published Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Barrett: Sorry, ‘fact checkers,’ but Obama did label America lazy

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has had some game-losing fumbles, but his campaign ad faulting Barack Obama’s remark about “lazy” America isn’t among them.

Put simply: Yes, Obama did say that American laziness is keeping foreign nations from investing here. And self-styled “fact checkers” who suggest Perry lied are wrong.

Here is the question Obama got during a conference in Honolulu:

Interviewer: “I think one related question, looking at the world from the Chinese side, is what they would characterize as impediments to investment in the United States. And so that discussion I’m sure will be part of whatever dialogue you have. And so how are you thinking about that?”

Obama replied: “Well, this is an issue, generally. I think it’s important to remember that the United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world. And there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity — our stability, our openness, our innovative free-market culture.”

Pause right there. If you read nothing more of his response and were asked, “Whom is he talking about when he refers to ‘our stability, our openness, our innovative free-market culture?’ ” what would you say? He patently means the United States as a whole, and thus the American people who make up this country. There is no other rational interpretation. And since he’s being complimentary, the fact checkers don’t suggest otherwise.

But to whom — other than the United States and Americans — could the “we” in his very next sentences possibly refer? “But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades,” he said. “We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here, and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.”

He obviously doesn’t mean the Belgian Kennel Club or the Tasmanian Air Force. He means Americans. He couldn’t mean anyone else. Only further into his response, once he caught himself and realized what he had said, did he offer some filigree about “outstanding U.S. workers.”

So Perry hit him, and the excuse-making for Obama promptly began at the theoretically nonpartisan “fact-checking” organizations. It included one particularly laughable rationalization from PolitiFact.com, whose “Truth-O-Meter” labeled Perry’s ad “mostly false.”

“Looking at the context, we found that Obama wasn’t characterizing the American public at large. He could have been talking about U.S. corporate practices or even his own administration,” PolitiFact argues.

Baloney.

Obama’s own words prove he wasn’t talking about his administration. He says the purported loafing has taken place “over the last couple of decades.” Even if PolitiFact thinks history didn’t begin until Obama took office, it must realize he has been in the White House only three years (though admittedly it seems far longer). Moreover, he boasts in the same interview that his administration created an investment-drawing program to mend the disappointing idleness he sees around him.

And PolitiFact engages, by its tacit admission, in speculation by claiming that Obama “could have been talking about U.S. corporate practices.” He could have been talking about rampaging marmots, too, but he didn’t give any indication of it, moving seamlessly, as he did, from a discourse on America and Americans to a scolding on shiftlessness.

An outfit by the name of FactCheck.org also got it wrong, while demonstrating a knack for making a distinction where no difference exists. The president “actually referred to collective efforts to promote foreign investment in the U.S., and not to American workers or voters as individuals,” a FactCheck writer claims.

OK, so he thinks we’re slackers “collectively.” But collectively or individually, he can still be referring only to America and Americans.

But why let real facts, much less good judgment, spoil the fun? In 2009, PolitiFact went on CNN to discuss its analysis of — I kid you not — a skit on “Saturday Night Live” that spoofed Obama’s lack of accomplishments. The point-by-point study, whose touchiness was punctuated by a transparently bogus “just for fun” disclaimer, gave every assurance that Obama wasn’t an underachiever — you know, to all us folks who make such determinations based on drab late-night comedy routines.

Not to be outdone, CNN’s Wolfman Blitzerberger pondered: “How should this White House deal with ... a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit like this? Do they just ignore it or do they deal with it?”

Wish somebody had asked CNN that.

Oh wait! Somebody did! Democrat Paul Begala was mystified after witnessing so freakishly partisan an attempt to ensure that never a discouraging word about Obama goes unchallenged: “I thought it was amusing that we actually went to people to fact check a comedy sketch,” he said.

James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal later summed it up: “It’s as if CNN and the St. Petersburg Times [which operates PolitiFact] are trying to reinforce the impression that they are in the tank for Obama.”

They don’t have to try hard.

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Rickaroo said...

Hard up for material this week, Barrett? What a non-issue! Leave it to you, with your mind so bent out of shape with extremist right wing lunacy, to interpret his remark in the way you claim. If you have to expend so much time and effort breaking down his sentences and words to get at the GIST of what you THINK he MIGHT have been INFERRING, then there's a good chance you don't really have much of a story worth writing about in the first place. You know friggin' well he was not criticizing the average American but speaking about corporate and administrative practices and policies in general. Midway through your perfidious pontificating, you use a word that describes your entire editorial perfectly: "Baloney."

December 11, 2011 at 1:17 a.m.
tipper said...

I must admit that I couldn't get through all of your column, Steve. I stopped when I realized there was nothing trhere to read. They actually pay you at the TFP ti writew this stuff? Wow! How do I get a job like that! I wonder how long it takes you to...zzzzzzzzzzzzz

December 11, 2011 at 6:25 a.m.

Wow I have never seen so many words that absolutely say nothing. It must have taken you months to be able to get that finished.

December 11, 2011 at 8:57 a.m.
tipper said...

Sorry JonRoss. It's not about defending or questioning anyone. It's about so-called journalists grasping to find something worthwhile to write about when we have so many problems in this country. Truth is, the"righties" couldn't accept a fact if it walked up and slapped them in the face. And as far as Barrett goes, he just likes to tweek "sane people's" nosehairs to get a rise. It's a shame that the TFP doesn't have a point-counter-point writer to balance that fringie out. Get some guts TFP editors. And as far as you are concerned JonRoss, you are part of this country's problem, not the solution.

December 11, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
conservative said...

Well done! The arrogance of these lieberal "fact checkers" (an obvious oxymoron) in determing truth is laughable. A rat can get through the smallest of holes. By parsing Obamination's words you sealed the holes of escape and trapped the rat.

December 11, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.
tipper said...

Clever Conservative. If you could just change over to the correct political philosophy, you could give Barrett a run for his money. You have such a way with words.

December 11, 2011 at 2:20 p.m.
Livn4life said...

Back and forth we go, left versus right versus claimed middle grounders. Meanwhile, the country continues on a downward slide. Rights say it's all the left's fault. Left just blames everyone but anyone who even has an inkling of liberal in him or her. I would laugh at it all as we switch parties and nothing of substance really changes. But it is more sad than funny. And the beat goes on. I just do not know how much longer our nation can hold up under the pressure. But the railing, finger pointing and vitriol spewed at each of the poles just continues. No one in the foreseeable future will do anything of substance to turn this nation around. But a lot of time, energy and effort will be spent discrediting the other side.

December 11, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
Lr103 said...

Barret and his right wingnuts still desparately grasping and latching onto anything no matter how lunaticLISH they prove themselves to be.

They should all rename themselves the WE-HATE-OBAMA-CLUB-NO-MATTER-WHAT-HE-DOES-&-WE-AIM-TO-DESTROY-HIM-EVEN-IF-IT-MEANS-DESTROYING-AMERICA-&-AMERICANS-N-DA-PROCESS!!

And these are suppose to represent America's Christian conservatives? No wonder christianity has become a dying breed in America. So much hate. So many lies.

December 11, 2011 at 4:58 p.m.
conservative said...

One can only accept or reject the truth. Truth can not be refuted, therefore lieberals must change the subject, lie, attack the person, construct a strawman arguement or respond with gibberish. NOTICE, none refuted Mr. Barrett.

December 11, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.
brokentoe said...

Obama didn't say Americans are lazy in the sense Mr. Barret is attempting to portray and distort his words. As usually, and it's to be expected, the right wing will always distort and take everything out of context to further their agenda.

December 11, 2011 at 5:29 p.m.
tipper said...

As for "back and forth we go," sure, I'd like everything to be well-tempered, and have compromise with good intent for all...but that's not the way life is these days. It's been this way for 20-30 years--when one group of politicians decided it could engineer an economy to suit a specific class of people. Call it "supply side economics" or trickle-down theory;" neither happened the way it was sold. We throw out buzz words like "job creators." What jobs? Money is being made by investing money, not by creating anything or expansion. The so-called job creators have a lot of wealth, yet I see little effort in using it for the good of our economy or the nation. The Republicans and Democrats in the Capitol Building are simply minions of those who can put the most money in their campaign war chests. Corporations and financial institutions whine over increased government regulations, even though deregulation since Reagan has been a boon for them and basically hampered government to simply govern. These are the same folks who have created the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression yet feel no need to police their own ranks to avoid another calamity. They are the same people who have no foresight for a future energy policy without recycling old ideas on fossil fuels. And if it all possible, it would suit corporate captains and Washington politicians who support them to strip the country of environmental regulations that save peoples lives. Privatization of everything, costly and middle-rate health care, Capitalism that only goes one way--when things go great. Other times, it's Socialism for bailouts (that came on Bush's watch by the way). So it goes--back and forth. And it will continue to do so until the political system changes and greed becomes a less-desirable trait of our society. Finally, as for refuting Barrett, no one does that better than he.

December 11, 2011 at 6:41 p.m.
conservative said...

Told you!Told you!

December 11, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.

Well said Conservative.

Barrett did a great job as usual and got the Alinski groupies dander up. Just look at the hate!

December 12, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.
tipper said...

So Conservative and Flying Purple, what are your great words of wisdom on America, or are you satisfied with confusing hate with discussion? No guts, no glory. That's the problem with conservatives these days. Up is down and down is up. Times are changing. Either get in line or get out of the way.

December 12, 2011 at 1:23 p.m.

tipper,

You progressives only whine about bi-partisanship when you don't have the power to shove your agenda down our throats. When you are in power, it is "We will go through the gate. If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we will parachute in." or "You have to pass it to find out what is in it." We don't need compromise. That is what got us where we are now. We need representatives that will actually represent us instead of playing to special interests and political parties. I agree money needs to be gotten out of politics, but with so many corrupt people in our government, it is impossible to get them out in time to save the country.

Times are changing. Thanks for the offer for a place in line, but I won't need it. I have prepared and won't need govt assistance when the world reaps what progressives have wrought. Maybe you and M.O. can stand together and finally be proud of our country at last.

Enjoy your bread/TP lines.

December 12, 2011 at 2:43 p.m.
tipper said...

Just as I thought. All show and no go.

December 12, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.
chet123 said...

VERY WEAK ARGUMENT BARRETT...THIS MAKE BY AS MUCH SENSE AS YOUR ARTICLE STATING HERMAN CAIN WAS A CLASS ACT.....Hmmmmmm REMEMBER???..REMEMBER WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT HERMAN CAIN??..THAT WHAT YOU WROTE BEFORE THE WOMANIZING CAME OUT....KEEP TRYING BARRETT...YOU WERE WRONG THEN AND YOU ARE WRONG TODAY.......I WILL FORWARD YOU A #PH.....LOOK LIKE YOU NEED HELP WITH FACTS

December 13, 2011 at 4:33 p.m.
chet123 said...

LESLIESMART....YOU HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEM WITH YOUR REPUBLICAN PARTY PROTECTING THE RICH AND GREEDY..YES THE GOP(GREEDY OLD PARTY)DONT WORRY ABOUT THE PROGRESSIVES....CORRECT YOUR OWN PARTY....THANKS GOODNESS FOR THE PROGRESSIVES!!!!!

YOUR PARTY DONT HAVE THE BACK-BONE TO LOOK OUT FOR THE MIDDLE-CLASS...AND NEITHER HAVE YOU MY LADY!

December 13, 2011 at 4:40 p.m.
tipper said...

All these comments for the great Steve Barrett. I'm sorry I contributed. I'm sure Barrett is sitting back admiring his psuedo-importance. Best thing to do for this guy next time is to ignore him. He's lucky he has a job.

December 14, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.
conservative said...

Still no refutement, just personal attacks and a change of the subject for the most part. Told you! Told you!

December 15, 2011 at 11:06 a.m.
chet123 said...

Conservative...you said refutement ha ha ha is this all you got???? ha ha ha ha Conservative you and your republican buddies are spliting hairs........OH Yeah you forgot to say Obama said there was 57 states...ha ha ha ha ha ha.....This is what you call got you?????ha ha ha ha.......And Dick Cheney shot a man in the face HA HA HA....

GOOD TRY.....BUT IT DIDNT WORK! ha ha ha ha

December 21, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
chet123 said...

You have already called the PRESIDENT A MUSLIM,ARAB,TERRORIST,KENYA BORNED,COMMUNIST,SOCIALIST,AND AX MURDERER...HA HA HA HA!....I THINK THE PUBLIC HAVE SEEN IT ALL FROM THE REPUBLICANS......IN OTHER WORDS...YOUR CREDIBILITY IS SHOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HA HA HA

December 21, 2011 at 11:43 a.m.
chet123 said...

BARRETT ...ARE YOU TRYING TO PLAY GOTCHA!!!!

I WILL TELL YOU WHO IS LAZY...IT THE MEDIA!

WE HAD 8YEARS OF GEORGE BUSH.....THE DEFICIT WAS OUT OF CONTROL BUT THE MEDIA WAS LAZY AND DIDNT DO THEIR WORK...WALL STREET WAS STEALING MONEY BUT THE MEDIA DIDNT WRITE ONE STORY....CONGRESS WAS PARTICIPATING IN INSIDE TRADING BUT THE MEDIA WAS TOO LAZY TO INVESTGATE......

AMERICA HAVE A LAZY SEGMENT...BUT IT NOT THE EVERYDAY WORKING-CLASS....ITS POLITICIAN AND MEDIA

February 7, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
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