At the GOP Convention in Tampa, starting August 27, there will be a lot of talk about President Obama's frequently-quoted "you didn't build that" comment and on whether or not Obama has taken money out of Medicare. Let me add clarity on both points.


To make this point, I've got to get a little earthy, so bear with me.

Meaning of "this"

When Romney took his recent trip overseas, the traveling press corps was given almost no opportunity to ask questions. Their exasperation level grew when they reached Poland, as Romney and the press contingent were leaving a Polish war memorial, the press contingent started yelling questions at Romney. As the tension between Romney's press people and the press grew, Romney's press aide Rick Gorka said there would be no questions. When the press persisted, Gorka blurted out, "Kiss my ass, this is a holy site."

While Gorka got himself in a bit of a jam and took some vacation time, nobody interpreted the meaning of the pronoun "this" as referring to Gorka's rear end. It was clear from the totality of the circumstances the pronoun "this" referred to the war memorial they had just visited.

The practice of applying a pronoun to the noun or nouns most reasonable under the totality of the circumstances shall herein after and for all time be referred to as "The Gorka Rule."

Meaning of "that"

At a campaign event, July 15 in Roanoke, Virginia, President Obama spoke of the interdependence of people in society, and how people who have experienced great success have benefitted by the work of those who came before. His exact words were, "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Applying The Gorka Rule of most reasonable construction under the totality of the circumstances, it is absolutely clear the "that" in "you didn't build that" applied to:  1) the educational system that benefits us all; 2) the judicial system that enforces contracts and our military that protects access to markets; and 3) our interstate highway system that connects businesses to their suppliers and customers.

If Mitt Romney wants to deny application of The Gorka Rule to President Obama, consistency requires that he admit that he has in his employ an individual who so disrespected the Polish people by referring to his rear end as a holy site while visiting a Polish war memorial.

Mitt Romney, have you no shame?


At the GOP Convention, there will be endless talk about how Obama took money out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. That's deceptive and incorrect.

From a Medicare beneficiary's point of view (present and future), the facts are as follows. Under Obama, there is no change to the benefits received by beneficiaries, and no change to the benefits that will be received by those presently paying into the system. Period.

The Romney-Ryan plan is different in two essential elements. The eligibility age to receive Medicare benefits is moved up from 65 to 67, and those under 55 will enter a program when they turn 67, under which they receive vouchers which can be used to purchase medical services.

President Obama is absolutely correct in saying that the voucher system will "end Medicare as we know it" because you can be absolutely certain that the value of the vouchers one receives under Romney-Ryan will not keep pace with the cost of medical services, leaving beneficiaries to come up with $6000 – $7000 out of pocket to fill the gap.

Anyone under 55 years of age gets hosed, big-time, by the Romney-Ryan plan. Plus, because of their distaste for "government entitlements" there is no telling what "adjustments" Romney-Ryan would foist on those 55 and older if they were to actually hold office.

I may have channeled my inner 12-year-old this week. I think the devil made me do it. I'll try and up my game next week. – Tom Callaghan