Thursday, April 14, 2016

Whatever it takes to win means ... hyperbole

Back in 2000, it was tiring to listen to Al Gore talk in great detail about each and every policy.  It was clear that the man knew policy, but being intellectually capable and having a firm grip on the details is not what wins elections.  Which is why Bush won, despite his goofy "what, me worry?" approach to everything.

This time around, Hillary Clinton plays that policy detail game to a lot more boring detail than Gore did.  The Republican candidates couldn't care about policies.  And then there is Bernie Sanders.  His stump speeches are great, no doubt.  But, he ain't the candidate that Obama was back in 2008.  Obama could become professorial and lecture about policies too.  Sanders flubs.  And there is one person who is really ticked off: Jeffrey R. Immelt, who is the big boss at General Electric (GE).  Immelt is pissed off at Sanders for his propagandaish GE is “destroying the moral fabric” of America demagoguery:
GE has been in business for 124 years, and we’ve never been a big hit with socialists. We create wealth and jobs, instead of just calling for them in speeches. We take risks, invest, innovate and produce in ways that today sustain 125,000 U.S. jobs. Our engineers innovate every day to build hardware and software solutions that meet real-world challenges. Our employees are proud of our company. I meet second- and third-generation employees whenever I travel across the country. I am one myself. Our suppliers and partners are proud of our company. Our communities are proud of our company. Our pride, history and hard work are real — the moral fabric of America.
Sanders' hyperbole on GE versus Immelt's evidence-based rebuttal.  You think that the "feel the Bern" fans care about evidence?

Immelt continues:
The senator has never bothered to stop by our aviation plant in Rutland, Vt. We’ve been investing heavily (some $100 million in recent years), hiring and turning out some of the world’s finest jet-engine components in Vermont since the 1950s. The plant employs more than 1,000 people who are very good at what they do. It’s a picture of first-rate jobs with high wages, advanced manufacturing in a vital industry — how things look when American workers are competing and winning — and Vermont’s junior senator is always welcome to come by for a tour.
Burn!  (get the pun? hehe)

Sanders refuted this and claimed that he has been there.  The fact-checkers got on to it:
As a factual matter, Sanders clearly has not visited the plant or taken a tour since he became senator nine years ago. Sanders bluntly accused Immelt of “not telling the truth,” saying he had visited the plant “years ago.” But that sidesteps the point that Immelt was making — that the company has invested tens of millions of dollars to modernize the facility and yet Sanders has not bothered to see the improvements. His posture stands in contrast to other members of the Vermont delegation who have been repeat visitors to the facility during Sanders’s Senate tenure.
In bluntly dismissing Immelt’s statement as a lie, Sanders misleadingly led viewers to believe he had an open-and-shut case. But the reality is more complex.
"misleadingly led viewers to believe" is what this election is all about.  It was what the elections in 2000 and 2004 were also about.  Come to think of it, we should be surprised that two eggheads with a fine grasp of details--Bill Clinton and Barack Obama--managed to not only win but even get re-elected!

What pisses me--keep in mind that unlike the frequent commenter/debater here, I am no rah-rah GE fanatic--is that Sanders criticizes that GE is destroying the moral fabric of America and then turns around and gives the most evil corporation a pass in his interview with the NY Daily News:
Daily News: For example, in corporate America, Apple happens to be celebrating, today, its 40th birthday. It's a company that grew from nothing to 115,000 permanent employees. And I'm wondering, is Apple destroying the fabric of America?
Bernie Sanders: No, Apple is not destroying the fabric of America. But I do wish they'd be manufacturing some of their devices, here, in the United States rather than in China. And I do wish that they would not be trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Of course, exactly like what any liberal would!  WTF!

With every passing day, the American presidential campaign is becoming a farce that can compete against the farcical political theatre that I witnessed back in the home state in the old country.  The theatrics were far better there thanks to the explicit roots in the entertainment industry!  Surely America can do better than this!



Mike Hoth said...

The trouble with being POTUS is that only the wealthy can run, and only the foolish choose to enter the circus that is the US presidential election. That's how we end up with five clowns (Is O'Malley still running? Make it six clowns if so) who all think they're lion-tamers. And I thought last election gave me a lot of candidates I didn't want to vote for!

Sriram Khé said...

For now, only five, which makes your job easy ;)
Are you not entertained?

Ramesh said...

This is the same problem everywhere in the world. Almost no voter wants to make a careful evaluation of policy and choices. The attention span of any voter is below any know definition of a unit of time. Hyperbole and scaremongering gets far more votes than even the most sensible and easy of policies.

As I have argued before, the doesn't greatly affect the US. The President, if you will pardon the bluntness, is of little consequence to the US in a positive sense. Your system of checks and balances has resulted in total gridlock. Virtually nobody can achieve anything if the underlying philosophy of both parties is "Hell No".

The debate you really ought to be having is the need to change, at least slightly, the balance between Congress, the Executive and the Judiciary.

My My, has the sun risen in the west ??? This blog has a positive word to say of GE ........

Sriram Khé said...

"This blog has a positive word to say of GE"
I am surprised that you are surprised ... when have I not given credit when credit is due? Right?

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