Saturday, October 6, 2012

Truthiness and redefining words.

Speaking about the debates, one thing that puzzled me was the apparent redefinition of two words: "winning", and "specifics"

  • On "specifics", Rob Portman, who plays Barack Obama's in Mitt Romney's debate preps, stated somethign that has puzzled me for a while in the last couple of months: "he's offering specifics, he's offering a way forward. It's a 12-million job gain, by the way. Over the next ten years, the tax plan alone will gain 7 million jobs, because it's pro-growth." Now, yeah, specifics can be about the outcome of your policies. But it seems to me that in this context, "specifics" are about what the tax plan will be, not about the outcome. One specific (ah) reason being that you control the tax plan, you don't know what the effect will be. Also, I can say that my plan is a 12.2-million job gain and that's more specific. Also, that's better.
  • On  "winning": let's remember the infamous CNN segment after Paul Ryan's convention speech:

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: ...He delivered a powerful speech. Erin, a powerful speech. Although I marked at least seven or eight points that I'm sure the fact checkers will have some opportunities to dispute if they want to go forward, I'm sure they will. But as far as Mitt Romney's campaign is concerned, Paul Ryan certainly on this night delivered. 
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Certainly so. I mean, obviously, we were jotting down points. There will be some issues there with some of the facts. But it motivated people. And he is a man who said I care deeply about every single word. I want to do a good job. And he did deliver on that. Precise, clear, and passionate. 
After the debate, where Romney was clearly better in is confidence and attitude, the debate was considered "won" by the Republican. But I'm pretty sure that a debate is won when you have the correct arguments. And by that count, I have no idea how Romney could have won. Related: Ezra Klein had a great piece on how the vagueness of Romney's position was useful for him.

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