True, False or Just Plain Dumb?

Official photographic portrait of US President...

(Wikipedia)

As you may well know, the Obama team put out a 17 minute film in March titled The Road We’ve Traveled narrated by Tom Hanks.  The film puts everything Obama did in his first term in the best light possible, leaving out “inconvenient truths”  (the director earned an Academy Award for that one, by the way.)

Asked why the film avoids many of the controversial aspects of the administration, producer/director Davis Guggenheim told ABC News that the audience doesn’t expect to see the negatives from Obama’s first term.

“It’s a campaign film and I think people who watch it understand where it’s coming from,” he said.

Excuse me, but I don’t.

Tom Hanks at a ceremony for George Harrison to...

( Wikipedia)

I like Obama and believe, as Hanks stated in the film:  “Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president.”   Hey, that’s why I give Obama so much slack, and think he has done a good job under nearly impossible circumstances.  Not great, but what do you expect from a short term Senator, law professor and community organizer?   I’d say he’s got a lot better executive credentials now.   And,  I think he can learn from his mistakes.  …I still have a little audacity of hope.   And look at the competition.

So, you know which corner I’m in, but I still don’t get the film.   I see it as a gift to the Republicans, a big old pinata plastered with Obama’s face, something they continue to whap around.   Oddly, for once truth is on their side.

As FactCheck.org summarized:  the film “…. casts the president, not surprisingly, in the best light. But the 17-minute video lacks context and takes liberties with some facts on health care and the auto bailout.”    Glenn Kessler, the Fact Checker at the Washington Post wrote that the film presented:  “A misleading account of Obama’s mother and her insurance dispute…” which was used to humanize his health care plan.  And other fact checkers wrote similar things.

Here is the problem to me.  It is so easy to find misleading statements in the film that some of Obama’s real successes get dismissed by the ease of opposition criticism, like the revival of the auto industry.  In the film Hanks states:   “With business booming, (GM and Chrysler) repaid their loans.”   While that is technically true, it is misleading enough to be dubbed false.

GM and Chrysler were turned into New GM and New Chrysler through the process and it is only the loans to the new companies which have been paid back.   That was only a small fraction of the money the government ponied up.  Treasury is still on the hook for billions, but much of those billions is in stock, which can be sold some day to recoup more ……  Anyway, this is so complicated I’ve established a separate page to try to sort it out.  Click Auto Bailout.

Here’s the bottom line.  About $80 billion was “infused” into the auto industry and about $40 billion of that has been recouped by Treasury.  But “we” own lots of stock in the new GM and its former finance company, now called Ally, so in the end, the auto bailout might cost us taxpayers $14 billion or a few billion more.

That’s the real issue.  Was that $14 billion well spent.  Well, it seemed to save a 1,000,000 jobs at a critical economic moment and, though Ford wasn’t a direct beneficiary of it (it was of some other funds), it’s CEO, Alan Mulally, was in favor of the bailout as their own suppliers would be badly hurt if the other companies went down, triggering a domino effect.

It seems to me a strong case can be made in favor of the bailout, but it gets lost in these silly sidebars, in this case one provided by the Democrats themselves.

So, tell me again why that film was a good idea.   Aren’t you trying to get independents and maybe some Republicans who find Mitt even harder to swallow than Barack to come on board?  Do you think propaganda will swing the undecideds your way?   Especially with the Republican War Room dissecting every misleading statement or portrayal in that film and serving each bit on a platter to one news organization or another.  It’s like you tossed hand grenades at them, and then they took out the pins and are throwing them back.

Just Google around some and see the hay the Republicans have been reaping from this.  You can start with a recent editorial in the San Diego Union titled:  A Barrage of Dishonesty on GM.

That’s one hand grenade coming back at you.

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2 responses to “True, False or Just Plain Dumb?

  1. I think many progressives are disappointed with Obama’s relationship with Wall Street and big business.

    I found this interesting recap of a Newsweek article on Salon.com, reporting among other things that President Obama recieved more donations from Bain Capital employees than Governor Romney.

    Quote from Salon.com: “The (Newsweek) article goes on to detail the pressure that was continuously placed by the Obama administration on state attorneys general to agree to a lax settlement with banks regarding foreclosure fraud, and how they ultimately co-opted the holdouts to agree to the deal. It notes that while Obama, through last fall, “had collected more donations from Wall Street than any of the Republican candidates” (even “employees of Bain Capital donated more than twice as much to Obama as they did to Romney, who founded the firm”)”

    Here is the link: http://www.salon.com/2012/05/10/wall_streets_immunity/singleton/

    • The Obama administration doesn’t seem to have done all that much to curb the excesses of Wall Street, but curiously, apparently enough to significantly reduce the amount of money Wall Street is contributing to his campaign. I looked up the Salon article and checked to find it’s author, Glenn Greenwald, is a trenchant critic of the actions of both parties, especially the use of presidential powers, and I thank you for pointing him out. The question I would pose is: Do you think Romney would be any harsher on Wall Street than Obama? I’d say I doubt it, but then would have to say: I don’t know. That’s my problem with Mitt. He seems willing to say anything that an audience wants to hear, and I have almost no idea what he would actually do.

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