Mitt Romney Admits He Didn’t Believe What He Said

“What I said is not what I believe.” –Mitt Romney in interview with Fox

Romney was specifically referring to the 47 percent comment but this quote has attracted considerable attention today for what it says about Mitt Romney’s entire political career.  As First Read commented, “Folks, that one sentence sums up Romney’s two failed presidential bids.”

Ironically, the 47 percent comment appears to be about the only thing Romney really believed during the campaign. He even showed this mind set during the same interview.

In a polarized political world, disgust over Mitt Romney’s dishonesty is a rare thing which many on the left and right agreed about. Liberals objected to the manner in which Romney repeatedly lied about everything from Obama’s positions to economic statistics to questions on his own background during the campaign. Steve Benen documented 917 falsehoods during the campaign (and over the course of the year I noticed a few more which didn’t make the list).

Conservatives also distrusted him, believing that his conversion to far-right conservatism was opportunistic and not sincere. They were also right to mistrust him. Take this assessment of Romney from Daniel Larison at  The American Conservative:

Of course, it never mattered whether Romney “really” believed what he was saying, because it became clear years ago that he would have said almost anything to win. In that case, it was a good bet that Romney was always more likely to lie to his audience than not, and for that reason he disqualified himself through sheer, overwhelming dishonesty. When in doubt, it was safe to assume that Romney was lying, and it was usually safe to assume the worst about his intentions. If there was a chance that he might cave in to hard-liners and ideologues in his party, there was no reason to believe that he would ever stand up to them. When the 47% remarks came out, it didn’t matter whether he believed what he had said, because he had been willing to say it and he had done so because he was so desperate to appeal to the worst elements in his party. As it was, everyone assumed that he didn’t believe what he was saying, but we attributed it to his unprincipled willingness to pander, which simply made his awful statements seem that much worse.

Romney told more falsehoods than most politicians, but other conservatives were coming close. To a considerable degree Romney’s falsehoods echoed the false narratives which are common in echo chamber of the conservative movement, as they falsely portray liberals as supporters of big government and out of control spending when this is a better description of actual Republican policies when they are in power. Newt Gingrich is often as out of touch with reality as any conservative, and at other times provides an accurate insight into politics. He was honest in an interview with Salon:

…I think conservatives in general got in the habit of talking to themselves. I think that they in a sense got isolated into their own little world. So our pollsters, many of whom were wrong about turnout. No Republican pollster thought you could get 87 percent turnout in Milwaukee. You just sort of have to say that to some extent the degree to which we believed that the other side was kidding themselves, it turned out in fact in the real world – this is a part of what makes politics so fascinating – it turned out in the real world we were kidding ourselves.

Reality intruded into predictions of the election outcome. Does Gingrich realize that the same isolation from reality applies to virtually all the noise now coming out of the conservative movement? Being out of touch with reality, as well as the beliefs of most Americans, is why the Republicans are now unable to win a national election.


  1. 1
    John says:

    Gingrich honest?  Nope.  Saying that conservative politicians “in a sense got isolated” is a hilarious understatement of the effect, and a clumsy dodge of the conservative’s one-percenter agenda.  The isolation wasn’t an accident; it was and continues to be a fundamental design feature that Gingrich isn’t looking to change except to enhance it.  
    Gingrich is still a liar, one who shouldn’t fool anyone.

  2. 2
    Frank Moraes says:

    I still don’t think that Romney’s campaign or the 47% comment had anything to do with his loss. He lost because the economy was improving. If the recovery had collapsed, he might have won.
    Having said that, I think the 47% comment perfectly encapsulates the conservative movement. Not the number, but the idea that there are good people and bad people. The good people work hard and get ahead. The bad people lie around and siphon off wealth from the good people. We cannot overstate how important this concept is to conservatives.
    The problem for Republicans is that the poor know (1) that they work very hard and (2) that the conservatives are targeting them when they make these claims. In my life, I know lots of poor people but very few “takers.” And a large fraction of the “takers” are conservative! I am forever amazed by SSI recipients who rant about “welfare scum.” Somehow, there is always an exception carved out for themselves.

  3. 3
    John H says:

    How can anyone trust anything King Willard says. He has changed his mind on so many issues so many times that I am not sure he knows what he believes. The one exception to that is his belief that he is a privileged person who should be President.
    The problem with lying is you have to remember what you told to which people.

  4. 4
    chris g says:

    I believe that Romney lost because Anonymous threatened to exposed computer manipulations in the vote and  therefore they did not happen.  The shock everyone on the right felt when he lost was because he was meant to win.  They have continuously hacked our elections and destroyed our democracy.  Look what is happening right now in the governor recall election in Wisconsin.  It was surprising that he was not recalled…was it not?  That is because evidence is showing that the computers were hacked.  Stay may even be proven by a hand recount.

  5. 5
    Sidney18511 says:

    The problem with the GOP is that the hate they have for Obama and democrats in general, is so deep and so ingrained that they would vote for Charlie Manson if he was their canidate.

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