May 3, 2009

From the GOP's National Council for a New America town hall meeting with Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney. The questioner has obviously been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. He managed to cram in almost every right wing anti-Obama talking point that's out there in a matter of just a minute or so. He also apparently thinks that listening to right wing radio is a substitute for...going to school.

Q: I have another question on education and kind of to disagree with what you said Gov. Bush. I really think the past is important and I think we do emphasize science and math over liberal arts like history and I'm looking at Barack Obama who is basically the hippie flower child of Saul Alinsky who's a long dead hippie. And I guess like, yes math and science are important but what does it matter if you have highly productive people who, because they have no grasp of what's happened in the past, they're willing to let people who are going to create a marginal tax rate of 60 or 70%, I mean they're, is it surprising that Barack Obama was elected and he goes around apologizing in every country he goes to, when people are spoon fed years in high school and college of anti-American history? I mean quite honestly I think people learn more from listening to Rush Limbaugh's show than they do in high school and college. And do you have a response?

Bush: Well the context that I was talking about the past was really candidates running for office that have a kind of a nostalgic view of the world. That's a perilous thing and I think to President Obama, candidate Obama's credit he waged a 2008 campaign that was relevant for people's aspirations whether you agree with him or not. It was not a look back. It was a look forward and so our ideas need to be forward looking and relevant. I felt like there was a lot of nostalgia for the good old days in the messaging and, you know, it's great, it doesn't draw people towards your cause.


I do agree with you that just as it's important to have a civil debate, a dialog about issues, it's okay to talk about history as well and in fact if you haven't read the book about the times that are going on now the best book to read about what's happening now is probably The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes which describes how the government tried to deal with the Depression. And to get to this point of tinkering and challenging and changing and creating so much uncertainty that it created a void that only government could fill and the private sector froze in place and it prolonged the Depression. And I think there is a lesson in history in that regard.

I love how these history revisionists always want to have a "civil" debate about topics where they're just dead wrong.

Here's how CNN reported in this: Republicans kick off campaign to shine party image.

Three prominent GOP leaders kicked off a campaign Saturday to reshape their party's image, gathering at a restaurant in northern Virginia for the first of a series of town hall meetings.

The goal of the initiative, called the National Council for a New America, is to connect Republican leaders with voters across the country to help get the party's electoral fortunes back on track.

"Certainly our party has taken its licks the last few cycles, but that's why we're here," House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said Saturday. "The reality is, the prescriptions coming out of Washington right now are not reflective of the mainstream of this country."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said it's time for Republicans "to listen a little bit, learn a little bit." He advised Republicans to work on the party's message and "not be so nostalgic."

"I would say you can't beat something with nothing. The other side has something. I don't like it, but they have it," said Bush, who praised President Obama's tactical approach to politics and commended his 2008 campaign as "forward-looking."

They forgot to mention the guy who said we could learn more from listening to Rush Limbaugh than we could in high school and college being told to read Amity Shlaes by Gov. Bush. I wonder how the press would have handled this had the shoes been reversed. Let's say this was a Democratic town hall. And let's say the questioner said that you could learn more by listening to Air America than you could by going to high school and college. Then the response does not challenge or address at all the questioners statement and instead is to go read Noam Chomsky to learn more about history. Does anyone else here think that if that happened they'd have been cutting in with "Breaking News!!!!". Democrats say you can learn more by listening to Air America than you can in school!!! Flashing headlines. Days on end of asking every Democrat they can get on the air if they agree with what the person said.

A Republican says something this ridiculous about Rush Limbaugh and they aren't challenged by our ex-President's brother...not a peep. Didn't even mention it in their article on line.

As to Bush's history revisionism in recommending Amity Shlaes, from Oliver Willis: Amity Shlaes “The Forgotten Man” Is A Farce.

Johnathan Chait nails it

Now here is the extremely strange thing about The Forgotten Man: it does not really argue that the New Deal failed. In fact, Shlaes does not make any actual argument at all, though she does venture some bold claims, which she both fails to substantiate and contradicts elsewhere. Reviewing her book in The New York Times, David Leonhardt noted that Shlaes makes her arguments ‘mostly by implication.’ This is putting it kindly. Shlaes introduces the book by asserting her thesis, but she barely even tries to demonstrate it. Instead she chooses to fill nearly four hundred pages with stories that mostly go nowhere. The experience of reading The Forgotten Man is more like talking to an old person who lived through the Depression than it is like reading an actual history of the Depression. Major events get cursory treatment while minor characters, such as an idiosyncratic black preacher or the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, receive lengthy portraits. Having been prepared for a revisionist argument against the New Deal, I kept wondering if I had picked up the wrong book.

Here you have it folks. The "new" face of the Republican party. Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor and Mittens having town halls with ditto heads to get their ideas on how to save the party. Good luck with that guys. The audience clapped after the ditto head asked his question. Reminds me of those book burners at the tea bag parties. I'm sure we're going to have many more of these moments to come as they continue this tour and come face to face with the extremists in their party attending them. Pass the popcorn folks.

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