Rough stuff in politics today.  Sometimes you bring it on yourself:
[Mark Steyn said] "For a start, when he says, ‘I am my brother’s keeper,’ his brother is back in Kenya living on $12 a year. That’s what he was living on at the time of the 2008 election. So all the president has to do in terms of shared responsibility is put a $10 bill in an envelope and mail it to Nairobi or Mombasa or wherever and he will double his brother’s salary.”
Sometimes you gripe about being taken out of context, only to discover that your remarks are just as bad in context:
“We now know from Gov. Romney, he joins President Obama. Obama is big food stamp, he’s little food stamp – but they both think food stamps are OK,” Gingrich said. “I don’t think food stamps are a future for America. They’re a necessary bridge back to getting a job and back to being independent of the government.”
Sadly, when you say that you aren't concerned about the poor because of the safety net, you're open to that line.

Of course, sometimes the context that makes you look bad is provided by someone else:

Great ad, except for the last few seconds.  It's a compelling argument against Mr. Romney; but it offers no reason to vote for Mr. Gingrich.


Cassandra said...

Why is saying that he doesn't think government needs to do more for the poor than it already does "a compelling argument against Mr. Romney"?

Romney didn't say (contra Gingrich) that food stamps are the future of America. He also didn't say (contra Gingrich) they should be anything but temporary. He didn't even say (contra Gingrich) he thought people should be allowed to stay on food stamps their whole lives.

A "safety net" isn't something you wear or carry about your whole life. It's a guard against sudden adversity or misfortune.

When your argument depends on misrepresenting someone else's statements, it's misleading by definition.

What, specifically (other than giving them trampolines) does Mr. Gingrich think the federal government needs to do for the poor? If he wants to cancel the food stamp program, why doesn't he say so?

Grim said...

The compelling argument is that (1) George Soros doesn't see any reason to distinguish between Romney and Obama, and (2) the big donors to Romney 2012 are the big donors to Obama 2008, and (3) the two candidates have occupied very similar policy positions on abortion, gun control, and health care reform.

If that's the choice, accepting four more years of a Soros-approved candidate is better than risking eight more years of one.

As for food stamps, what Romney said was that he wasn't very concerned about the very poor because of the safety net; he wanted to focus on the middle class. The counter-argument is that the middle class -- though struggling -- is producing wealth rather than absorbing it; the focus needs to be on getting people off the safety net, so that we have more paying into the system and fewer drawing out of it. That's better for the very poor, because of the dignity of the position; and it's better for the nation as a whole. Focusing on the relatively wealthy vice the relatively poor is out of order.

douglas said...

Soros doesn't distinguish between Obama and Romney in what context? I'm sure there's some issue where he sees them as essentially the same, but I'm also pretty sure he didn't mean man for man, in total.

Also, the 'big donors' bit was specific to Wall Street, who were for Obama, but after many of them have gotten burned by this prolonged recession (not counting the big bailout winners), of course they're switching to Romney. I wouldn't expect the largely Dem Wall St. crowd to jump on the Newt or Santorum bandwagons.

That said, I'm still hoping something happens that gets Santorum off the ground.

Grim said...

The original video appears to be here, if you want to view it for yourself. The long quote (which you can see why Gingrich didn't quote in full):

I think you have an extremist conservative, be it Gingrich or Santorum, in which case it would make a big different which of the two comes in. If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference, except for the crowd they bring with them. Romney would have to take Gingrich or Santorum as a vice president and you probably have some pretty extreme candidates for the Supreme Court. So that’s the down side. On the other side, the Obama administration is a bit exhausted, so it’s not all that strong. So it won’t be that great a difference and I think there won’t be a great deal of enthusiasm on either side of the battleground. It will be more civilized than the previous elections have been. Or you’ll have an extremist candidate. Then I think there’ll be a lot of emotion on both sides.

Grim said...

Soros goes on to say that Romney is thought (by hedge funders) to be less likely to tax the rich, because he is one of them; Soros says he himself is seen as a traitor to his class, and would rather have seen full nationalization of the banks than Obama's bailout strategy.