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Mitt Romney: Embellisher-in-chief

I've been worried the past couple of days that Ryan, Romney/ Koch might be making some headway on the Medicare attacks. The thing that might have gotten some traction was the linking of Medicare reforms to the dreaded Obamacare. I thought Obama was a little slow on the uptake. But what I didn't realize was that Joe Biden set a trap for Romney who just tee-ed up the ball for Obama to hit out of the park. Biden's faux pas was intended to put Romney on a high and loosen his tongue---because Romney can't keep his mouth shut. Especially when it comes to embellishing his argument.

My take on embellishments is that when a person is making an argument which he knows is faulty and he is not a complete sociopath, he is inclined to add things to strengthen his argument but which actually weaken it because he opens the door unnecessarily to counter attacks. Best to make short statements, give crisp answers. And don't anticipate. I attended a divorce case in which the woman so angered the judge that he said, "Please don't answer the questions before they are asked.". She kept doing it,  and I watched him make a note or two. Can't say there's a connection here but in the end he awarded her the man's student loans--which at the time was a precedent in the state. (Now that anecdote was completely unnecessary).

I have noticed Romney getting ahead of the questions, which is a separate and annoying insult to the questioner. But he has also stepped on his own lines all throughout his campaign. Yesterday his lovely wife followed suit in her comments on the tax returns. She embellished her proviso---"you get nothing more from us" ( STOP Right there, Ann) ...."because it just gives people ammunition". Ah, why do you suppose that is? (Now, right there I myself could have embellished my comment with something like---"I think the Romney's keep embellishing because they are arrogant"---and invited an unnecessary attack on my post).

I thought the Romney attack---"and dump the $716 Billion into Obamacare" was a good one--- misleading, but effective. And while Obama did a pretty good job in fighting back yesterday, the arguments can make Obama look defensive as well as tax the listener's attention span---savings? reforms? where did he put this money? damned Obamacare!

Overconfident that his tirade on Biden had just won him the election, and riding high because his wife once again stiffed the pesky media on the question of more tax returns, Romney said he was going to restore the $716 Billion in "cuts to Medicare". The problem is that no one had yet gone down that path and Romney didn't need to. No one had asked him, "Will you restore the cuts?"

Well, Governor, since you mentioned it, by putting the $716 Billion back into your budget, you would increase profits for the healthcare industry but also increase the national debt. How are you going to pay for that?

Not to mention that Congressman Ryan had the very same cuts in his own budget. Oh, crap!

 

Nice Oxy.  And to the Romney-Ryan budget, well they just haven't run the numbers yet, so they have no clue when they will balance the budget! Haha, well then, I guess their budget doesn't do what budgets are supposed to do!

a budget/plan without details, is not either. i love seeing ryan stumble thru his interview on fox, what a delight, i guess he did get wonky. romney put out a memo today that said "dont get specific on anything, or it will be like commiting suicide". there you have it in a nutshell. day one, romney said he has his own plan, day 2, he said ryan and he r on the same page, definately. day 3, sununu says, they are alike, but different. day 4, romney says they r identical. ryan lies about stimulus money. ryan, when pressed about 700B, said "obama did it first", so it is obamas fault i guess. romney says, he is taking the 700B, and putting it back, what ever that means. these guys dont live in the same book, let alone a page. ryan; hey girl, love your body, i just dont trust u with it! ryan, why dont u slink away somewhere, and retroactively repair your falsified tax returns. damn, you and willard love to hide trusts and alike. and willard, show your damn taxes. ryan said "we will detail our plan in the light of day, when we work it thru with congress". guess ryan, like willard, are going to be elected first, before trusting the american people with the details. so covert, they are a perfect match, and theyl will never reach the white house. fools

willard and paul do this: obama did it, and he is the worst person in the history of the world. hey willard, lets go after welfare, they are an easy target. lets make up a complete lie, and make a commercial. i love the way willards claims (lies) are fact checked, and given 4 pinochos, or pants on fire, and he keeps saying the same damn lie anyway. "u didnt make that", jesus, have u heard of video tape willard? your lies are truely amazing and shocking. grow up fool, or u never will "get my hands on the white house". the king willard and queen lil bitch ann, can rule the land, and be the arrogant fucks they really are. charactures.

Thanks for your comments, Jacksmith.

Listening is an art where one must be able to understand the meaning of the words the speaker meant to convey to the listener.

Herman Munster ...  I mean Mitt Romney ... is banking on the public just believing what he says without question rather than listening to what he means when he says things.

 

 

Thanks, Beetle. You just ruined Fred Gwynne for me. wink ... Shift+R improves the quality of this image. Shift+A improves the quality of all images on this page.

Sorry, but if you look at a picture of Romney and Ryan together, they look identical to Herman and Eddie Munster .

Sorry, but if you look at a picture of Romney and Ryan together, they look identical to Herman and Eddie Munster .

I just finished reading the interview Chris Hayes gave over at Grist about his new book, 'Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy.  One of the first parts of it highlights perfectly the Romney embellishments you are talking about, Oxy.

The ethos of competition produces elites who feel persecuted — they are always looking up the ladder and never down, and all construct for themselves a story of their own overcoming, even when it’s manifestly ridiculous. Like Mitt Romney, who got up at a Republican presidential primary debate and said, “You know, I could have inherited the car company. But I struck out on my own — I went to Harvard Law, went to Harvard Business School.” This is genuinely felt — it’s not artifice.


I bolded the part that sticks out as embellishment -- or should we call it emballishment? --. I mean really, Mitt. You should have stopped at "But I struck out on my own." Average voters can relate to that but not so much the Harvard thing. Sheesh.

Oxy,

I enjoy reading your blogs, and I admire your passion.  I'm afraid--and this has nothing to do with you in particular or the blog itself--that it is only August and I almost feel that we are as guilty as the MSM in having little to say about the campaign except. . .gotcha!   I can tell you're following the daily campaign fairly closely; what do you think we'll be discussing in October?  Let me just go out on a limb and say that I believe that President Obama and Vice President Biden are politicians just like Romney and Ryan are.  

Bruce

 

I'm with you Bruce - enough of gotcha politics on BOTH sides. I almost cannot stand to turn on the TV and see more slices of negative commentary. The country does have serious problems and needs serious people discussing the problems and solutions.

Our Healthcare costs are totally out of whack compared with any other developed nation. Our healthcare outcomes, in spite of the cost, are for the most part deficient in comparison. Both Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare need to be improved. I'd like to see Medicare's guaranteed public option extended to all age and income groups (with subsidies as needed) and then let private plans compete with that. (I know I'm being naive but I can still wish) Over time I do think this can start to improve the amount we spend vs the GNP.

SS can be improved with small adjustments like gradually raising the full retirement age to 68 and changing the COLA. 

The biggest thing we need to do is change the tax system. I'd like to see the graduated income tax add higher taxes on additional brackets for every million in earnings. I'd also like to see capital gains, carried interest and dividends tax exempt for the first $100,000/year and treated as ordinary income above that. The Bush tax cuts should be eliminated for everyone, not just very high earners. We need to get our revenue base back up to 21% of GNP vs the 15.8% currently. We can phase the tax changes in over a 5 year period to avoid damaging the recovery. 

The key question is how do we encourage citizens to demand specific answers from both Obama and Romney as well as congressional critters. People should be in the street demanding this kind of information yet so many of us are still apathetic. 

These are the issues I want to wrestle with - and maybe a small side order of Israel's problems. 

 

 

I don't really care for this type of analysis since I just don't know what's going on inside other people's heads. Was the Biden comment planned in advance to trip up Romney? I don't know. But I don't see the issue as gotcha politics. The 716 billion argument is a real issue that needs to be discussed in the media, by the campaigns, and by the public. If there's any value in discussing issues here then this is a valuable issue to discuss here. Oxy's question at the end is a good one, one of many this issue brings up.

It seems to me the purpose in being part of some group is to gain power by bargaining as a collective. That's the main reason workers unionize. Collective bargaining is one of several  reasons large businesses get better health care for less than individuals. The government, as provider of medicare, engaged in collective bargaining to gain some savings in medicare from hospitals and private insurers.  They then  used those savings to provide benefits to seniors and others through The Affordable Care Act. For example closing the donut hole in medicare part D so seniors get lower prices on prescription drugs and cancer screenings for seniors without copays. Millions of seniors have saved an average of 629$ on prescription drugs in the first half of this year because of this change in Medicare.

If Romney wants to end that collective bargaining agreement as well as the ACA and return those savings to the private insurers and hospitals he should address whether he is going to also take away the donut hole fix and other benefits to seniors that money represents or if he cares about the deficit as he claims to he should explain how he's going to pay for it.

I'd like to see Medicare's guaranteed public option extended to all age and income groups (with subsidies as needed) and then let private plans compete with that.

I can't agree with this unless you're talking about a buy in for younger workers. But that doesn't really solve what IMO is the main problem facing medicare. 25% of the cost of medicare is spent on people in the last year of their life. That's only 5% of medicare recipients.  Medicine has gotten very good at keeping a body alive in an intensive care unit.We as a society need to have a frank discussion on end of life issues.

SS can be improved with small adjustments like gradually raising the full retirement age to 68 and changing the COLA.

No offense meant, jdledell, but I see this idea all the time and when I do I wonder if the people suggesting this solution have ever worked with something other than paper and ideas in an office sitting in a relatively comfortable chair. I wonder if they have ever worked on a assembly line in a factory, in a steel mill, at any type of blue collar employment. I've worked on the line, once making pen type flash lights as well as other in other factories. I can't see myself standing for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week at 68, even  making those tiny little flash lights. My mother worked at Lutron making light switches. I sure wouldn't want her standing on a line at 68 even if she could make the switches with the arthritis in her hands. My father's body was worn out at 65 from 40 years at the Bethlehem steel. Sure he's lived 20 more years since retirement but I'd attribute a chunk of those  years to retirement. Even if he could have done the work until 68 he surely wouldn't have survived to the 85 years he is now. Raising the retirement age 68 will "save" us much more than the money from those 3 years when the elderly die younger. Its a win/win!!

A better solution would be raising the cap on the SS tax, presently at about 110,000$.

Revising the tax code is way too big for me to even begin, all these issues could use a separate blog and long discussion. Including the 716 billion medicare issue this blog addresses.

 

Ocean - You raise legitimate issues, especially with raising the retirement age. My father was also a blue collar worker and he worked until 62 and could not work any longer. He took the early benefits because he had to. Yes, there is wasted money in Medicare, especially in the last year of life. However, these are the issues that have to be wrestled with - not demagogued by politicians and pundits. . 

The most succinct commentary I have read on this election, which would also apply to most of our elections, is from the famous cartoonist at the WaPo, Tom Toles, Seriously?:

And the dumbest thing that’s been said recently. and frequently. is that now that Paul Ryan is on the GOP ticket we will have a “serious debate” about budget policy. This “debate” will be every bit as serious as a helium balloon. Everybody inhaled.

We have had ample opportunity, in fact nothing BUT opportunity to have a serious debate about budget policy, for years. We don’t want to have that discussion. We don’t want to be serious. It’s not all that complicated. You either balance the budget by cutting spending, raising taxes, or both. We can’t have a combination of both because the GOP has decided that tax increases are not acceptable now, for anybody. When will they acceptable? Next Thursday? No, Thursday’s out. How about never? Does never work for you? No, that’s too soon.

Conclusive evidence that we won’t have a serious debate is Mr. Serious himself, Paul Ryan. His “serious” plan is a joke. A party joke. The Republican party. The numbers don’t add up to a balanced budget, unless you count the unicorn numbers that aren’t there and can only live in a meadow of fantasy. Reporters and media analysts persist in referring to this nonsensical number gibberish as “serious,” guaranteeing we won’t have a serious debate about anything. We WILL be making a consequential decision, but it will be made on ideology and wishful thinking. Again.

The real problem starts earlier in a sense.

We can't decide "what the problem is" or how big it is.

Is Medicare really in trouble?

If so, why and by how much?

What are our options for fixing it?

It seems to me that Ryan who normally says there's a big problem with Medicare costs now has to go so far out of his way to assure folks that he isn't going destroy Medicare that his solutions would do nothing to save any money.

He's not cutting the 716 billion. His vouchers will keep pace with the cost of medical costs (he says). And those vouchers will have to pay for private insurance profits, bonuses and overhead.

So where are the savings going to come from?

 

You're right that Romney gave President Obama an opening but President Obama is not using that opening with enough force.  When Romney said he was going to put the $716 billion into medicare that is when President Obama should have said,

"Since that $716 billion came from healthcare providers, rather than seniors, if you put the $716 billion back then that money will go back to the healthcare providers and the seniors will lose the new benefits the seniors received in that transaction, such as closing the doughnut hole, plus medicare itself will be bankrupt in 4 years because we used that $716 billion to shore up medicare out 12 years and to get seniors new benefits, such as closing the doughnut hole." 

I know it's a complicated sentence but seniors are paying attention.  Also, if President Obama would say this then the media would start picking President Obama's statement apart and the media would see that the statement is accurate and then the media would be all over Romney about it.  

President Obama is not making a big enough pushback noise about this and the thing is that the facts are on President Obama's side.    

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