Weekly, Steve Benen tallies up the latest instances of Mitt's Mendacity. At longer intervals, the Dish flags Romneys Big Lies, the core myths of his case against an imaginary Obama. I find the laser focus on lying a little narrow: the modes of Mitt's deception are manifold. As a private equity chief, Romney was a master of playing a rigged game, or of himself rigging games in his firm's favor; he has carried that skill to the political arena. He would have the election played by Romney Rules, compiled below.
1. Context doesn't matter. Anything you say I may use against you, e.g., by making it sound like you said the opposite.
2. My record shall be judged by different standards from that of my opponent. For example, job losses in my first year in office don't count; in his, they shall define his entire record.
3. What I said 18, 10, 4, or 3 years ago doesn't matter. Erase it from your mind. I've been as consistent as human beings (all three of me) can be.
4. When confronted directly with past positions that seem to contradict current ones, I may so thoroughly bend the positions back against each other that none shall be able to penetrate my paradoxes.
5. I may erase the memory of my record of past moderation by attacking my opponents for their imagined moderation.
6. It's not my responsibility to counter the lies, smears, paranoid delusions or bloodthirstiness of my supporters.
7. I may myself endlessly repeat wild accusations about my opponent that have no basis in fact. Relatedly, I may draw an endless series of false contrasts (on healthcare, Detroit rescue, stimulus) between my policies and his.
8. I may refrain from taking a stand on pending legislation that, if passed, will have a profound impact on Americans' lives.
9. I may promise enormous new tax cuts and call them "revenue neutral" without spelling out the correspondingly enormous tax loophole closures needed to offset those cuts -- or the enormous spending cuts that even a "revenue neutral" deficit reduction plan would require.
10. I may lie with impunity to the American people for months and years -- and be rewarded with the presidency.
Update, 6/11: today emergeth Romney Rule #11: I may simultaneously level mutually exclusive charges against my opponent.
Update, 6/12: Romney Rule #12 (appropriated from Newt Gingrich) I may deny that I said what I said yesterday and refuse to talk about it.
Update 8/10: Romney Rule #13: Any attack on me negates all rules of engagement . And Romney Rule #14: You are responsible for your side's Super PAC; I'm not for mine
Update 9/10: More revealing than the Romney Rules are the Romney positions - all 69 of them.
Update 9/23: Three new rules here. In brief: Romney Rule #15: Accessing the tax breaks allowed by the tax code is a sign of moral
turpitude in poor people, and a sign of virtue justly rewarded in
the hyperwealthy. #16: Rules of engagement negotiated with a media outlet (or presumably,
any other corporation or person) may be abrogated at will if said
outlet is spineless enough to relent. And #17: Acknowledging error or wrongdoing by any American on the international
stage is dangerous weakness when the administration does it, but
laudable candor when it I do it.
Update 10/17: from the Hoftstra debate, Romney Rule #18: debate rules are to inhibit my opponent's behavior, not mine.
Sunday Open Thread
23 minutes ago