All politicians bend the truth and facts to their advantage. For that reason you will hardly ever hear a politician call another politician a liar. Even the media is hesitant to use the term and I must admit I rarely use to the term because growing up saying liar was akin to saying a bad four letter word. In this year’s Presidential Election Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have either been grossly miss-informed (which I doubt) or have been purposely telling the untruth to the American people.
Romney has built an entire campaign on making stuff up, let’s look first at his charge that President Obama told business owners “you didn’t build that” referring to their businesses. Here is what Obama said:
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
It is clear from the full quote that the president was talking about infrastructure: roads, bridges, etc., but this is what Romney accused the President of telling business owners:
“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Also, at the Republican Convention Ryan addressed the country with a speech so full of half-truths even Republican pundits criticized it. On the second night of the convention the keynote address was given by Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan who delivered an address full of half-truths. Ryan accused the President of robbing Medicare (not true), being solely responsible for the U.S. credit downgrade (not true), not embracing Simpson-Bowles (Ryan voted against it), and not protecting the poor (his budget would bury the poor and less fortunate) This is what former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd said of Ryan’s speech:
“Paul Ryan, what he did in his speech, I think so stretched the truth. And I like Paul Ryan, have a lot of great respect for Paul Ryan, but the elements that he said about closing the GM plant which closed before Barack Obama took President [sic], about the Simpson-Bowles bill which he opposed and then all of a sudden he faults Barack Obama for. At some point, the truth should matter…He was trying to convey that Barack Obama was responsible for the closing of that GM plant and that isn’t true.”
Romney’s campaign has released three ads accusing the President of taking the work requirements out of welfare. What the President actually did do was give states more flexibility in operating the welfare program. If a state believes it can institute a program that would take more people from welfare to work than the current program is doing, in their state, the Obama administration is giving state’s a waiver from implementing parts of the federal program and replacing them with their own program. Republican Governors are the main ones who asked for this waiver, and when Romney was the Governor of Massachusetts he requested a similar waiver.
Libby Spencer, who covers politics at the Detroit News, recently wrote on the topic:
“Mitt Romney is lying again. This time he’s blowing the tired “welfare queen” dogwhistle and falsely claiming President Obama is trying to remove the work requirement out of what was called workfare when President Clinton originally reformed the federal welfare program.
NBC News political director Chuck Todd recently noted: “… They haven’t undone the work requirements…”
The New York Times recently said of Romney’s claim:
“Mitt Romney’s campaign has hit new depths of truth-twisting with its accusation that President Obama plans to “gut welfare reform” by ending federal work requirements. The claim is blatantly false, but it says a great deal about Mr. Romney’s increasingly desperate desire to define the president as something he is not.”
Romney’s recent tall tales were told at the first Presidential Debate. Everyone agrees that Romney won the debate based on his aggressive style, but he once again provided no substance. On top of providing no substance Romney stood before 60 million Americans and lied. Romney disavowed old positions he once held in an attempt to be everything to everybody. According to Tim Dickinson of the Rolling Stones Magazine here are the top 5 Romney’s lies from the debate:
1. “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut.” Romney flatly lied about the cost of his proposal to cut income-tax rates across the board by another 20 percent (undercutting even the low rates of the Bush tax cuts). Independent economists at the Tax Policy Center have shown that the price tag for those cuts is $360 billion in the first year, a cost that extrapolates to $5 trillion over a decade.
2. “I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.” Romney has claimed that he will pay for his tax cuts by closing a variety of loopholes and deductions. The factual problem? Romney hasn’t named a single loophole he’s willing to close; worse, there’s no way to offset $5 trillion in tax cuts even if you get rid of the entire universe of deductions for the wealthy that Romney has not put off the table (like the carried interest loophole or the 15 percent capital gains rate.) The Tax Policy Center report concludes that Romney’s proposal would create a “net tax cut for high-income tax payers and a net tax increase for lower- and or middle-income taxpayers.” Moreover, some of Romney’s tax cuts are micro-targeted at American dynasties, particularly his proposal to eliminate the estate tax, which would reduce his own sons’ tax burden by tens of millions of dollars.
3. “We’ve got 23 million people out of work or [who have] stopped looking for work in this country.” Romney is lying for effect. The nation’s crisis of joblessness is bad, but not 23 million bad. The official figure is 12.5 million unemployed. An additional 2.6 million Americans have stopped looking for jobs. How does Romney gin up his eye-popping 23 million figure? He counts more than 8 million wage earners who hold part-time jobs as also being “out of work.”
4. Obamacare “puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have.” Romney is reviving Sarah Palin’s old death panels lie here. Obamacare does establish an Independent Payment Advisory Board to help constrain the growth of Medicare spending. The body has no authority to dictate the practices of the private insurance marketplace. And the law also makes explicit that this body is banned from rationing care or limiting medical benefits to seniors.
5. “Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.” In the biggest whopper of the night, Romney suggested that his health care proposal would guarantee coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions. This is just not true. Under Romney, if you have a pre-existing condition and have been unable to obtain insurance coverage or if you have had to drop coverage for more than 90 days because you lost your job or couldn’t afford the premiums, you would be shit out of luck. Insurance companies could continue to discriminate and deny you coverage, as even Romney’s top adviser conceded after the debate was over.
After Romney’s debate performance many conservatives, such as David Brooks of the New York Times, has pronounced the return of “Moderate Mitt”, the real Romney, but there is no real Romney. Mitt Romney is a say anything businessman who will do and say anything to close a deal, and hey, he has been successful at it. He made millions of dollars closing down American businesses and shipping those jobs overseas, he was moderate when he governed Massachusetts, a right-wing conservative when he was in the Republican Primary, and now he is a moderate again. Romney has no political core. If we can’t trust him to tell the truth on a debate stage, how could we ever trust him to tell the truth if he was to become President?