Just this morning I heard Rep. John Boehner's remarks about how the President doesn't seem to understand how the economy works. Boehner, as you may well know, is the leader of the House and has opposed everything Obama has put forward so far as the jobs bill is concerned.
Said Boehner, “I know how to create jobs. I've been an independent business man, and I've met a payroll before.”
Similar chants have been heard coming from the right by such champions of the middle class as Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Herman Cain to name just a few. The ridiculousness of the statement doesn't seem to resonate with a good share of the public. If running a business were an adequate measurement then practically anyone could qualify. At least the monkeys of free enterprise could say that they ran a successful business. Of course that might narrow the field just a bit.
But back to John Boehner whose business experience was “ ...a small business in the plastics and packaging industry.” Whether it was a successful business or not is never disclosed, but the fact that he ran the business apparently confers some special knowledge on him that makes for greater insight into how the economy is run.
Using that line of reasoning suggests that the only people who can fully appreciate how the military should be run and wars fought would be people who have spent time in the military. The only people who should be allowed to be judges are those who have stood before the bench accused of some crime, and only teachers should be allowed to make policy concerning education. Only those who have worked construction or built cars should be allowed to make policy concerning the department of transortation.
What Boehner has done (as well as others on both ends of the spectrum) is to marshal a couple of well used propaganda techniques; in this case presenting inference as fact and garnishing it with some glittering generality. It's John Boehner; it's Just Bulltwaddle. Label it JB for short; both names use the same initials. (Yes, I know I'm guilty of name calling and slinging a little mud, but it's done with the best intentions of humorous sarcasm.)
You see how ridiculous it can get to be. And yet the Speaker of the House is not ashamed that he stoops to such ploys to make a speculative point. And sometimes people applaud the behavior and regard the statements as fact rather than analyzing them for the validity of the claim.
Having been a writer and reporter for a good share of my adult life I am quite familiar with the 5 W's (Who, what, when, where, why) of editorial and news writing. Just recently I was reminded that there is another question that needs to be asked, especially when interviewing glib individuals who seem always to have a plethora of minute data from a data base or study that was done somewhere at sometime. The question is “how”, as in how do you know that? How reliable is the source? How accurate is the source? How is the information being used to further the interviewee's own agenda?
From my vantage point, I think it might behoove both parties to pass out business cards with the list of generalized questions that can be asked in regard to any pronouncement made by politicians. I believe it would cut down on the amount of JB created by politicians and commentators.