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Dodging Mitt Romney’s Barrage of Lies

August 9, 2012

Excuse me, but your mom jeans appear to be on fire.

There is a long and storied tradition of Americans viewing their politicians as less than truthful. No matter how disconnected you are from the political world, you’re no doubt aware of ‘spin’. It’s just something we’ve come to expect. But there is spin, and there are out-right lies. There is the occasional half-truth, and there is the blatant pattern of repeated, regret-free deception. The latter, dear reader, describes Mitt Romney and his entire campaign.

To illustrate the difference between ‘spin’ and flagrant balderdash, let’s watch  Steve Benen of The Maddow Blog review the campaign this week:

Over the course of 24 hours, two controversial television ads were released as part of the 2012 presidential election. The first came from the Priorities USA Action super PAC and showed a steel worker who got laid off by Bain Capital; the second was released by Mitt Romney’s campaign, claiming President Obama is “dropping work requirements” from existing welfare law.

Both have struggled under scrutiny. The first is based on an entirely true story involving real people, but relies on a “tenuous chain of causality” in part of the ad. The second is based entirely on an obvious, blatant, shameless lie that has no basis in reality whatsoever. (emphasis mine)

Two points: 1) The Priorities USA ad surely goes too far, but it is not a product of the Obama campaign. Rather, it is from a super PAC supporting the President. 2) The welfare lies are coming directly from the Romney campaign itself.

How can Romney possibly think he can get away with this kind of thing? There are a few points worth considering. On one hand — and this can’t be stressed enough — Romney thinks he can get away with it because he has been able to do so throughout the campaign so far. The list of Romney’s lies thus far is a LONG one.  Luckily, Steve Benen has been keeping track. 

Another crucial point to consider is that the Romney camp isn’t developing most of these lies in a vacuum.  They are floating them only after the right wing world has developed and pushed them, often for months. Dave Johnson at Campaign for America’s Future explains:

Here is how it works. Each lie is developed in the right’s machine, using something currently in the news to reinforce an ongoing narrative about “liberals.” The lie percolates up through a well-worn process where the germ of the story is planted in smaller outlets, and variations of it are tried out until one seems to resonate. Next, larger right-wing media operations pick up the developed “story” and drive it further. It gets amplified on the radio, FOX News and the right’s newspapers. Finally the corporate media takes it out to more and more people, covering themselves with the claim they are just “reporting” on a “story” that is “already out there.”

One way or another the lie is repeated and repeated and repeated (and repeated) in various forms through various channels that reach various target groups, until it becomes a “truth.” Once it has become a “truth” the Romney campaign uses this “truth” to claim Democrats and President Obama are harming the country….

After months of repetition of this lie, the Romney campaign understood that the lie has become a “truth,” and is using that “truth” themselves in campaign ads and Romney’s stump speech!

They may be lies, but they’re tested lies! And the sad fact is that the media’s compulsion to report “two sides” of every story, coupled with the sheer volume of lies makes it certain that he does get away with a great deal of this. It’s just like his Twitter doppelganger says:

Is that a strategy? Perhaps — but if so, it is one the Romney campaign had better rethink. The long list of lies coming from the campaign, coupled with a candidate with a seeming penchant for secrecy is starting to develop a reputation for Romney.

Recent polls have shown that one of the top words that springs to mind when voters are asked their opinion of Romney is “dishonest.” And a new poll released today by Fox News shows Obama leading by 9 points. Looks like that reputation is starting to catch up with Mitt.

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