Sunday, August 26, 2012

Republicans Lie About Having Built Tampa Bay Times Forum!!!: A Wee Lesson About Indexicals

So, the three pillars of the Republican campaign have turned out to be:

The stimulus didn't work
Obama will gut Medicare
Obama said nobody built their own business

Now, it doesn't seem to bother the GOP a bit that all of these things are lies...but it's surely a sign of great desperation that they are leaning so hard on the laughable misrepresenation of one sentence--in fact, of one word--Obama uttered in one speech. That is, on the third of the three pillars above.

In fact, it turns out that the "theme" of their convention is "We Built This."

Now that's truly pathetic.

But let's suppose that we adopt the GOP's standards about how to interpret indexicals like 'this' and 'that.'

Their standard seems to be that, when the referent of an indexical is less than perfectly clear, we are free to pick whichever available interpretation we like, including those that make no sense, even when sensible interpretations are easily available. The referent of Obama's indexical 'that' was clearly "the unbelievable American system that allowed you to thrive," and "roads and bridges." Instead, of course, the GOP pretends that the referent was "your business."

Now, there is no obvious referent of 'this' in the GOP's "we built this" they're already in worse shape that Obama on this score. But, heck, the building they're in (or going to be in) is actually a decent candidate it's actually not all that perverse to interpret them as saying that they built the Tampa Bay Times Form...which, it turns out, they didn't. Liars! Cue some campaign commercials!

And, what's worse...the arena was built with public funds...exactly the kind of thing that Obama was talking about in the speech containing the infamous indexical. Public effort provided the infrastructure that makes private enterprises possible. Get it, Republicans?

Childish as this whole dust-up is, it's the Republican's doing, and it'd be beautiful if this whole mendacious pillar of their mendacious campaign could be effectively turned against them.


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