Reader Commentary: The GOP's politics of dishonesty, distraction

^ Posted Aug. 9

By Andy Schmookler

In almost every campaign speech, I say the real battle in American politics is not about liberal vs. conservative but about honest vs. dishonest. Bob Goodlatte's recent visit to Staunton illustrates that perfectly.

Mr. Goodlatte called a press conference to declare stoutly that yes, people do build their businesses. Following the Republican script, Mr. Goodlatte expressed his disagreement with what he knew President Obama had not said in his speech in Roanoke.

Despite the president's awkward phrasing that Republicans quoted out of context, he clearly never meant to deny an individual's role in creating a successful business. Just a few sentences later, the president said explicitly, "when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative," then adding, "but also because we do things together."

His point was that we all - even, or perhaps especially, the most successful -- owe a lot to our country and to the things that we have created together as a people. We should therefore be willing to contribute our fair share in return.

We have a very good reason to know that the president did not mean what Goodlatte and other Republicans pretend that he meant. No American politician, no matter what he believed, would ever say that. In America, for a politician to deny the achievement of our entrepreneurs is as unthinkable as coming out against motherhood. Whatever else he is, President Obama is an American politician and he is no fool.

Mr. Goodlatte's Staunton press conference is an example of the politics of dishonesty and distraction. It's dishonesty because he tried to get people to believe what he himself knows is false. It's distraction because he tried to fix our attention on a phony issue and away from his failure to address our real challenges.

This has been a do-nothing Congress because that's what Bob Goodlatte and his Republican colleagues wanted. Even before Barack Obama was inaugurated, Republicans in Congress decided that they would do everything they could to make him fail. We know because they said so publicly.

To make the president fail in a time of economic crisis means making the country fail - and hurting tens of millions of Americans. The Republicans were, and are, willing to sacrifice the good of the nation for partisan advantage

The 6th District deserves better. We deserve a representative who won't try to deceive us and won't put partisan ambitions ahead of taking care of the people's business.

Andy Schmookler is the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District.


Goodlatte is a shameless panderer and bottomfeeder. He loves his job because it doesn't actually require him to do anything constructive. He can maintain by blocking any action on issues of substance and getting puffed-up about completely symbolic issues AND symbolic votes. The man simply never fails to fail.

Bla,Bla,Bla.....Bla.......Bla, I never read so much crap in my life. If Obama meant to say what he said, why would Schmookler have to interpret it for him and then turn right around and condemn Goodlatte for doing the same thing. What a hypocrite. Either it's up for interpretation or it's not.

Mr. Schmookler was left to interpret what Obama said because immediately the GOP media took one sentence from a speech and said 100 times a day since, that Obama didn't really mean what he said, he meant what we say he meant. Like good little sheep, the lie is then told as far and wide as possible.

The part of Mr. Schmookler's letter "To make the president fail in a time of economic crisis means making the country fail - and hurting tens of millions of Americans. The Republicans were, and are, willing to sacrifice the good of the nation for partisan advantage"

That is rock solid truth. No matter what your party, an elected official is elected for the good of the NATION. Not the good of the party.

Whaaa......WHAT? "Obama really didn't mean what he said, he meant what we said he meant." Isn't that what Schmookler is implying as well, Katybug? If the Democratic hacks have to explain what he meant then I would say it's open to all for interpretation.

By the way. The President is the only one that can make the President fail.

"There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

"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. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

"So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the G.I. Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together."

THAT is what he said.

Thanks for putting the quote up Katybug, but reading a transcript does not tell the whole story. If you watch the speech you will see that Obama went off teleprompter (the speech written for him) in the first two paragraphs, after the M Dash, you get his own words...what he thinks. He does not believe in individual exceptionalism...everytime he speaks for himself he makes that very clear. ...the last two paragraphs obvious go with the teleprompter speech that was written for him by a very good speech writer.

Like him or hate him every fiber of Obama's being is the antithesis of individual greatness. He believes big government is the answer to all problems.

Sorry Kim but that is bullshxt

Obama was without teleprompter, which in turn prompted a slew of "return of the prompter" stories. (google-able)

I have no idea where you got that particular twist to what actually happened, but it just isn't true.

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