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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Big Lie (That Is True)

James Ostrokowski posts puzzling thoughts on the mainstream media and Ron Paul. He writes:

"Finally, the MSM repeats the Big Lie—a statement for which no evidence exists but which is repeated endlessly—that Ron Paul cannot beat Obama. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as many voters make their decision based on the Big Lie. In fact, the polls show that Ron Paul can beat Obama and that Romney cannot—if he faces a strong third party challenge which is likely."

So first of all, it is rather curious to call a "lie""a statement for which no evidence exists." Usually, the term applies to statements which are known to be false. And, in this case, these people are making a prediction. Does it make any sense at all to call a prediction a lie? If I say, "There is no way Denver can beat New England this Sunday," isn't it nonsense to claim I am lying?

Especially when I am one of the referees, and I can make the play calls go my way. As Ostrokowski recognizes the MSM can do: "That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as many voters make their decision based on the Big Lie."

Well, yes, one of the reasons that I would predict a McGovern-type scenario (49 states for Obama to 1 for Paul, or so), should Paul get the GOP nomination, is that the MSM will have a field day with all of his more fringe positions. Look, you may think Social Security is an evil Ponzi scheme involving theft, but the vast majority of Americans don't: in fact, they want it preserved to the extent that even talk of cutting benefits a bit has been seen as electoral death. But Paul would like to scrap the entire thing! One may think Paul is 100% correct in all of his positions, but it is just fantasy not to recognize that many of them are deeply unpopular. The MSM will go nuts focusing on his radical positions should he (per impossible) get the nomination. Is a political commentator not supposed to take into account the media treatment a candidates ideas will in evaluating that candidate's viability? These facts are very good evidence on which a pundit might make the prediction, "Ron Paul can't win."

And in terms of self-fulfilling prophecies, check out this one: "In fact, the polls show that Ron Paul can beat Obama and that Romney cannot—if [Romney] faces a strong third party challenge which is likely."

Hmm, and just from whom would that strong third-party challenge come? So, Romney can't win because if he gets the nomination, Paul will run on a third-party ticket and wreck his chances! And that third-party run is necessary for Ostrokowski's own "Big Lie," since in a simple head-to-head matchup Obama does far better against Paul than he does against Romney. (One poll has Obama winning by 13%. And if it were a head-to-head matchup, and the MSM had a few months to focus exclusively on Paul's views, I think that's about right.)

UPDATE: Fixed problem where I had accidentally inserted "Obama" when I meant "Romney."


5 comments:

  1. Good afternoon, Dr. Callahan.

    I agree (with an earlier post) that Dr. Paul will probably get about 25% -- 30% of the GOP preliminary vote. I also agree that if he did win the nomination, the MSM would focus on his positions that are "far out" and "scary" to many individuals.

    My questions is this: Have you heard Dr. Paul say that he would scrap things like Social Security and Medicare? I agree that limited government types dislike both of these programs, but I was surprised to hear Dr. Paul make a rather measured statement when it came to both of these social programs. I interpreted the statement to be something like: "We need to bring our troops home so that we can save some money. And, with the money that we save, we can pay for some of these social programs that people depend on."

    I imagine that the part that was not said was that a Paul administration would maintain the program (in part) for those currently receiving benefits but start to wean people off the government teat. This position, although still controversial and outside the norm, is not anathema.

    Of course, I have not heard all of Dr. Paul's statements, so you may have heard something different. Nevertheless, the statement that I am referencing showed me that Dr. Paul was more of a politician than I first thought. In this case, I am using that word (politician) as a compliment.

    And, since you raised the issue: Who is in the Conference finals? Who is in the Super Bowl? Who wins? My picks: SF v. GB and Den v. Bal.; GB over Bal to win it all, although almost any matchup would be very interesting.

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  2. Hi phel. I think Paul's position is that he would try to phase out Social Security through some sort of opt out program.

    Playoffs: NE versus GB, GB for the win.

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  3. "Hmm, and just from whom would that strong third-party challenge come?"

    Americans Elect is already funded to the tune of tens of millions of dollars; has already nailed down ballot access for its presidential ticket in 15 states, including some big ones (California and Michigan alone represent 72 electoral votes) and some "swing states" where even a fairly weak third party campaign could change the outcome; and would likely take most of its votes out of the more "moderate" major party candidate's hide.

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  4. OK, so they would be a worry for Obama, right?

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  5. "OK, so they would be a worry for Obama, right?"

    Right. Which is exactly the situation Ostrokowski posits:

    "In fact, the polls show that Ron Paul can beat Obama and that Romney cannot—if [Obama] faces a strong third party challenge which is likely."

    Most of the more likely AE nominees -- people like Bloomberg and Roemer -- are seen as pulling from the center. Ostrokowski's theory seems to be that the more centrist the Republican nominee, the more damage that nominee takes right along with Obama, where Paul could take a big enough bite out of the edges -- the GOP "base" plus anti-war lefties, etc. -- to beat both Obama and AE.

    I'm not sure I think that theory is sound, but no, it wasn't Paul himself to whom Ostrokowski was referring as a third party candidate posing a strong challenge to Obama. It was presumably AE.

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