Dylan Matthews over at WonkBlog has a very good article looking at the current crop of Presidential campaign ads. One is the Americans for Prosperity “Has President Obama Earned Your Vote?” ad:
Matthews correctly notes:
The deficit critic in the ad continues, “I’ve seen zero interest in reducing spending. He inherited a bad situation, but he made it worse.” Again, on both deficits and jobs there has been improvement. Not just that, but federal spending as a percentage of GDP fell from 25.2 percent in 2009 to 24.1 percent last year, and Obama released a plan to reduce spending still further, cutting the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years. Obama has certainly shown greater than zero interest in reducing spending.
While this is all true, what is most interesting is the line, “He inherited a bad situation, but he made it worse.” This is an exact quote from Romney’s stump speech. You would think if Americans for Prosperity wanted to put together an ad showing former Obama supporters who have changed their minds, they would put words in their mouths that are different from the words in Romney’s mouth.
I have been known to tease a fellow blogger or two, but there is really only one writer who makes me truly mad, and that is British historian Niall Ferguson. I will explain exactly why he makes me so mad at the end of this post. First, though, I want to say a few words about Mr. Ferguson’s cover story in Newsweek magazine, entitled “Hit the Road, Barack”. I should note that it imposes a heavy psychic cost for me to do so, since it requires that I actually read Niall Ferguson. But the public duty to expose BS and promote truth and intellectual honesty overrides such selfish concerns.
Niall Ferguson is an intellectual fraud whose job, for years, has been to impress dumb rich Americans with his accent and flatter them with his writings. It’s a pretty easy con, honestly, if you’re born shameless and British (or French). His main argument is that Western Civilization as embodied by the British Empire is awesome and wonderful even though it traditionally involved quite a bit of killing and enslaving of non-Westerners. Since becoming an insufferable American political commentator he’s decided that America needs to cut Medicare and spend the savings on fighting neo-imperialist wars with an army made up of “the illegal immigrants, the jobless and the convicts.” (Also he sued the London Review of Books for publishing this devastating review of his career.)