Gaffe, Exaggeration, And Lies

In an election year every misstatement by the opposing candidate is typically picked apart and presented as evidence that the opponent is unfit to be president. Some matter, but others do not.

In the category of gaffes which do not matter all that much, there is Mitt Romney telling a homeless flood victim to “go home and call 211.” Sure, that doesn’t make much sense, but it is not all that meaningful. Mitt Romney obviously was in no position to really do anything for the people affected and went prepared with a stock answer of advising to call 211 for assistance. I’ve often told patients with problems I cannot do anything about to call 211. Including “go home” in the advice was a clear gaffe, but hardly the reason why I would not vote for Romney.

I am far more concerned over statements which more clearly relate to Romney’s worldview and which are likely to affect policy, such as his recommendation that students borrow money from their parents to start a business. That clearly works in the Romney family, but not all families have money to spare.

I am also far more concerned by the vast number of lies told by Romney. Steve Benen added thirty more lies in volume 32 of his weekly collection of Romney lies.

Another trivial scandal involves Ryan appearing to exaggerate how fast he ran in a marathon. Yes, Paul Ryan is a liar, but I am far more concerned about all the clearly false statements he made in his acceptance speech. Maybe some opponents of Romney-Ryan think that showing Ryan lied about how fast he can run will help convince people that he is a liar. It is far more meaningful to demonstrate how many of the statements he made in his speech were outright lies (as many journalists, fact checking organizations, and bloggers have already done).

With Ryan’s lies being so well documented, some have moved beyond that to ask follow up questions. The Week asks Why Paul Ryan thought he could get away with lying: 6 theories. The article ran with this subheading: “The VP nominee’s big speech at the Republican National Convention set off alarm bells at fact-checking operations nationwide. What was he thinking?”

Of course lies were to be expected from a convention which used a misquotation from Obama as its theme).