A New York Times editorial this morning noted, almost in passing, that Mitt Romney's "entire campaign rests on a foundation of short, utterly false sound bites." That's true, but the fact that such observations have become commonplace is itself rather jarring.
It's equally jarring to appreciate why Romney does this. As Kevin Drum explained this week, the Republican presidential hopeful tells falsehoods because he knows he can get away with it.
Politicians have increasingly discovered over the past couple of decades that even on a national stage you can lie pretty blatantly and pay no price, since the mainstream media, trapped in its culture of objectivity, won't really call you on it, limiting themselves to fact checking pieces ... buried on an inside page. And because virtually nobody except political junkies ever see this stuff, it doesn't hurt their campaigns at all.
I agree, and yet, I feel compelled to make an effort anyway, hoping that accountability still plays some role in the American political discourse. With that in mind, consider the 22nd installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. Trying to clean up his own mess, Romney told Fox News, "[T]eachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn't pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen."
That's simply not true.
2. In Iowa, Romney blamed Obama for the fact that "the median income in America has dropped by 10 percent over the last four years."
That only makes sense if we count Obama's first year in office, which relies on a standard Romney believes is fundamentally unfair.
3. In the same Iowa speech, Romney claimed about the president, "[H]is answer for economic vitality by the way, was of course pushing aside the private sector."
There is no universe in which this is even remotely accurate.
4. Romney added that Obama has failed to "reduce the deficit."
Actually, Obama reduced the deficit in his first year in office by over $100 billion. What's more, the deficit is projected to shrink again this year.
5. Romney also claimed, "Congress was his with a super majority for two years."
That's demonstrably false. In Obama's first two years, Democrats did not have a supermajority for 20 out of 24 months.
6. Romney argued in the same speech, "If I'm the president of the United States, we're going to stop this out-of-control spending."
If reality has any meaning at all, there is no out-of-control spending.
7. Romney added, "[If I'm the president of the United States, we're going to stop this] prairie fire of debt."
8. Romney released a video this week, claiming that President Obama "touted the fact that government employment had fallen on his watch."
Romney took Obama's quote wildly out of context as part of another attempt at deception.
9. Romney claimed in a separate ad that during his one term as governor, he "had the best jobs record in a decade."
There's clear evidence to the contrary.
10. At a campaign stop in Florida, commenting on Nemschoff Chairs moving from Iowa to Wisconsin, Romney said of Obama, "He said he didn't understand that Obamacare was hurting small business. He doesn't understand that Obamacare impacts small business."
11. In the same speech, Romney said of the Affordable Care Act, "It's simply unaffordable."
Actually, that's backwards. If Romney kills the law, according to CBO estimates, he'll add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt in the coming years.
12. Romney also said in Florida, "When they saw the president campaign four years ago, he didn't mention to them that he was planning on cutting Medicare by $500 billion to pay for his health care plan, but that's what he did."
Romney has said this countless times, but it doesn't change the fact that it's not true.
13. In the same speech, Romney said, "In the last three and a half years China and the European nations have put together some 44 different trade agreements, opening up markets for them around the world. Guess how many trade agreements this president has negotiated over the last three and a half years? Zip. Zero."
Panama, Colombia, and South Korea know better.
14. Romney also argued in Orlando, "This president is leading us to become Europe, and Europe doesn't work in Europe."
The irony is, Europe is trying to grow through austerity, just as Romney intends to do here. He's lying in a self-refuting sort of way.
15. In remarks to the Business Roundtable, Romney claimed, "The stimulus that he put in place upon coming into office was not primarily directed at re-igniting the private sector, but was instead associated with trying to protect the governmental sector."
That's the exact opposite of reality.
16. In the same speech, Romney complained, "The rate of regulatory increase has jumped three-fold from that of his predecessor."
Actually, Obama approved fewer regulations in his first three years in office than Bush did in his first three years.
17. On energy policy, Romney said Obama "has made it almost impossible to mine coal and to use coal."
In reality, coal production is up, not down.
18. On financial regulatory reform, Romney argued, "The impact is seeing, first, by community banks, for instance, that find it harder for them to keep up with the regulations and therefore less likely for them to make loans to small and emerging businesses."
According to community banks, this is plainly untrue. These banks have actually gotten stronger after Dodd-Frank, and the president of Independent Community Bankers Of America recently said, "I am sick of Wall Street using community banks as their shills to scarecommunity bankers into stampeding Congress into undoing provisions of law that finally attempt to deal with too big to fail and Wall Street overreach."
19. In Cincinnati yesterday, Romney said, "The president said that if we let him borrow $787 billion for a stimulus, he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent nationally."
Romney says this just about every day. It's not true.
20. In the same speech, Romney argued, "That stimulus didn't work. That stimulus didn't put more private-sector people to work."
The stimulus did work and it did put more private-sector people to work.
21. Also in Ohio, Romney added, "This president has put together -- he has put together almost as much public debt as all the prior presidents combined."
22. Romney went on to say, "I met a woman from Las Vegas who has a business renting furniture to casinos and to conventioneers that come to Las Vegas. When President Obama said no need to go to Las Vegas for company meetings, don't spend money there, her business collapsed."
Obama actually said, in reference to Wall Street recklessness, "You are not going to be able to give out these big bonuses until you pay taxpayers back. You can't get corporate jets. You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime. There's got to be some accountability and some responsibility." The success or failure of some random business in Nevada is not the president's fault.