Our political Quote of the Day gives us one more strand in the heaping-plate-of-spaghetti-of-hyocrisy called American partisan politics, where the accuracy of an assertion is not what matters. What matters is that you pick up something that can be repeated, and exaggerated and cherry picked but try to forget or deny or not mention what you yourself said. Via First Read, here’s presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney talking to Olympians in 2002. Keep in mind that Romney has seized on an out-of-context part of one of President Barack Obama’s speeches to say Obama believes no businessmen got where they are soley on their own efforts.
“You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right! [pumps fist].”
In full context, Romney, of course, also praised the Olympians’ efforts – right before he made his “you didn’t get here solely on your own” remark.
“Tonight we cheer the Olympians, who only yesterday were children themselves,” Romney said. “As we watch them over the next 16 days, we affirm that our aspirations, and those of our children and grandchildren, can become reality. We salute you Olympians – both because you dreamed and because you paid the price to make your dreams real. You guys pushed yourself, drove yourself, sacrificed, trained and competed time and again at winning and losing.”
First Read notes:
Mitt Romney has criticized President Obama for his “you didn’t build that line,” when it came to businesses. The president was making an “it takes a village” argument, which the Romney campaign and conservatives have roundly panned.
But in 2002, during his speech at the Opening Ceremonies at the Winter Olympics — the games in which Romney was lauded for turning around the management of the event — Romney made a similar argument about Olympians.
But accuracy, schmaccuracy, and holding politicians (particularly Mitt Romney) accountable for past assertions, what does that matter? The point is political attack and repeating political mantras.
And, in fact, I personally can say this:
–In my incarnation as a freelance journalist living and writing in India and Spain in the 70s, I didn’t get there alone.
–When I was staff writer on newspapers owned by Knight Ridder and the Copley Press, I hadn’t gotten there alone. Would they have hired me without a resume, solid references and good clips?
–In my college career and high school, I didn’t get there alone.
–In my entertainment career, I didn’t get there alone.
–In the values I adhere to in my interactions with friends, relatives, families, and my wondeful Internet friends and readers, I didn’t get here alone. Was I just born with these values and not influenced by others?
–As I sit in my condo in San Diego, I didn’t get here alone.
–My father who ran a business with my two uncles that had been his father’s, and who put in so many hours and hours talking to and wooing clients, he didn’t get there alone.
–My grandparents who fled Russia at the turn of the country or left Poland, when they arrived on the boat and as they built their family life and businesses here, they didn’t do it alone.
So it’s a great sound bite to take something and use part of it to try and demonize someone — Republican or Democratic — but, in fact, if we all look at our lives, very few of us have gotten here totally alone.
As my 18 year old cat jumps on my computer keys as I write this, she didn’t get here alone.
But don’t bother telling her that.
No matter what fact you throw at her, she just wants to jump and won’t change her mind.
Just like some partisans.