I have to admit: I’m still amazed when I see someone swimming in a pool of their own shit, when they gesture at me and yell, “Come on in! The water is fine!”
I’m as negative and as jaded as they come and this still gets me each and every time. It literally takes my breath away. It literally makes my head asplode.
I guess it makes me feel alive to know I can still be surprised that way.
I met a person the other day and we talked about presidential politics briefly. One of my friends will be pleased to note that she said Obama is a “narcissist.”
“Interesting,” I replied. “What word would you use to describe Mitt Romney?”
“I don’t know that much about him. Isn’t he into Scientology or a Mormon or something?” (This is an exact quote. I am decidedly not comparing those two.)
All hail the era of the informed voter! 🙂
This post isn’t about any single issue or candidate. It’s about the principle of “bias.” Call it what you will. Rose-colored glasses. Wishful thinking. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever the hell it is, it is out there in abundance.
And, I might be biased, but I think my coverage of the topic will be the best ever!
The other day I was talking with this Dude* I know. He’s strongly for Mitt Romney. He was telling me all about how the “narrative” on Mitt was all wrong.
By the way, isn’t it interesting how anything non-supporters say is always a “narrative?” Anything they say is never factual or supported by the record. It’s just mythical nonsense spun from whole cloth.
“Look. Here’s two apples, right? Now over here are two more. Put them together. See? Now how many apples are there? Four!”
“You’re crazy, man. I can’t believe you just totally made that up!”
“Um? Seriously. How are you able to dress yourself in the morning? Don’t tell me. Mom does it. Right?”
Dude is the kind of guy who, in 2004, was all about John Kerry changing positions. It was “flip-flops” and “waffles” all the time. He was so worked up about that he popped blood vessels in his face and his spittle flew with such velocity the it killed a passerby.
Note: This post is not about the issue of abortion. It is about bias and opinions regarding an issue like abortion.
The Dude was telling me about Romney’s position on abortion. “I don’t think he waffled at all. He’s always been consistent.”
I was floored. “You can’t be serious,” I said. “The guy made a round trip on the issue. The only thing that differed was the opinion of the local constituents. Amazingly, Mitt’s position wavered in exactly the right way just enough to sway the voters in the direction he wanted.”
The round trip, in a nutshell:
- Massachusetts, circa 1994: Mitt wanted to be a senator. He said, “I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”
- Utah, circa 2001: Mitt was considering a run for office. In a letter to the editor of The Salt Lake Tribune he wrote, “I do not wish to be labeled pro-choice.”
- Massachusetts, circa 2002: Mitt wanted to be governor. He said, “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.”
That’s quite a round trip. On the final point, Mitt Romney even made a pilgrimage to church leaders to get their blessing on his strategy. They were not pleased but grudgingly went along, I guess figuring that the position adjustment was a necessary evil to get a person of their faith elected.
And here was Dude telling me, “Mitt never waffled.” Where were the ripped open blood vessels? Where was the deadly spittle? Strangely silent.
By the way, the good folks at PolitiFact.com have something called the Flip-O-Meter. It rates politicians on flip-flops. It does not attempt to pass judgment on positions or why they changed their mind. It only evaluates if they did. On Mitt Romney and abortion it says:
Mitt Romney: On abortion
Flip-O-Meter indicates: “Full Flop.”
From “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country” to “I am firmly pro-life.”
Actually, PolitiFact got this one wrong. It’s not a “full flop” at all. It’s the extremely rare and elusive prey known as the “360 Round-Trip Flip Flop.”
Hey. That’s not me sayin’ it. It’s a newspaper and shit. Perhaps you could at least pay it some mind rather than sticking your fingers in your ears and saying, “Na na na na. I can’t hear you. Na na na na.”
The point I attempted to discuss with Dude, which he ignored, was the crass way Romney’s position evolved based on his location, and in exactly the way he needed it to get what he wanted. It is for this reason I don’t think it is wise to believe anything he says.
Then there was a discussion with Dude about Bain Capital, the company where Mitt Romney was the CEO. One narrative tells the story of the intrepid CEO using his position at Bain Capital to create jobs. The other narrative tells the story of Mitt Romney, the profit taker, who bought companies and cashed them out for short term profits, bankrupting them and firing workers.
Gee. Knowing what we know about humanity and business, which version do you think sounds more plausible?
By the way, PolitiFact.com came through with a Truth-O-Meter, at least partially, on this one, too:
Barack Obama: On Bain Capital and GST Steel
Truth-O-Meter indicates: “Mostly true.”
Barack Obama: After they bought GST Steel, “Mitt Romney and his partners loaded it with debt, closed the Kansas City plant and walked away with a healthy profit, leaving hundreds of employees out of work with their pensions in jeopardy.”
Again, unlike Dude, I’m not simply making this shit up. Of course, it’s easy to discount it and say, “That crap spews forth from the liberal rag The Tampa Bay Times.” Whatever. Believe what you want. Isn’t that the whole point of bias? Oh, and just for the record, I spent a few seconds searching PolitiFact.com and found no less than eight Truth-O-Meter responses where Barack Obama himself was given “full flop” ratings. Damn those liberal bastards.
Meanwhile, Dude was busy telling me how the other narrative was false and just a crass attempt to portray Romney in a negative light. I tried to point out that, at every turn, he was looking at Mitt in the best possible way. With Kerry his opinion had been swift and harsh. With Romney he was loving, gentle, very understanding, and, he couldn’t even see or acknowledge certain facts.
In the grand tradition of democracy in this great land of ours, Dude will be casting his ballot this November. God speed, Dude.
* The “dude” is an amalgamation of multiple people I know wrapped up into one little ball of goodness. I don’t wish to single out any one person or idea.