. Agreed, counting money you weren’t planning to spend seems like dubious accounting —  but then, that’s money we don’t have to spend.

    The problem here is that if Democrats want the GOP held accountable for lying, they’re going to have to do a better job of policing their own statements. At the very least, they need to stress that difference between the two levels of FALSE is that separating a faint charred smell from the alarming odor of wool slacks fully aflame.



    Chuck Twardy is a writer and an instructor in the School of Communication at East Carolina University.


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