Mark Twain - Letter to John Bellows, 11 April 1883
Who Knew? For three days, a no holds barred anti-public sector union t.v. spot created by Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS has been running on cable t.v. , and its a humdinger. It discloses an overly and overtly cozy financial relationship between public sector unions and the Democratic party.
The 30-second clip below (clip 1) was cut by Crossroads GPS from their primary one minute ad. In it we see a shoddy performance by the National Education Association's general counsel, Bob Chanin, who strongly suggests the NEA is less about education and more about collecting dues, influencing elections, and increasing its political power. At the outset, Chanin says "it is not because we care about children, and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are such successful advocates because we have power . . ." Chanin continues in this vein and offers a hugely unflattering portrait of the organization, in existence since 1857, purportedly to speak out for public education.
Thanks to Crossroads GPS, and its apparently hidden camera at the NEA's 2009 annual meeting, we learn how secondary the cause of public education was to its brutal power grab. Who knew? Crossroads GPS did. But as with anything involving Karl Rove and a bunch of Bush II era political right wing journeymen, the affair needs a full examination, fore and aft. And here you go.
Context Schmontext! Clip 1 is the 30- second version of their lengthier t.v. spot, discussed above. It's the 30 seconds (out of a 24 minute speech) that Crossroads GPS chose to feature out of then General Counsel Bob Chanin's 2009 farewell address.
Clip 2, however, presents the 30-seconds of Mr. Chanin's speech chosen by Crossroads GPS in context. See what you think.
Somethin's happenin' here,
what it is is exactly clear,
there's a man with a video editor over there . . .
Crossroads GPS Presents! Excerpt, Bob Chanin's
2009 NEA annual meeting.
Crossroads GPS will also be remembered as near idiots who hadn't figured out that their content can be examined and shot down. Someone remind Rove and Associates that for years now it's been lots easier to fact check by using mysterious machines like computers, “the Google,” and video and audio history. Old-fashioned folks (me) still take handwritten notes. And videos, audio tracks, handwritten notes, speech notes, and memories are there in abundance when it comes to Bob Chanin's farewell address.
Steve Carell captured our present age as a time of “truthiness.” I think we've all noticed for some time now, the truth isn't just taking a beating – that we could all understand. What shakes us up is that truth is way too often irrelevant. Truth has, by some, been kicked to the curb and left for dead.
Why? For Rove and other propagandists (right and left), their audience, their "base," exists to be manipulated without mercy, regardless of their collective needs. To the Rove's of this world, manipulation is an amoral activity, it is simply a practical necessity to gain and retain political and economic power for themselves or for their clients. Yet, one can't succeed at manipulation without knowing one's audience very well. And they do.
Most often, and usually through no fault of their own, many in Rove's anti-union base are unsophisticated, under-educated, hidebound fans of FOX Newsiness, suspicious of joint action to assist anyone but their inner circle of family and friends, and just plain angry at modernity and the received history of recent times. It's likely that the average person in the Rovian base (1) will not investigate the Crossroads GPS anti-union claims, or examine Bob Chanin's NEA speech, and (2) will not believe any "liberal" blow back they may accidentally hear or read. Rove knows they are allergic to anything not already believed. He has, after all, been one of their principle cattle dogs, keeping them in the herd, yapping and biting at their heels and flanks, keeping them voting for politicians and policies that, for most of his base, are genuinely against their interests, and the interests of their children.
"Bob Chanin provided a breathtakingly candid assessment of what government unions are all about -- electing politicians who will in turn protect fat union benefits at the expense of unsuspecting taxpayers," and, "Thankfully, he said it in his own words so we don't have to."
Look Both Ways Before Crossroads (GPS)! This little dust-up will pass, as has been the habit lately since the Democratic party is now categorized in the taxonomic table as “invertebrate.” And, it's truer than true, we all do this opportunistic lying at times to get ahead, individuals and political parties and unions all, (although my experience is that the right wing GOP is far more committed, religiously, it seems, to telling such categorical lies that it takes one's breath away.)
In any event, given their full coffers, Crossroads GPS will go on and on and on, but maybe, in time, the truth will catch up with them.