Friday, February 6, 2015

"Rooting for Failure" Examples: 2012

EXAMPLES AND ANALYSIS: 2012 "Rooting for Failure"
"A gunman whose name we do not need to memorialize took advantage of our gun control laws to slaughter some 20 children and seven adults in a Newton, Connecticut elementary school. In addition to the gunman, blood is on the hands of members of Congress and the Connecticut legislators who voted to ban guns from all schools in Connecticut (and most other states). They are the ones who made it illegal to defend oneself with a gun in a school when that is the only effective way of resisting a gunman. What a lethal, false security are the Gun Free Zone laws. All of our mass murders in the last 20 years have occurred in Gun Free Zones. The two people murdered a couple of days earlier in the shopping center in Oregon were also in a Gun Free Zone. Hopefully the Connecticut tragedy will be the tipping point after which a rising chorus of Americans will demand elimination of the Gun Free Zone laws that are in fact Criminal Safe Zones."
-- Executive Director of Gun Owners of America Larry Pratt, December 15, 2012, referring to the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Comment: Is this politicizing or exploiting the situation? Or even rooting for failure? I don't think so. It's reasonable to respond to a mass shooting by discussing what policies could help prevent such tragedies (which is not to say that Pratt's ideas about what accomplish that goal are correct). It could, however, be argued that Pratt's discussion of gun policy was "too soon". Also, is it really the case that gun control advocates are complicit in murder? Isn't that demonizing, or at least exaggeration?

"We're hearing reports now that up to 20 children may have been shot. It is hopefully -- we say this every single time we cover one of these things -- a line in the sand. There has got to be some kind of measurable change, some kind of reaction. One would hope that there will be some political capital to reform the way in which we handle gun and gun violence in this country."
-- TV pundit Alex Wagner, December 14, 2012, referring to the shooting that day at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Comment: Is this politicizing or exploiting the situation? Or even rooting for failure? I don't think so. It's reasonable to respond to a mass shooting by discussing what policies could help prevent such tragedies (which is not to say that Wagner's ideas about what accomplish that goal are correct). It could, however, be argued that Wagner's discussion of gun policy was "too soon".

"However, the jobs picture really isn't improving. That's why we need to have extend unemployment, because there really aren't new jobs to be had. And the law says that state by state, as the unemployment rate goes below 9%, the extensions end. And for two million Americans, they end four days after Christmas. Did anybody think, again, that that news will be allowed to be made? That two million people lose their unemployment extension benefits four days after Christmas? That story will not be written. That headline will not appear. Now, the Democrats would love for it to. Just to confuse or complicate things a little bit here, the Democrats would love for that headline to be written. The truth is that if two million Americans lost their unemployment benefits and it could be blamed on the Republicans, the Democrats would sign onto that right now."
-- Radio pundit Rush Limbaugh, December 10, 2012.

Comment: Limbaugh is arguing that Democrats would root for failure.

BIDEN: "Look, I don’t doubt [Romney's] personal generosity. … I don’t doubt his personal commitment to individuals. But you know what? I know he had no commitment to the automobile industry. He just -- he said, let it go bankrupt, period. Let it drop out. … And I’ve never met two guys who’re more down on America across the board. We’re told everything’s going bad. … Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility."
-- Vice President Joe Biden, October 11, 2012, during the vice presidential debate in Danville, KY, between Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Comment: Biden is demonizing Romney and Ryan, saying that their failure to support the bailout of GM and Chrysler shows that they don't care about people, and that their criticism of Obama's handling of the economy is the result of not liking America (i.e., "rooting for failure"?). This is unfair. Obama and Biden chose not to bail out many companies and industries, does that prove that they don't care about the people who worked in them? Or is it just that they thought that the money would better serve people by being used for something else? Couldn't we characterize Romney and Ryan's opposition to the GM-Chrysler bailouts the same way? And criticizing Obama's economic record doesn't amount to "being down on America" any more than Biden was "down on America" when he was criticizing President George W. Bush's record on the economy or on Iraq. Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan don't differ because the former care about people while the latter don't (though Biden might like to caricature the disagreement that way); they differ because they disagree about what policies are more effective at doing what's best for people.

BIDEN: "Look, I -- I just -- I mean, these guys bet against America all the time."
-- Vice President Joe Biden, October 11, 2012, during the vice presidential debate in Danville, KY, between Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Comment: This is derisive name-calling. The fact that Republicans like Ryan and Romney have been critical of the Obama administration's foreign policy doesn't mean they're "betting against America". Biden is demonizing Republicans, here, perhaps questioning their patriotism or suggesting that they're rooting for failure.

Limbaugh: Grab audio sound bite number one. This is from the period of March 4th through the 7th, one week ago, and this is the media celebrating the huge opportunity for Obama to win reelection on the so-called Limbaugh issue."
[audio clips play]
Columnist Sally Quinn: Obama has just been given a huge gift by the Republicans, and by the Religious Right, and by Rush Limbaugh!
Columnist LZ Granderson: It's a gift to Democrats! This was a prime opportunity for him to step up as a leader and say, "What Rush Limbaugh said was bad."
CNN Anchor Don Lemon: Is this a gift to Democrats?
CNN Anchor Jack Cafferty: The biggest gift to President Obama? Limbaugh's comments!
CNN Correspondent Jessica Yellin: You know Democrats will say is: How could the President resist this opportunity?
NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw: The more damage is done to the party, the more opportunities there are for the Democrats, like the Rush Limbaugh statements.
TV Pundit Chris Matthews: Over at team Obama, they’re smiling! President Obama's great fortune!
Democratic Strategist Bob Shrum: Obama was the big winner!
[audio clips end]
Limbaugh: Anyway, the president of the NOW gang was speaking to the assembled NAGs at the convention and laughing about what I had done, laughing about what a great "godsend" it was. They're not offended, folks. They're not outraged. They're not upset over the moral depravity of any of it. They're happy. They're clapping their hands. It was a "godsend."
-- From The Rush Limbaugh Show, March 13, 2012.

Comment: Limbaugh is referring to National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terry O'Neill's remarks, in which she called his name-calling a "godsend".

"The work we have ahead of us is not gonna be easy. Right now it really seems like, you know, we've got this godsend named Rush Limbaugh who has, like dropped this thing in our lap, which is just wonderful. But the road ahead is really not gonna be completely rosy. We've got to be very clear on what the challenges are, and very clear about how we can move our own agenda forward in the current political climate."
-- Terry O'Neill, President, National Organization for Women (NOW), March 10, 2012.

Comment: This sounds an awful lot like someone who is happy that someone else got called names, because it's resulting in good news for them electorally. If it's not fair to describe this as "rooting for failure", then I don't see how anything else could be described that way.

"I got a letter last night -- I get these letters, 10 letters every night that I read out of the 40,000 that are sent to me. And at least two of them said, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep my job if gas prices keep on going up so high, because it’s just hard to manage the budget and fill up the tank. A lot of folks are going through tough times as a consequence. Now, some politicians they see this as a political opportunity. I know you’re shocked by that. Last week, the lead story in one newspaper said, “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.” That’s a quote. That was the lead. "Licking their chops." Only in politics do people root for bad news, do they greet bad news so enthusiastically. You pay more; they’re licking their chops."
-- President Barack Obama, February 23, 2012.

Comment: The story Obama is referring to was published by Politico on February 16, 2012. Nowhere in the story does a Republican claim to be glad that gas prices are going up. Only the authors of the story claimed that (about Republicans). Rather, Republicans claimed that they have policies that will do a better job of keeping gas prices low.

George Stephanopoulos: But unemployment is still not as low as you all predicted it would be when President Obama first came in, and according to most projections, it's likely to be the highest for any incumbent president in modern times.
David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama: Well, we'll see where those statistics lack. I think the direction is important here. Governor Romney may be rooting for slips and falls here. We're concentrating on moving this economy forward.
-- ABC News' "This Week", January 8, 2012.

Comment: Axelrod is claiming that Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) wants the economy to do poorly. More likely, Romney simply disagrees about what Obama's policies have done for the economy in the past and what they will do in the future.

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