Mitt Romney is not merely a political spin-meister, or just an apostatizer. Mitt Romney is neither an ordinary deceiver, trickster, nor cheat. Mitt Romney is a liar. Guess what? Paul Ryan is a liar too. So Congressman Ryan, as you eloquently stated (in a quiet room I’m sure), I AM calling you and your boss liars. Mainly because it’s the truth.
In a country that used to believe that a man’s word is his bond for which no written contracts were needed, much less digital visual verifications, there was no act as shameful as telling a lie. I’m sure that even Sarah Palin’s lack of historical acumen can remember the story of George Washington and the misfortune that befell a certain cherry tree; and that the “foundingnest” of all our founding fathers refused to tell a lie.
Mitt Romney is a liar. I know that is strong language, and emotional as that label seems, it’s the only accurate description that comes to mind regarding most of Mitt Romney’s public statements(and some private ones too). But from February, 2012, through September, 2012 Romney touted (as a major component of his campaign for President of the United States) a signature plan to cut taxes.
In his own words, he promised to reduce taxes “on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.” He said those very words over and over again. And Romney did this in the digital age where half of all Americans own smartphones, and two in five Americans own cell phones…with cameras and digital recorders. He said those words to reporters, at rallies all over the country, and he then appears at a televised debate in October and vehemently insisted that the very same proposal “will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.”
There are probably a number of ways that I could tout my proud, state-college, self-importation skills to good use in trying to come up with the perfect term to describe what the GOP has become in general, and what Mitt Romney has demonstrated on too many occasions to count. But when it comes to tax policy, analyzing such hideous, blatant and evil dishonesty is where, for me, economic reporting (which I hold in high self-esteem), became political reporting(which I do not).
Come On All Politicians Fudge, Right?
I’m sorry, but this is where size and girth matter. Just how big a liar is Mitt Romney? Has he always told such whoppers or is it just in politics? Has he lied his way through the so-called great business career as his “followers” ascribe? Do Mormons condone lying, because he was , like, ummmm, a Bishop or something in the Mormon cult, I mean church? Were all those stories about his business acumen lies as well? Who the hell is this guy? Are lies just an accepted way of life for GOP politicians and their propaganda machine, FOX “News” now? Do men really buy Playboy for the stories?
All great questions. But I’m just going to address one of them. Romney was lying in the most recent one (which read a different way would mean every time he opens his mouth), you remember, the one about taxes. Where Mr. Romney told 70 million viewers in the first Presidential Debate that he never said he’d cut taxes across-the-board.
The fact is, he did. And as the Brookings Institute reported, the Republican nominee’s plan, if ratified, would “result in a net tax cut for high-income tax payers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers.”
However, critical as short-term fact checking is, it completely misses the mark on the bigger news rooted in all the deception. In short, it misses the indisputably mind-boggling fact that a Republican nominee for president is now campaigning for president on a promise to not cut taxes on the wealthy.
Whoa. Shut the front door. Say what?
In a purely historical context, this would be nothing short of a watershed moment in the annals of politics. A come-full-circle moment for the Republican Party, if you will.
The time-loop, where this astounding revelation began, started more than a quarter century ago. In the midst of his push to raise taxes, President Ronald Reagan emphatically railed on
“We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10% of his salary, and that’s crazy. It’s time we stopped it.” Reagan went on to criticize a system that “made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary.”
That might sound straight out of President Barack Obama “Buffett Tax” playbook (which today’s conservatives routinely attack as “class warfare”), but in fact, it is the sainted Reagan speaking in 1985. Unfortunately, since then, the GOP reoriented itself around a destructive anti-tax spirituality.
In a matter of a few decades, the national debt predictably exploded as the party’s orthodoxy went from “read my lips, no new taxes” (George H.W. Bush) to “if you raise taxes on these so-called rich, you’re really raising taxes on the job creators” (George W. Bush) to recent years’ pervasive Republican rhetoric about so-called “makers” and “takers.” Yet now, suddenly, Romney is closing the rhetorical loop, repeatedly claiming at the first presidential debate that he will refuse to support any new tax cuts for the wealthy.
Lying Has Become a Republican Fait Accompli
Second-in-Command and full member of the standard-bearing Team Prevarication 2012 (the GOP ticket), Paul Ryan, essentially capitulated that their strategy, that involves lying, is something that just comes with the territory…as long as a Republican is doing the lying of course.
Based on The Romney-Ryan economic proposal’s minutia, a Romney administration will almost certainly try to cut taxes for his fellow 1%-ers. So I suppose, it’s easy to dismiss his or Romney’s debate statements as just inconsequential campaign rhetoric. It really represents nothing more than political expediency.
Really. That’s all. It’s all just political expediency. There’s nothing to see here people, just move along.
Holy crap on a cracker.
But, then, Romney’s lying actually underscores the potentially deeper implication of this moment. It shows that even some leaders of the trickle-down party recognize that voter hostility to plutocratic tax proposals has grown (understandably) intense–so intense, in fact, that GOP leaders know their party must try to publicly disown the trickle-down image, to the point, naturally, of lying about their true agenda.
Little Grover Norquist has even slithered back into the shadows; stalking new victims to coerce into signing his document of pending intimidation once the election is over.
The Eternal Optimist
Now, here’s the kicker: eventually, such brand reinvention efforts often sow the seeds of more genuine changes in policy positions.
None of this means Romney is some valiant hero. It simply means that he has been told by his handlers to “pivot” into the full-o etch-a-sketch politician who sees an America where sufficient numbers of voters exist that finally recognize how much its tax system is skewed toward the wealthy. In such a country, expedience is thankfully no longer synonymous with anti-tax demagoguery. It is, instead, harmonious with a more rational rhetorical posture on tax fairness.
Coming during a fiscal crisis, that larger political shift, so perfectly revealed in Romney’s persistent lying, could be viewed as a potential advancement.
And in a similar light, I bet that somewhere, in Big Pharma World, there are teams of self-sacrificing, altruistic scientists, laboring 24/7/365 to find a cure for male pattern baldness (that wouldn’t necessitate wearing a level 5 bio-hazard suit to apply to one’s head). I bet that someone is closing in on that miraculous discovery right now…but unless Mitt Romney is elected President, all those teams of dedicated scientists could be laid off!
Gosh, I wonder if the CEOs of those companies made sure that those workers are aware of the fact that their very livelihood could be in jeopardy if Mitt Romney isn’t elected?