I post this McCain ad to graphically represent what people mean by decontextualization. It’s a in weird way what the French post-structuralists call simulcra (see the wiki on Baudrillard on hyperreality. It’s in a sense as real (though being in a sense parasitic) as the original. On the other hand of course, you see how easily such a process can be corrupted. But once it gets free-floating it’s tough to reign the momentum back in.
Watch in particular how the video is cut to make it look like Obama is agreeing with McCain. Never mind as others have pointed out that what is so wrong with agreeing with your opponent and not appearing an angry ahole like McCain did, but that Obama was using the I Agrees to look congenial at the same time he was slicing and dicing McCain. Let it never be said, conservatives don’t get postmodernism (creating your own reality, relativist strains thereof I mean).
First use of “I agree” (my italics) [p3 of transcript]:
OBAMA: Well, I think Senator McCain’s absolutely right that we need more responsibility, but we need it not just when there’s a crisis. I mean, we’ve had years in which the reigning economic ideology has been what’s good for Wall Street, but not what’s good for Main Street.
The obvious implication of Obama’s words being that McCain is a glory-crisis hog who only shows up when the media glare is onto something (cf “We Are All Georgians NOW!!!!”—edit: No We Ain’t Brother). So the agreement on Obama’s part is actually to call McCain essentially a (literally) Johnny Come Lately blowhard. [Not in those words but that's the basic gist].
Second of the “I Agree” Statements [p4 tr.]:
OBAMA: Well, Senator McCain is absolutely right that the earmarks process has been abused, which is why I suspended any requests for my home state, whether it was for senior centers or what have you, until we cleaned it up…
But let’s be clear: Earmarks account for $18 billion in last year’s budget. Senator McCain is proposing — and this is a fundamental difference between us — $300 billion in tax cuts to some of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the country, $300 billion.
Now, $18 billion is important; $300 billion is really important.
In other words, this chart (h/t Sullivan). The projected deficit pre-bailout in 2009 is estimated to be 500 billion. Earmarks total count for 18 billion. And we already know McCain won’t cut a bunch of them. What WaPo calls McCain’s Fantasy War on Earmarks.
And last but not least my favorite [p4 tr.]:
Now, John mentioned the fact that business taxes on paper are high in this country, and he’s absolutely right. Here’s the problem: There are so many loopholes that have been written into the tax code, oftentimes with support of Senator McCain, that we actually see our businesses pay effectively one of the lowest tax rates in the world.
This last one is the most egregious insofar as Obama’s point was to say I agree with him that in theory what he said is right, however in practice, he’s completely wrong. The issue is the corporate tax rate which I heard Gingrich spouting off about on ThisWeek this morning. Speaking of Stephanopolous, you can read his take down of Carly Fiorina here via Yglesias on this subject of tax rates vs. tax loophole. And how on paper the US can have high tax rate but in practice pay out less than countries in Europe cited by Gingrich and Crew.