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Janet Ritz Headshot

Too Much Spin

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I was in a doctor's waiting room recently, listening to pundits on a big-screen TV, when a middle-aged man turned to me and stated:

"Too much spin."

His reaction was not what I'd expected, considering the gentleman had identified himself earlier as a Republican and the pundits he'd complained about were McCain surrogates.

He told me his story of easy wealth in the banking industry due to the Bush administration's relaxing of regulations, despite the uneasy feeling he'd had that his company, working with sub-prime loans, was riding for a fall. The fall came and he and his colleagues were now looking for work.

He gave me the impression that listening to McCain's surrogates was insulting to his intelligence and he complained directly that they were not addressing the issues that were important to him: conservative policies, what they would do about the economy and the truth about tax cuts (he'd figured it out that they were lying about Obama's position on that). Instead of getting what he wanted from them, he felt bombarded with constant "gotcha" that made him want to turn off the TV.

We talked about those tax cuts. He made the point that his family had earned over $250,000 a year and, as such, could be subject to increased taxes under the Obama plan. I was curious if that still applied, given his work status. His expression spoke volumes. As an executive in a service industry that relied upon the middle class, there was little likelihood he would earn the requisite amount to meet those increased tax obligations if his customers were no longer viable candidates for loans.

Tax cuts for the middle class, it seemed, would be more beneficial to him in the long run, even with the possibility increased taxes for his former >$250,000 bracket (emphasis on the former).

Another area of interest to my Republican acquaintance was Obama's authenticity. He told me, given all the McCain spin that he knew was untrue, about the economy and other issues, he was having trouble accepting their negative representations of the Illinois Senator, but did not know enough about him to make a decision. I told him what I knew about Senator Obama (my magazine endorsed the Senator on February 4th after reviewing his and the other candidates' environmental policies) and suggested he review both candidates' policies on their websites and make his own informed decision.

That led to an interesting discussion about the policies vs. the over-spin we see on TV and our mutual question as to why the pundits were so focused on spin vs. spin rather than policy vs. policy.

Our consensus was ratings, although my new-found Republican friend pointed out that he had taken changing the channel when it turns into all spin all the time. Maybe he's unique in that, but I don't think so.

More on this topic at THE ENVIRONMENTALIST