The core of Mitt’s campaign strategy seems to be the conviction that he can say anything and pay no price plus contempt for the voters and the news media. But maybe, he is mistaken, and his serial dishonesty will become, justifiably, the heart of the narrative from here until November 2012. His prevarication is such a routine part of his statements and those of the campaign that he seems to be something new on the political scene. Could he be the real life version of Pennywise the Dancing Clown also known as It? For those unfamiliar with Steven King’s novel, It is an inter-dimensional predatory life-form that exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. In the 1986 novel of the same name, It primarily appears in the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Like Pennywise, Mitt exploits the fears and phobias of his victims [American citizens] in order to obtain his dubious ends. Like Pennywise, Mitt is an intriguing deceiver. Mitt ignores the rules of logic as Pennywise ignored the laws of physics. Mitt has piercing eyes and a killer stare as did Pennywise. Mitt is not the Etch-A-Sketch candidate; he is the shape shifter candidate!
It is common practice of politicians and political campaigns to spin information and news in order to make the most favorable impression possible. This is understood by everyone with any experience as a campaigner or as a voter. Politicians and their campaigns are engaged in persuasive speech. At their best, they are also speaking the truth at least from some defensible perspective.
In this process both candidates and campaigns often float “trial balloons.” It seems that Mitt and his campaign believe “They all float!” Therefore, he and they do such things as feign outrage concerning the purported dismissing of Ann’s work as a stay at home mom three months after saying less affluent stay at home parents should be required to get outside employment so they can experience “the dignity of work.” If being a stay at home parent is as worthy a pursuit as the Romney campaign protests it is in April 2012 why did it lack dignity in January 2012? The lie in this comes in two parts. First, contradictory positions cannot both be true and second, if staying at home is dignified work for millionaire parents who often have considerable help, it would be even more so for less affluent parents who have to actually do the work they are staying at home for.
During an April 15, 2012, private campaign event in Florida Romney said, “We are behind when it comes to commentators on TV. They tend to be liberal.” Here he skillfully asserts the very cagey fabrication that the media is biased against Republicans. This serves several purposes, but the most important is to intimidate journalists who might be tempted to call Republicans to account for their numerous falsehoods. It is a smoke screen and a red herring. The most recent Pew Research Study of the 2012 Presidential Race reveals:
“One man running for president has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment of all, the study found: Barack Obama. Though covered largely as president rather than a candidate, negative assessments of Obama have outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-1. Those assessments of the president have also been substantially more negative than positive every one of the 23 weeks studied. And in no week during these five months was more than 10% of the coverage about the president positive in tone.”
Thus, Mitt presumes his deceptive characterization of the news media will insulate him from probing questions if he ever deigns to appear on even neutral networks. While many journalists may describe themselves as liberal, in their professional capacity they do not exhibit a bias against conservatives or those who pose as conservatives. If Mitt encounters hard questioning.
If Mitt’s lies and distortions only concerned trivia and atmospherics that would be one order of magnitude, but he misrepresents, distorts, and falsifies on matters that are central to the case for his candidacy. For example, in Arizona, Mitt told an audience that President Obama vowed to cut the deficit in half. Then, Mitt charged, “He’s doubled it. He’s doubled it.” The facts are as follows: when President Obama took office the deficit was roughly $1.3 trillion. In 2011, the deficit was $1.29 trillion. In 2012, the deficit is on track for $1.1 trillion. Does Mitt not know what “doubled it” means, or does he think American citizens and his audience does not? In another case, Romney claimed, “You can’t be, I don’t believe, anything but a fiscal conservative and run a business, because if you don’t balance your budget, you go out of business.” This is not only untrue, it is ridiculous. If Romney’s strength is his private sector experience, how can he not know that businesses run in the red frequently? How can he not acknowledge that businesses take out loans routinely for expansions, capital improvements, acquisitions and a host of other reasons? In a literal matter of possible life and death, Romney blamed the president for not imposing crippling sanctions on Iran when the president has. Furthermore, Mitt wants action against Syria which he claims is “Iran’s path to the sea.” Iran has more than 1,500 miles of coastline and does not share a border with Syria.
In a further attempt to make a virtue of ignorance, Romney told Greta Van Susteren, “The economy is nothing but the addition of all the businesses in the country together.” This is not true. All economies of every nation on the planet include their respective public sectors and the United States economy is no exception. Mitt reiterated that “Obama has launched an all-out attack on small businesses.” The truth is has lowered taxes on small businesses, eased the process for creating them, and streamlined the patent process. Contrary to Mitt’s false accusations, President Obama has also not advocated or approved “a government takeover of healthcare.” This statement is so ridiculously false that variations of it earned three different “Pants On Fire” ratings from PolitiFact and it was designated the 2010 “Lie of the Year.” Nevertheless, Mitt and other Republicans persist in repeating it.
On April 12, 2012, Romney claimed President Obama has already “raised taxes on millions of Americans and is campaigning on a platform of higher taxes.” This is almost precisely the opposite of what has happened. President Obama has lowered taxes for almost every American and is campaigning on a platform that includes fairer taxes in contrast to critical spending reductions from needed programs.
In one of the most arrogant displays of calculated dishonesty, declared “Instead of raising taxes, I will cut them.” This contradicts Romney’s published plan in which the top one percent will see tax cuts of roughly eight percent and the bottom twenty percent will see tax increases of nearly two percent. Those struggling most benefit least from the Romney plan. Mitt also asserted that the Ryan budget does not balance the budget on the backs of the poor. The Ryan budget which Mitt describes as marvelous gets sixty-two percent of its $5.3 trillion in non-defense cuts from programs that serve people and families of limited means. It stands the fairness principle on its head and slashes funding for Medicaid, Food Stamps, and numerous other low-income programs. Additionally contrary to Mitt’s claim that the Ryan budget preserves Medicare, it actually turns Medicare into a voucher program, scraps the guaranteed benefit altogether; weakens Medicare solvency; and brings back the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut-hole.” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Robert Greenstein says, “The Ryan budget would impose extraordinary cuts in programs that serve as a lifeline for our nation’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens and over time would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their health insurance or become underinsured.” He added that Ryan’s plan “would cast tens of millions of less fortunate Americans into the ranks of the uninsured, take food from poor children, make it harder for low-income students to get a college degree, and squeeze funding for research, education, and infrastructure. “If the Ryan budget does not balance the budget on the backs of the poor and elderly, what budget possibly would?
If Mitt and his campaign succeed in deceiving the electorate, they may be able to impose barbaric policies and priorities on a gullible populace and plunge millions into destitution and despair. If we are fooled by this “smooth liar” as Richard Cohen calls him, we will ultimately suffer because of it. In a true breakthrough performance of masterful lying Mitt intoned, “With all the challenges the nation faces, this is not the time for President Obama’s hide and seek campaign…. Unlike President Obama, you don’t have to wait until after the election to find out what I believe in — or what my plans are.” However, in late March, Romney told the Weekly Standard, “So will there be some [departments] that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now.” This means Romney could talk in detail about his intentions but he is not going to because voters may not like the truth and it is advantageous to hide it from them. Americans are supposed to trust It and vote for him first and then discover what Its true intentions are once they are at Its mercy.
We must all understand that a president who attains office by brazenly flouting the truth is even more likely than an average politician to govern in a dishonest and even illegal way. In the novel, children who trusted It paid with their lives. In the 2012 election, voters who trust Mitt and everyone else will pay if he secures the presidency. We have been warned.