Friday, May 13, 2011

Themes versus Facts

Congressman Paul Ryan went through the details of his budget proposal on the Hugh Hewitt Show a few days ago. One of his comments stood out:

And a lot of people just don’t know how messed up the federal budget is, and what it’s going to take to get it under control. A lot of people still believe, and the polls show this, they think Obamacare, you know, lowers health care spending. I mean, so we’ve got a challenge on our hands. The good thing we have with this, Hugh, is the facts.
But isn’t that the crux of the Republican problem? Republicans believe "the facts" will save them.

Maybe a little context is needed.

Yesterday, Mr. Hewitt interviewed Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator Hatch had a rather direct characterization of the Democratic Party:

They play politics very, very tough, they play it well, and they don’t give a damn about what’s right and what’s wrong.
Those are strong words from a person with a lot of political experience. Perhaps we should take note.

Here’s an incident from the other end of the political power spectrum:

Last night, my wife and I watched the movie “Fair Game” starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It’s the story of the Valerie Plame affair, as told by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. Like “The Conspirator,” the movie leaves you with the lingering feeling that Republicans are bad people.

My wife and I debated the format of the film. I brought up the politics of Richard Armitage, the depiction of the Wilsons in Vanity Fair, and the prosecutorial work of Patrick Fitzgerald. I thought I was covering “the facts,” but the theme is what prevailed. The film teaches you that Republicans are bad people, and that’s the impression that dwells with you.

Here’s one more “fact” to keep in mind:

My link to the Butterworths cites their screenplay as being honored by the Writers Guild of America. The Butterworth brothers were the recipients of the 2011 Paul Selvin Award for “written work which embodies the spirit of constitutional rights and civil liberties.”

That’s an institutional award; one that reflects our culture. Can you guess which political group is depicted as being against “constitutional rights and civil liberties?”

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