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Fact Checking

Seal of the RNC
It would be hard to argue that this is not one of the most emotionally-charged and important election seasons in many years.  Passionate members of both the Democrat and Republican parties are fired up and raring to go. Of course, I have just stated the obvious -that would be apparent to anybody who even accidentally caught a little of the news flowing from Web sites, television and radio.

Along with this atmosphere of political passion come the spin machines -- out in full force, putting out twisted, partial and [sometimes] downright false claims, statistics and 'facts.'  Often times, politicians excel at promoting rewritten bits of history or producing new and glorious facts about their accomplishments that, although they may sound quite convincing, just don't cut it when run through the fact checking processes that are fortunately available. The Internet age brings with it a wealth of information available at the click of a mouse that can confirm or deny the self-serving 'facts' that political figures like to spew on a regular basis.

, member of the United States House of Represe...
I really do like Paul Ryan, and think he's a decent sort -- as far as Republicans go!  However, that doesn't mean I buy everything I read and hear, either.  So where do I often visit after an important speech is made, such as Paul Ryan's acceptance speech at the RNC last night?  Easy answer: factcheck.org.  Boasting a non-partisan perspective on things, they lay out what was said and compare it to facts that are generally available as public record.  For lazy people like me who just want to get to the heart of the matter with a minimum of effort, they do a fantastic job.  Don't get me wrong, I know that everybody - no matter how non-biased they claim to be - has a secret hidden bias one way or the other.  How can we not?  After all, we're only human.  A good journalist, however, knows how to do a good job of hiding theirs and presenting just the facts. After all, if I am confident that my political leanings are correct, the facts should speak for themselves, right?  I have found factcheck.org to be about as non-biased as I think is possible.

So yes, of course, factcheck.org was all over the fallacies of Paul Ryan's speech, such as his story-telling of the GM plant that closed in Wisconsin (Ryan made it sound like it closed during Obama's time in office, when in reality, it closed before he was even inaugurated).  His Medicare math is also subject to some intense scrutiny.  Regardless of the factual inaccuracies, I still like the guy and think his attitude of fiscal restraint is just what the doctor ordered for our over-taxed, over-spending country right now.

The point of this post is that it is important to check the facts (some more important than others) before you make any decisions about a candidate.  You'll find they all make their blunders, whether intentional or not.  what matters most is whether or not you can live with whatever 'mistakes' they make or not.

Should you visit factcheck.org right now, you might come away thinking they are very sympathetic to Democrats because of all the bashing of certain RNC speeches at the present time; but that's only because the RNC is currently in session and one politician after another is at the mic spinning their tales of successes and woes. Check back when the DNC is in session and see if you don't find an equally busy Web site (maybe even busier)!  Oops! There's my new-found conservative bias showing through!

On a side note: What's the big deal with Juan Williams' comment from the RNC about Mrs. Romney coming across as a 'corporate wife?'  He's entitled to his opinion.  To hear guys like Mike Gallagher tell it, you'd think he treated her like Bill Maher treats the conservative women he speaks of.  Again: he's entitled to his opinion. I find Gallagher to be a bit of a 'drama queen' sometimes, anyway. I actually really like Juan Williams and think he sometimes brings a little sensibility to the 'conservative bullpen' that is Fox news and I would hardly compare his brand of liberalism to that of Alan Colmes.  Personally, I like Ann Romney; once she finished pandering to all the women out there [whom she would like to have support Mitt] I thought she did a fine job of driving home the 'regular people' notion of themselves as a couple and put forth their strong conservative moral values in regard to personal charity and family commitment.  She also reminded us that, no matter what your wealth is, no one is immune to the trials of life (recalling her struggles with MS and cancer). But I have come to learn that people are going to take away from a speech what they came to get. Monitoring the RNC hash tag on Twitter last night reminded me once again how true that is.
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