The Most Fundamentally (© N. Gingrich) Dishonest Candidate Since Richard Nixon

by A. Jay Adler on August 10, 2012
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Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

Let’s not speak of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. The Mormon Church isn’t one of the longer running cults in the world, but that wouldn’t matter so much if it were the source of a person’s principled goodness in the world. But when various public figures began months back to dance gingerly around the subject of Romney’s “core,” that is what they were really addressing: principles. Romney has none. You could field a veritable army of athiests more principled in their beliefs, more honest in their representation of themselves, and truer to any fellows they might seek to influence, let alone lead.

Even swimming amid the usual cauldron of hot conflict and hard compromise that is the stew of the political life, Romney’s craven, shifting lies reek of a foul ingredient. It has yet even to be hinted at that there is anything Romney will not say, betraying any formerly pronounced belief or enacted policy, in order to achieve his end to become President of the United States. Forget what are the policies that he, for today, at least, espouses – and even Grover Norquist and, (gulp) Ann Coulter actually do believe in something – can we imagine a more definitive character trait for exactly the kind of person who should never be President of the United States? The whole point of the religously inculcated life is that when it matters most, the core of moral principle with which one has been infused will lead one’s way. Not that the political candidate should be able to find within himself the same power-seeking, ambition-serving rationalizations for self-interested deception as any party-machine political hack. What Mitt Romney has most successfully established by this time in his presidential campaign is himself as a refutation of the religious argument for moral instruction.

The trail is long in Romney’s career and campaign, but an early signal of the willingness to outright lie was in his accusation about the Obama administration’s aid to Solyndra that

An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that this administration had steered money to friends and family, to campaign contributors.

Now the lies fly in force from his mouth like bats from an attic.

The President wants all voters in Ohio, including the military personnell who already can, to be able to vote early. Romney claims Obama is trying to restrict early voting priveleges for the military. Writes Steve Benen,

After spending the last several months paying attention to Mitt Romney’s habitual dishonesty at a granular level, I’ve become largely inured to his more routine, casual lies. Some of the deliberate falsehoods are just too common to get upset about.

….

Obama wants all eligible Ohio voters, including servicemen and women, to have the same ability to vote, which Romney says, in writing, means Obama is trying to “undermine” the troops’ ability to vote.

This is as loathsome a lie as Romney has told all year — and given his record, that’s not an easy threshold to meet.

Then, Republican governors in several states requested some relaxaton in welfare work requirements so that they can, variously, respond to extraordinary situations or try their own approaches that they think may be more succesful. The Obama administration agreed. According to a Romney ad, however,

President Obama “quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.” The voiceover tells viewers, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check…. and welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.”

We then learn, “Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement because it works.”

Writes Benen,

Romney’s lying. He’s not spinning the truth to his advantage; he’s not hiding in a gray area between fact and fiction; he’s just lying. The law hasn’t been “gutted”; the work requirementhasn’t been “dropped.” Stations that air this ad are disseminating an obvious, demonstrable lie.

All Obama did is agree to Republican governors’ request for flexibility. That’s it. Indeed, perhaps the most jaw-dropping aspect of this is that Romney himself, during his one gubernatorial term, asked for the same kind of flexibility on welfare law that Obama agreed to last month. Romney, in other words, is attacking the president for doing what Romney asked the executive branch to do in 2005.

….

And that brings us back to the test for the political world.

How are we to respond to a campaign that deliberately deceives the public without shame? This lie about welfare policy comes on the heels of Romney’s lie about voting rights in Ohio, whichcame on the heels of Romney’s lies about the economy; which came on the heels of Romney’s lies about health care; which came on the heels of Romney’s lies about taxes.

The Republican nominee for president is working under the assumption that he can make transparently false claims, in writing and in campaign advertising, with impunity. Romney is convinced that there are no consequences for breathtaking dishonesty.

The test, then, comes down to a simple question: is he right?

We might not think we need confirmation of Romney’s answer to that, but should you have wondered whether he might begin to waiver, or find himself at a loss for any further descent into shamelessness, consider how, just yesterday, Romney approached the matter of his own objections to an Obama campaign ad.

“You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad,” Romney said on Bill Bennett’s radio show. “They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead. You know, the various fact-checkers look at some of these charges in the Obama ads and they say that they’re wrong, and inaccurate, and yet he just keeps on running them.”

Why, campaigns pulled the ad.”

The blow up among conservatives this week reminded us all of one thing very clearly – no one can trust this man. He simply is not fit to be president.

AJA

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