I honestly don't mean this post as an attack on Mitt Romney's character - I am genuinely puzzled as to why the man lies so much. Because he does lie - a lot.
And I'm not talking about Romney's epic flip-flopping on issues that matter to many conservatives, including abortion, gun control, stem cell research, DADT, and carbon emissions. It should be obvious to everyone having half a brain that Romney is one of those politicians who will say anything to get elected - otherwise, there's no way that he could have gone from being governor of Massachusetts to being the main contender for the Republican nomination for President. You can call him a flip-flopper, but personally, I understand the guy - he's obviously hungry for power and doesn't care what he has to say or do to get it. If you're comfortable voting for that kind of guy, that's fine.
But what has really baffled me recently, especially during the two recent back-to-back Republican primary debates this weekend, is how much and often Romney straight out lies - effortlessly and without hesitation or shame - and how no one seems to notice, or if they notice, at least not to care. Some of these lies are big, but most of the big lies are tired, demonstrably false lies propegated by all Republican presidential candidates. In repeating these lies, Romney is just echoing the general Republican untruths on these topics:
- Eliminating "Obamacare" ... "saves $95 billion a year." Politifact rating: False
- "We're only inches away from no longer being a free economy." Politifact rating: Pants on Fire!
- "President Barack Obama has opened up no new trade relationships with other nations." Politifact rating: False
- "President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes" (i.e. "is a socialist.") Politifact rating: Pants on Fire!
- President Obama has enacted massive defense cuts.
For example, during the debate this morning, Newt accused Romney of lying in his ads in Iowa. Romney responded by saying that he hadn't seen any of the ads Newt was talking about (since they were actually run by a SuperPAC, not Romney's campaign), but seconds later, he turns around and not only admits that he's seen at least one of the ads, but he describes it in detail. Watch the moment, via ThinkProgress:
OK, if Romney saw the ad, why did he initially lie about it? I mean, I'm sure the ad probably played at least a hundred times while Romney was in Iowa recently - if he was anywhere near a TV, he probably saw it. Why lie about it? There just seems to be no point to the lie, other than to lie for sport, or out of habit, like a bad kid who lies about everything just because he can, or to see whether he can get away with it.
There was also Romney's casual lie about Obama being personally responsible for putting 25 million people out of work - which is so preposterous that the only reason no one was horrified by this ridiculous lie is because everyone on the right is buying into the same lie and everyone on the left expects this kind of dishonesty from Romney and the other Republican presidential candidates. If Obama is really powerful enough to employ or dis-employ 25 million people personally, then he should just summon fire to rain down on the next Republican debate and wipe out all his rivals. (Sarcasm alert is in effect for the previous sentence, in case you missed it.)
Even though it's obvious that Romney will never be my man (seeing as how I would prefer Gingrich), the real problem is that I will not and, indeed, cannot ever trust the man, on a very basic level. I just can't trust a guy who lies so easily and frequently about so many matters, both big and small, often for no apparent reason. After all, if he's lying about Obama's record, about his own record at Bain, and about whether or not he watched a political ad, what else will he lie to the American people about? Just about anything, I fear.