The headline is meant to be a bit snarky, because if there is one thing that should be imbedded in the brain of any observer of American politics, be they conservative, liberal, undecided or two year old, that one thing should be that Mitt Romney is an inveterate liar.
That fact has been established since he ran in the 2008 primary, and completely abandoned all the positions which he had taken in various earlier political settings. That wishy washy lying style made him detestable to the Republicans he ran against in both the 2008 and 2012 primaries.
Romney kicked off the 2012 general campaign with a commercial which was breath taking in it’s dishonesty. That commercial took a 2008 clip from a stump speech by candidate Obama quoting the McCain campaign saying that if they talked about the economy they would lose. The Romney campaign edited the tape and presented the quote as if Obama were saying it about himself in this campaign. Romney then justified the falsehood by saying what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and even admitting that his team intentionally edited the video to get under his opponents skin. That commercial is still on the Romney website without any sort of attempt to correct the lie or add context to the Obama quote.
As Robert Schlesinger says, there are “lies, damned lies, and Mitt Romney’s ads”.
My point here is that Romney didn’t suddenly discover a new tactic in Wednesdays debate and blindside the President with a sudden burst of dishonesty from left field. Romney has been an inveterate liar since at least 2008. I’ll wager Massachusetts pols could compare candidate Romney with Governor Romney and demonstrate the same dishonesty, but demonstrating the Romney penchant for lying continuously back to 2008 should suffice for this particular rant.
Why did the President seem so helpless to combat this tried and true Romney tactic? For that matter why was Jim Leher completely bereft of any sort of ability to clarify basic facts which were entirely mangled by the Romney steamroller of truth flattening whoppers? Were they expecting Mitt Freaking Romney to suddenly become consistent in his positions? REALLY!?
Here is a made up exageration of what I, and millions like me, saw in Wednesdays debate. The following exchange never happened precisely, but the equivalent was what we witnessed for the entire debate. This is what I would write about this debate if I wrote for the Onion:
Leher: “Now let us consider the budget deficit. We’ll start first with Governor Romney. Mr. Romney, what do you think is the main difference between your plan and President Obama’s?”
Romney: “Well here is my plan Jim. Rather than raising taxes on the American people, thereby costing millions of jobs and hurting American families like what President Obama is doing, and wants to do more of, what I’ll do as President is crap gold ingots. I will have my staff collect my golden refuse and use the proceeds to pay off the national debt in approximately 7 years. This will lead to a balanced budget while allowing America to increase military spending and hire more teachers. And I do love teachers Jim. In fact when I’m President I will be certain to deposit much of my golden crap upon them so they may use their new found wealth to hire employees and start their own businesses in the ultimate example of trickle down .”
Me thinking to myself: “Obama is gonna cream this clown over that, I can’t wait!”
Leher: “Mr. Presi”
Romney: “Hold on Jim let me”
Leher: “But you went first so the President should fin…”
Romney: “No, nope. I must insist, I went first now so that means I will be closing next since the President gets to close this time and I’m going last, first next time, regardless I just need to say that I will be willing to donate my golden refuse to the treasury because of my great love for America and knowing that I will be saving future generations of children and the middle class from a crushing Obama deficit. Unlike President Obama, I will never apologize for America or for loving all of our citizens, both those living now and future generations who don’t want to be hurt by President Obama so they would vote for me if they only could.”
Leher: “Mr President?”
Romney: “Let me finish with the observation that President Obama can’t crap gold ingots, because if he could we wouldn’t have lost 23 million jobs under his watch!”
Leher looks expectantly at the President to start his answer.
Obama: “Well Jim, aaaaa… when I came into office we had over a trillion and a quarter dollars of budget deficit every year. Aaaand we were fighting two wars on a credit card aaaa… and we were in the deepest recession since the 1930′s. So we had to increase spending in order to aaaa…. stop a slide into another depression. So I just think we should be aaaa… smart about where we choose to spend our money aaaaand cut out programs which don’t make any sense. Aaaaand we need to ask those of us who are doing very well …. to show some ehhhh economic patriotism and to pay their fair share! Finally I agree with Mr. Romney… ehhhh, that I can’t crap gold ingots.” (The response by Obama is 10 seconds longer than Romney’s entire fantasy based, but authoritatively stated, tirade!)
Me yelling at the tv: “What do you freaking MEAN!? This is just RIDICULOUS! I can’t BELIEVE this disaster! AAAUUGGHH!”
Thank god for good jobs numbers this morning because I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth since Wednesday night.