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Jul 22 2009

Reading Comprehension FAIL and Other “Cons Desperate for an Obama Scandal” Stories

The Cons and their slobbering media lapdogs are absolutely, bowel-clenchingly, pants-pissingly terrified of Barack Obama.

A bold claim, you say? Evidence to back it up, you ask? Why, certainly, on both counts.

If they weren’t terrified of the man, they wouldn’t have to work so damned hard to destroy him.

They know he’s a force to be reckoned with. What they need is a good, explosive scandal to knock him down with, but since he’s not giving them one, they’re reduced to whining about his pants:

This is big news, according to Greg Gutfeld and the immaculately bleached and botoxed Laura Ingaham on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor as the first ‘dork’ President of the United States has appeared in public wearing Mom Jeans, bought with a gift certificate, apparently, from the now bankrupted Mervyn’s. Americans should be scared – scared, I tell ya – that the POTUS has lost his cool and dresses like a band teacher. Greg Gutfeld barely cracks a smile as he warns us ‘this isn’t going to intimidate Putin’ and ‘our adversaries in Iran will not take [him] seriously,’ especially since he also throws a baseball ‘like a little girl’… all symbols of something ‘deeper and more sinister’…

I kid you not. I wish I did.

That’s desperation, that is. They couldn’t get him with Arugulagate, Condimentgate, or any of the other gates they’ve been frantically waving around, so now they’re trying out Jeansgate. It’s utterly pathetic.

The Cons in Congress tried out Hamgate today, but unfortunately for them, most of us have the reading comprehension skills of a common chimpanzee and the numeracy skills of your basic beaver, which are all you need to shut this gate:

Far-right blogs and Republican staffers thought they’d found a delicious new anecdote to attack the stimulus package. As is usually the case, they neglected to think it through before making themselves appear silly.

Drudge, running with contracts from the government’s stimulus website, claimed that the Obama administration had spent, among other things, $1.19 million on two pounds of ham. Some conservative bloggers, following Drudge’s lead, ran with the story. House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office complained about the “pork” in the stimulus. Republicans sent “blast e-mails of screenshots from the Drudge Report, highlighting the contracts as wasteful spending.”

By yesterday afternoon, the Department of Agriculture felt compelled to issue a statement, explaining how terribly wrong conservatives are about this.

[snip]

The references to “2 pound frozen ham sliced” are to the sizes of the packaging. Press reports suggesting that the Recovery Act spent $1.191 million to buy “2 pounds of ham” are wrong. In fact, the contract in question purchased 760,000 pounds of ham for $1.191 million, at a cost of approximately $1.50 per pound. In terms of the dairy purchase referenced, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) purchased 837,936 pounds of mozzarella cheese and 4,039,200 pounds of processed cheese. The canned pork purchase was 8,424,000 pounds at a cost of $16,784,000, or approximately $1.99 per pound.

While the principal purpose of these expenditures is to provide food to those hardest hit by these tough times, the purchases also provide a modest economic benefit of benefiting Americans working at food retailers, manufacturers and transportation companies as well as the farmers and ranchers who produce our food supply.

In other words, the conservative activists who pounced on this were thoroughly confused about every relevant detail, including the underlying claim.

What happened next really makes me wonder if every Con in Congress is just part of some massive practical joke, because slipping on banana peels (or in this case, sliced ham) and then immediately walking face-first into a door usually don’t happen in real life:

Also yesterday, Drudge said $1.4 million in recovery funds went to “repair a door” at Dyess Air Force Base’s “bldg 5112.” Fox News’ Glenn Beck was outraged, and said this is proof that “they’re just peeing your money away.”

“Wow, what happened to that door?” Beck asked. “That’s a lot of repairing, you know. Can we buy a new one, and cheaper?”

Wouldn’t you know it, that’s completely wrong.

[U]nder the “View all project descriptions” link on the page to which the Drudge Report linked, Recovery.gov actually states that the government awarded AFCO Technologies nearly $1.2 million to replace gas mains on the base, and $246,100 to repair doors in Building 5112. A Department of Defense document listing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects in Texas states that the doors that were repaired in Building 5112 are “hangar doors.”

Moreover, a May 5 press release from the Dyess Air Force Base stated that the money awarded for the gas main project “may have saved eight jobs” and that the base could “now possibly hire two more employees.”

So, once again, all of the relevant details of the claim are either demonstrably false or wildly misleading.

Better conservatives, please.

Oh, dear glods, yes, please. At least get us ones that don’t get so insanely terrified at the least little sign of a competent Democrat in office that they panic like this. It’s embarrassing.