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.

Please Share

Team Obama Playing “Whack A Mitt” With Video Responses To Romney Lies and Whining

Although Mitt Romney is whining about attacks from Obama and appearing all over television (unfortunately without any more tax returns), the Obama team is hitting Romney hard this weekend. There’s the ad above, The ad hits Romney hard on his out-sourcing and tax shelters, but I think the background message is just as strong: Romney’s a goofy guy who sees a point in singing the America the Beautiful and other patriotic songs out of tune at campaign rallies.

This ad hits Romney for his Bain Capital lies.

And here is Obama’s response to Romney asking for an apology–a video showing what a dishonest hypocrite Romney really is. Even Newt Gingrich agrees. It is a great video, but it might have been better if it briefly debunked the long string of lies about Obama which make up Romney’s stump speech. I imagine that its producers believe that Romney’s lies are so outrageous nobody who has not been brainwashed by Fox will believe them. Ending with Newt pointing out what a liar Romney is makes the point.

Please Share

Mitt Romney Remains A Weak Candidate, Except Among The Very Religious

Last night’s primaries, occurring after Rick Santorum left the race, turned out to give pretty much the same picture as when there was more of a contest: Mitt Romney will be the nominee, but many Republicans would prefer to vote for someone else. Smart Politics points out the weakness of Romney’s victories:

Over the last 40 years there have been nearly 80 contests in which the presumptive Republican nominees played out the string after their last credible challenger exited the race.

In every one of these contests, the GOP frontrunner won at least 60 percent of the vote, even when ex- and long-shot candidates remained on the ballot.

But on Tuesday, Romney won only 56 percent of the vote in Delaware and 58 percent in Pennsylvania, home to Rick Santorum who dropped out on April 10th.

While Romney avoided the embarrassment of winning with a mere plurality, never has a presumptive nominee won a primary contest with such a low level of support at this stage of the race with his chief challenger no longer actively campaigning.

Clearly the author doesn’t consider either Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul to be a credible challenger, and the assumption looks valid. Even Newt Gingrich has realized this, dropping out of the race. While Ron Paul’s chances at winning are still the same as at any other point in time,  zero, it will be interesting to see if he manages to receive more primary votes as the last candidate standing, allowing him to take a larger block of delegates to the convention than would otherwise occur.

Jimmy Carter says that, while he would prefer Obama, he would feel comfortable with Romney:

“I’d rather have a Democrat but I would be comfortable — I think Romney has shown in the past, in his previous years as a moderate or progressive… that he was fairly competent as a governor and also running the Olympics as you know. He’s a good solid family man and so forth, he’s gone to the extreme right wing positions on some very important issues in order to get the nomination. What he’ll do in the general election, what he’ll do as president I think is different.”

I would refer Carter to yesterday’s post on this subject. There is certainly a reasonable chance that Romney is more moderate than he now claims to be. It is really impossible to tell what opinions Romney has, or if he even has any, considering the way he can sound sincere while taking either side of any issue. Unfortunately Romney has painted himself into a “severely conservative” corner and will have difficulty moving out. Even should he prefer more moderate positions, it is hard to see him resisting the wishes of a far right wing Congress, which is the most likely result should conditions in the fall favor a Romney victory.

It is clearly far too early to predict who will win. Polls now favor Obama, but they can change by November. I am encouraged by Obama’s strength in most of the battleground states, although he is likely to lose some states he won in 2008. Republicans who were encouraged by a narrow Romney lead in Gallup’s daily tracking poll will not want to see that Obama has jumped to a seven point lead. I suspect that this is more a measure of the uncertainty among many voters as opposed to a major change in positions, but does emphasize the weakness of Romney as a candidate.

Gallup has also found that the usual partisan breakdown along religious lines still holds in a race between Obama and Romney:

Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by 17 percentage points, 54% to 37%, among very religious voters in Gallup’s latest five-day presidential election tracking average. Obama leads by 14 points, 54% to 40%, among the moderately religious, and by 31 points, 61% to 30%, among those who are nonreligious.

If this is viewed purely based upon religion, the results might not make any sense considering Obama’s religious views. There are two additional factors in play. Many Republicans are still fooled by the attacks from the right wing noise machine, with a meaningful number still believing Obama is a Muslim. The other factor is that the concern among many on the religious right is not whether a candidate is religious but whether they will use government to impose their religious views upon others. In this case, perhaps the religious right has a better understanding of the outcome of a Romney presidency than Jimmy Carter shows.

Please Share

Quote of the Day

“Newt Gingrich gave a speech at a senior center. Or as audience members put it, ‘Unplug me.’” –Jimmy Fallon

Please Share

Santorum Suspends Campaign; Romney Nomination Inevitable

It is time for Romney to shake his Etch A Sketch. Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign.  Most likely he realized that it is better to get out now as opposed to being humiliated by a loss in Pennsylvania.

Gingrich is still in but his campaign appears dead. Even Herman Cain is dropping Gingrich for Romney. Ron Paul is still in the race, running ads attacking the other Republican opponents, but he remains with zero chance of ever winning the nomination. It was already pretty clear, but in case anyone had any doubt it is now as certain as it can be before the conventions that the general election will be Romney vs. Obama.

May the honest, consistent man with integrity win.

Please Share

David Letterman: Top Ten Questions To Ask Yourself Before Spending $50 On A Photo With Newt Gingrich

David Letterman: Top Ten Questions To Ask Yourself Before Spending $50 On A Photo With Newt Gingrich

10. How much have I paid for pictures with other guys named Newt?
9. Should I just photograph myself burning $50?
8. Do I look Newty enough?
7. Should I just get a free photo with some other guy who’s not going to be president?
6. Do I have to touch him?
5. Is this how Newt met his three wives?
4. Seriously, have I lost my mind?
3. Does Newt have to be in the photo?
2. What would Rick Santorum think of this idea?
1. Will Rush Limbaugh think I’m a slut?

Please Share

Opponents Quickly Take Advantage Of Romney Campaign “Etch A Sketch” Admission Of Changing Positions

There is one thing which Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Barack Obama probably all agree on–Mitt Romney is a pathological liar whose political career is based upon spending huge amounts of money to try to reshape reality. I don’t know if Mitt Romney is able to distinguish fact from fiction, but if even if he is, it is clear he doesn’t care about that distinction. This makes the Etch A Sketch gaffe especially harmful for Romney, as it reinforces the fact that Romney really does act as if facts are something he can change as easily as shaking an Etch A Sketch.

The DNC released the above web ad. I bet we will see more polished versions on television in the future.

Obama staffers have been tweeting about this–and there is no doubt it will feature big in a campaign which was already to be centered around Romney’s character.

Both Santorum and Gingrich (via David Weigel) brought out their own props to respond to Romney today (but it sure is Orwellian to see an authoritarian extremist such as Rick Santorum campaign in front of a Freedom banner).

Mitt Romney showed the ease with which he lies by claiming it is the campaign organization chart which will change as opposed to his positions.

Please Share

Obama Compares Republicans To Flat Earthers

One thing I’ve always disliked about the Democrats is that they often allow the Republicans and right wing noise machine to demonize them without fighting back. They generally allow Republicans to get away with mischaracterizing their positions, and yet fail to confront Republicans for views which really are bat-shit crazy. Therefore I was pleased to see this from Obama:

President Obama blasted his Republican critics Thursday for their resistance to investing in alternative energy sources, comparing their stance to the beliefs of those who thought that Christopher Columbus would sail off the edge of the world.

In another in a series of speeches defending his energy policies, Obama touted his push for green energy growth — including wind and solar power, electric cars and biofuels — as a way to help wean the nation from a dependence on foreign oil. And he mocked his rivals for failing to embrace his ideas.

“If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they probably must have been founding members of the flat earth society. They would not believe that the world was round,” Obama told an enthusiastic crowd of hundreds of students at Prince George’s Community College in Largo. “Maybe they would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who apparently said, ‘Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan.’ ”

Obama’s remarks marked his latest attempt to win public support for what he calls an “all of the above” energy strategy aimed at boosting domestic production of oil and natural gas, while also improving auto efficiency and investing in green energy.

The president’s rivals have belittled his approach, calling for him to take stronger action to boost drilling and approve the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has mocked Obama for calling algae a potential source of energy.

In his remarks, Obama painted his administration as forward-looking and his critics as stuck in the past.

“Lately, we’ve heard a lot of professional politicians, lot of folks running for certain office, they’ve been talking down new sources of energy,” Obama said. Later he added: “Why would someone who wants to lead the country ignore the facts?”

The linked article also states that Obama’s approval has been falling due to raising gas prices. There has been considerable talk about the poll which claimed to show this, with considerable evidence being presented to question this finding, along with this poll being an outlier, with most recent polls showing an increase in Obama’s approval. Rather than dwelling over a single poll, it would be better to follow the trend over time with further polls.

Please Share

In What Universe Does This Promote Liberty?

Here’s another reason I don’t take the Libertarian Party seriously. Bob Barr, the last Libertarian Party candidate for President in 2008, is supporting Newt Gingrich. And they wonder why many people just see libertarians as Republicans who have smoked marijuana.

Please Share

Jeb Bush Accurately Describes Current GOP Field

Jeb Bush, generally regarded as George’s younger, smarter brother,  has been receiving a lot of credit this week for saying what any sane conservative should realize:

“I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that’s kind of where we are.”

It is a shame he didn’t speak out when his brother was in the White House. While the Republican Party has moved even further to the right, the fact remains that George Bush was probably the most radical right wing president in our history, and few (if any) other presidents have done as much harm to the country as Bush.

I wonder if Jeb is laying the groundwork for a 2016 campaign, already realizing the importance of distancing himself from what could be a disastrous campaign in 2012. This assumes that the Republican Party will be more sane in 2016 than it is now, which is a very questionable prediction. It is easy for Jeb Bush to sound more sane now when he is not running. If he was a candidate for the 2012 nomination he might be forced to act just as insane as Santorum, Gingrich, Paul, and Romney.

There was a time when perhaps Mitt Romney would be the Republican candidate who tried to tone down the extremism and campaign as the sane candidate. Instead Romney has actually tried to campaign with claims of being to the right of Rick Santorum. As Bill Maher has pointed out, that cannot work:  “he can’t be to the right of Rick Santorum because there’s nothing to the right except Kirk Cameron and the Neo-Nazi Party.”

Please Share