DO WE HAVE SUFFICIENT DISCERNMENT?

Do we have sufficient discernment to pick the best people to run our nation? The simple answer is no. To begin with, we have too much trouble distinguishing between a con man and an honest man.

What is a con man? The expression is an abbreviation. Here is the more formal term.

confidence man noun

a person who swindles others by means of a confidence game; swindler.

That leads to the next question. What is a confidence game?

confidence game noun

any swindle in which the swindler, after gaining the confidence of the victim, robs the victim by cheating at a gambling game, appropriating funds entrusted for investment, or the like.

The key detail is that the con man must gain the victim’s trust. That is, the con man must  convince his victim that his lies are true. How does a con man do that? He confidently tells us lies that we want to hear. Because the unvarnished truth is less palatable, the honest man usually has a more difficult sell.

With these thoughts in mind, let’s consider a few observations from the Vice Presidential Debate.

What Did They Say?

Below I have provided the video.

Here is the transcript from the Commission on Presidential Debates, and here both a copy of the  transcript and the audio are available.

Why Did They Select Martha Raddatz To Moderate The Debate?

Read ABC News scrambles to downplay Obama’s attendance at VP debate moderator’s wedding.  Here is how the article starts.

President Barack Obama was a guest at the 1991 wedding of ABC senior foreign  correspondent and vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz, The Daily  Caller has learned….

The article goes on to make it clear that Raddatz and Obama have personal ties. Moreover, ABC News is considered a socialist Democrat outfit. Given that, why beg further trouble by selecting Martha Raddatz to moderate the debate? Why did the Romney/Ryan campaign agree to this? That we may never know, but here is the concern. The Federal Government alone spends 4 trillion dollars a year, and the complex mazes we call the federal tax code and federal regulations can radically influence business success. Therefore, our elected officials exercise enormous power and influence. That’s why the struggle to win elected office is so intense, and that’s why we must carefully deliberate over the procedures we use to elect our leaders.

Subtle Partisanship

Consider the difference between these two extracts from the debate.

The following is from the Commission on Presidential Debates’ website.

BIDEN: The court — the next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees. That’s how close Roe v. Wade is. Just ask yourself, with Robert Bork being the chief adviser on the court for — for Mr. Romney, who do you think he’s likely to appoint? Do you think he’s likely to appoint someone like Scalia or someone else on the court far right that would outlaw (inaudible) — outlaw abortion? I suspect that would happen. (from here)

The following is from NPR’s website.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: The court — the next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees. That’s how close Roe v. Wade is.

Just ask yourself: With Robert Bork being the chief adviser on the court for — for Mr. Romney, who do you think he’s likely to appoint? Do you think he’s likely to appoint someone like Scalia or someone else on the court, far right, that would outlaw Planned — excuse me — outlaw abortion? I suspect that would happen. (from here)

Note the differences. What Biden said was clearly audible. Even NPR could not ignore it. So why did difference? Is what actually came out of Biden’s mouth relevant? Consider this editorial, Planned Parenthood’s rebranding scheme. Listen to what Biden said, and form your own opinion.

The Vice President’s Debating Style Versus Ryan’s Substance

During the debate Paul Ryan felt compelled to make this statement.

REP. RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress — (laughter) — to make up for lost ground — (laughter) — but I think people would be better served if we don’t keep interrupting each other. (from here)

Why? During the debate the Vice President constantly interrupted Ryan. At times, Ryan had to speak over Biden’s interruptions. What was that about?

My personal theory is that Biden chose to portray a sin as virtue. When someone exercises their right of free speech and we disagree, we have a choice. We can listen respectfully and then offer a reasoned counter argument, or we can self-righteously try to shut them up. I believe Biden chose the latter course of action.

At the same time, Biden — with all the confidence he could muster — portrayed himself as the guy with the facts. In the debate transcript, some version of the word “fact” occurs 30 times. Biden either used the term “fact” or “facts” 27 times. Ryan used the term “facts” once, and he used the term “factor” twice. Unlike Biden, Ryan seemed content to let the “facts” speak for themselves.

Only one time, apparently worried that anyone might believe otherwise, was Ryan compelled to “assert” the facts.

REP. RYAN: Absolutely. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.

Contemplate the absurdity. Ryan has to assert that Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt? Who is in denial? But isn’t that the problem? Because we have let con men use unconstitutional “welfare” programs to raid our nation’s treasury, our nation is going bankrupt.

Of course, some of the socialist Democrats in the news media enjoyed Biden aggressive performance. Thus, we have this article, In vice presidential debate, Biden puts Ryan on the defensive.

So What’s The Bottom Line?

Listen to the news media.  Whenever we have a debate, this question enthralls them: who won? Thus, they want to know (and to tell us): did Ryan or Biden win the debate?

Is who won really the issue? Shouldn’t we care more about how much we can trust a candidate to run our country. Therefore, when you listen to a debate, I suggest the following. Ask yourself these questions.

  • Which candidate best understands the need for constitutional, limited government?
  • Which candidate calmly lets the facts speak for themselves?
  • Which candidate displays the most confidence in our ability to run our own lives?

When government officials demand more power, that power must inevitably come at the expense of the People.

10 thoughts on “DO WE HAVE SUFFICIENT DISCERNMENT?

  1. I’ve seen leftists in blogs repeat Biden’s “no abortions” assertion uncritically. Perhaps they believe it, at least for the moment, as it accomplishes their purposes. “To that end, the truth must bend.”

    I certainly share your concern about a Biden presidency. But Biden is far from the benign bumbler that the media portrays (evidently for Obama’s protection). He has a history of extraordinarily bad judgment (and malicious intent) in issues that are planned activities, and not gaffes. Ah… I see that one issue (Biden selling out Jews in negotiations with the Soviets) has received a bit broader play in recent years:
    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/09/soviet-document-shows-biden-sold-out-human-rights-concerns/

    Such a man has worked, and will work, in the background in ways far from benign. Of course, he’d still be an improvement over Barack Obama, but this is too low a bar.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  2. Very well written, sir. And I had not caught the transcript discrepancy; I had looked for and linked one without vetting it.

    I would agree that we are not strong in discerning the best choice — an issue compounded by the fact that the best choice is really not on offer. Many who would do an extraordinary job leading the country are not available, by dint of oddities of background or by personal choice. But the alternative — that this choice is somehow to be made for us — appeals even less.

    Right now the conceit of the progressive media outlets is that only Fox News is biased; I think that, particularly with NBC’s advance of “Lean Forward” (and Microsoft’s abandoning them as a result) the biases are becoming more blatant with time. That, perhaps, will help. I hope so.

    I have a good friend who is conservative, despite watching CBS/NBC/ABC every night; a lot of what he believes to be true simply is not. But he’s wound up conservative anyway, which is a good thing and somewhat surprising. It’s hard to fault many of those average folks supporting Obama, considering what they are fed in place of news. Not discerning … but quite disturbing.

    The differences between Biden and Ryan are stark. I’d written recently about Biden’s “didn’t vote for the wars” lie — astounding considering his championing of those causes. But your analysis is thoughtful, and goes to subtleties that are very much worth considering.

    I enjoyed it. Thank you, my friend.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    1. Keith — Thank you for the praise and your own observations. As usual, it is both informative and a pleasure to read your comments.

      When I heard Biden start to say “Planned Parenthood,” I wondered how that gaffe would be recorded. When he explained how his Catholic faith informs his social doctrine, I think most commentators decided to overlook the gaffe in favor of his more plainly intended statement. That left something for me to investigate, and one observation led to another.

      What is hilarious is what Biden has since said.
      http://www.lifenews.com/2012/10/12/joe-biden-under-law-planned-parenthood-cant-perform-abortions/
      http://www.greeleygazette.com/press/?p=21236

      Newsbusters noted that the networks ignored Biden’s latest gaffe.
      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2012/10/12/nets-punt-bidens-planned-parenthood-cannot-perform-any-abortions-gaff

      After a fashion, the news media’s reaction to Biden’s gaffes almost makes sense. That man has bitten so many dogs (i.e., committed so many gaffes) that they are not very news worthy — just sadly comical. Can you imagine Biden as president. In the interest of national security — to prevent him from accidentally starting WWIII — DoD would have to tape his mouth shut.

      1. “Can you imagine Biden as president. In the interest of national security — to prevent him from accidentally starting WWIII — DoD would have to tape his mouth shut.”
        A noteworthy quote… LOL Thanks, Tom.

  3. Wow… I lie awake nights, worrying myself sick that if Mitt Romney gets elected he might appoint more justices like Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court.

    Sorry, Joe, but if you’re trying to scare me, you’re going to have to do better than that.

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