The Times' Jodi Kantor is out with a long article about the centrality of faith in Mitt Romney's life and his commitment to living a life of service and rectitude and devotion to God's will as God gives him to see it.
Having read the The Real Romney, a well-documented biography y Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, I don't doubt the truth of this narrative as far as it goes. What is unfathomable to me is the level of doublethink that will allows an extremely able, intelligent, in many ways generous man who believes that God is watching over him to go out and lie every day, in general concept and in detail -- about his opponent's record and beliefs, about his own past positions, about the inevitable effects of his own purported policies. Steve Benen documents 10-20 verifiable lies per week in his now 18-part series, Mitt's Mendacity (Vol. 17 here). Paul Krugman has ably captured the full arc of Romney's false narrative about Obama in his op-ed The Post-Truth Campaign. To review Romney's most fundamental and oft-repeated untruths:
With regard to his opponent's values, Romney lies in asserting that Obama has apologized more than his predecessors for U.S. actions; that Obama does not believe in sustaining U.S. global leadership; and that he believes in equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity. With regard to outcomes, he lies in asserting that Obama made the economy worse; that Obamacare constitutes a 'government takeover' of the healthcare system; that it will radically increase the federal government's share of the economy; that Obama has radically increased government spending or the federal deficit; and most recently, that Obama is more of an old-line liberal than Bill Clinton in his tax policy or healthcare policy. He egregiously manipulates statistics to suggest that Obama's policies have resulted in a net loss of jobs (the economy has added over 4 million since the recession Obama inherited bottomed out) or have disproportionately hurt women (who have suffered the bulk of job losses since the economy returned to growth because of massive state and local government job cuts).
With regard to his own past policies and pronouncements, he lies in asserting that he did not present himself as a defender of a woman's right to choose an abortion or as a gay rights champion; that he regards the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional (he recommended that the legislation incorporate one in a July 2009 op-ed); that he did not rule as governor that Catholic institutions must provide access to the morning after pill to rape victims; and most recently, that he recommended the sequence of bridge loans and federally financed bankruptcy proceedings that rescued GM and Chrysler (he opposed the federal financing that made successful restructuring possible).
Kantor briefly alludes to Romney's willingness to engage in harsh statements and attacks in his election battles and quotes Tony Kimball, his onetime executive secretary in the Mormon Church, reflecting, “I have absolutely no idea how he rationalizes it...It almost seems to be the ends justifying the means.” But never mind the aggression. There is no doubt that Romney has set a new standard for mendacity in presidential campaigning. How does he square away the daily lying in his daily prayers?