Friday, September 7, 2012

Facts! Numbers! Specifics!

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Hope and Change 2 - Bill Clinton's Math
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Facts? Numbers? Specifics? Not just generic platitudes? Imagine that!

Do you want to criticize Republican proposals? First, you have to figure out what they are. You won't hear specifics from them, because their supporters are faith-based. They're just going to imagine whatever they want to believe.

But this is different. calls it Our Clinton Nightmare:
Former President Bill Clinton’s stem-winding nomination speech was a fact-checker’s nightmare: lots of effort required to run down his many statistics and factual claims, producing little for us to write about.

Republicans will find plenty of Clinton’s scorching opinions objectionable. But with few exceptions, we found his stats checked out.

Take a look. They go into details. Then look at what they say about Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney. (In another post, they found that Romney avoided "major falsehoods" in a "speech heavy on anecdotal history but short on policy details." Yeah, if you don't say anything, you don't lie as much.)

But Bill Clinton's speech is the kind of thing we Americans need to hear. And it's the kind of thing journalists should demand - and then fact-check!

When Paul Ryan lied so blatantly, much of the media just shrugged that off. Yeah, none of it was actually true, but it was a great speech, huh?

Is that what we're willing to accept from our politicians? Is that what we're willing to accept from our news media? They pay more attention to Ryan's abs than to his lies!

If you didn't hear it, here's Bill Clinton's speech. Yeah, it's almost 50 minutes long, but it's quite a speech!


Jim Harris said...

We have to assume the Republicans don't use math in their speeches because they know their followers don't believe in numbers. Or science. Or economics. Conservatives have to keep their speeches simple because they might get accused of being intellectuals.

WCG said...

Maybe. But I think it's simpler than that, Jim. I think it's just that their numbers don't add up.

After all, their supporters are already going to be voting Republican. At these conventions, they're trying to appeal to people who haven't made up their mind.

But if they say anything specific, that opens the door to fact-checking. Just look at Paul Ryan's speech. More importantly, it shows people what they have to lose.

No, they keep everything vague for good reason! If they just speak in bumper stickers and other slogans, they can keep the discussion to feel-good fantasy, rather than the real world of facts and figures.

And that's also why I think it's admirable when Democrats do speak of specific numbers.