Monday, April 23, 2018
Opinion

The audacity of mendacity

From the mouth of a political apparatchik a smidgen of truth was actually uttered.

It was not that long ago Mitt Romney pollster Neil Newhouse offered up a rare moment of candor.

After being confronted by reporters covering the Joe Isuzu campaign with numerous inaccurate, false and misleading statements being dished up by the candidate, Newhouse responded by declaring the Romney team was ''not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

At least on this point, the Romney campaign has been consistent.

In the waning days of the campaign, Romney approved a commercial breathlessly claiming that General Motors and Chrysler, which received federal bailout money, were moving autoworker jobs away from places like Ohio to (cue The Internationale) China.

Both corporations denied any such plan was in the works and various irritating fact-check organizations such as the Tampa Bay Times' PolitiFact ladled Pants On Fire ratings upon the advertisement for its total disregard for the truth.

In this bitter campaign environment, Romney's 50 shades of bloviating managed to accomplish at least five Dick Cheneys, three Clifford Irvings and perhaps a few of Irwin Mainway's Bag O Glass.

This wasn't merely a campaign fudging a fact here, massaging a detail there. This was a commercial with less fealty to truth telling than a Glenn Beck radio show production meeting.

General Motors and Chrysler had to explain to a guy who claims to understand how business works that they were planning to open manufacturing operations in China to serve the Asian markets just as they do elsewhere around the world, while also adding American workers to plants in places such as Toledo.

And they were able to expand their businesses largely because the federal rescue of the auto industry, which Mitt Romney opposed, saved a vital economic institution.

This is also why companies like General Motors and Chrysler are referred to as multinational corporations. They probably even teach this stuff at Romney's alma mater, Harvard University.

So distorted was the Romney approved ad that a General Motors official suggested that it was "absolutely bereft of any fundamental understanding of the global automotive industry," hardly a ringing endorsement of a candidate who claims to be such an economic genius he makes Milton Friedman look like Three Card Monte hustler.

Romney could have insisted the commercial be shelved. He could have owned up to his role in perpetrating an advertising scam. He could have at least said "Oooops." He could have been an adult.

Instead, Romney has continued to air the debunked, deflated and defrocked ad. This would be a bit like the producers of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter promoting it as the biggest box office hit of all time.

Please excuse a pinch of cynicism. But it's entirely likely Romney is happily willing to foist a fraudulent advertisement off on the public because he has made the calculation that people are gullible and will fall for any barnyard phooey that vaguely comports with what they want to believe.

In the end, it matters not a whit to the Romney campaign they are engaged in a scam that might be best described as the audacity of mendacity.

What matters is that as the campaign clock ticks down, Romney can scare the bejabbers out of as many voters as possible, especially in Ohio, to believe the corporations given federal tax dollars to survive are now looking for showroom space in Tiananmen Square for all those Jeeps.

It was during the Cheney administration when reporter Ron Suskind was told by a White House official that journalists were to be avoided because they were part of that nagging "reality-based community."

The good news is that if these same people can obviously find jobs shilling for the Baghdad Bob of Boston, perhaps the employment prospects for the rest of us back on Earth are not so bleak.

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