Washington State U.S. House Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers kicked off the carnival with one of the Republicans’ favorite new lies:
Good evening ladies and gentleman. Thank you. My name is Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and I am proud to represent eastern Washington in Congress.
Tonight, we’re going to do things a little differently. I have the pleasure of being your host for the night guiding you through the next few hours.
I’m delighted to report that we have a wonderful lineup for you. Each speaker will be joining together to send a message to President Obama. And that message is three simple words: We built it.
Yes, remember about a month ago when President Obama said to business owners, “You didn’t build that!” And all the Republicans at Fox News and all the idiots that watch them heard that four-word statement and completely ignored everything Obama said before and after it. He was of course was using “that” to refer to infrastructure: roads, bridges, schools, fire departments, police departments, the internet - all things that federal and state governments either funded or continue to run so that we have a solid platform in place that entrepreneurs can count on to be there for them when they start their businesses.
Just in case you missed the story, here’s what Obama said:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
(This segment from The Daily Show covers the lies about what he said better than any other story I’ve seen or read.)
Representative McMorris Rodgers went on to say: “Before I ran for office I worked in my family’s business, the Peach Crest Fruit Basket, for 13 years. I worked hard every day, and I can assure you that my family built that business from the ground up.”
Well maybe her family built the main house and the farm house, and maybe they planted some trees and built a stand to hawk their fruit, but they didn’t build the roads in Kettle Falls, WA, and they didn’t build the state highway that provides a route to and from their town and connects it to the interstate highway system. Nor did they build the schools that provided her with an education, or design and build the irrigation system that supplied their orchards with water, or the phone lines and internet that connected them with buyers of their fruit.
That’s all obvious to anyone with a minimal education, but not to a Republican. That’s why Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post gave McMorris Rodgers and the whole RNC theme “We Built That” FOUR Pinocchios. He had originally given the Romney campaign three Pinocchios, but because they chose to use such an obvious lie as the theme for their carnival, he added another one.
So that was the opening lie. There were many lies to follow, via Krugman:
The claim that Obama has gutted Medicare to pay for the expansion of health insurance — which isn’t true.
The claim that Obama has eliminated the work requirement for welfare — which isn’t true.
The claim that Ryan has a plan to balance the budget — which isn’t true.
The claim that Romney has a plan for economic recovery — which isn’t true. (The Economist: “The Romney Programme for Economic Recovery, Growth and Jobs” is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the sex).
There will be more carnival barkers appearing at the convention tonight, including the greatest charlatan of them all, Paul Ryan. He has a very serious plan alright – a plan that gives huge tax cuts to the rich, increases taxes on the middle class, cuts benefits for the needy, and adds trillions of dollars to the federal debt over a ten-year period.