Saturday, July 2, 2011

QOTD: Romney's endearing lies

Quote of the Day:
I've always harbored a strange affinity for Mitt Romney, and his hilarious lies about how he's described the economy oddly help illuminate why:
Over the last few weeks, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has argued that President Obama's policies have made the economy worse.

Here was Romney in New Hampshire on Monday:

The people of New Hampshire have waited long enough. They want to see good jobs. They want to see rising incomes. They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.

And he said something similar at the New Hampshire debate earlier this month:

He didn't create the recession, but he made it worse and longer.

But at his press conference today in Allentown, PA -- where he was highlighting a company that had closed, after President Obama touted it benefitting from the stimulus -- Romney backtracked on the he-made-it-worse line.

When NBC producer Sue Kroll asked the former Massachusetts governor why he believes that Obama's policies have made the economy worse -- when the economy is now growing (and not shrinking like it was in 2009), when the Dow is climbing (and no longer in a free-fall like it was in '09), and when the unemployment rate is down a full percentage point from where it was in Oct. '09 -- Romney gave this answer:

I didn't say that things are worse.

Imagine George W. Bush in this situation. If confronted with a reporter touting statistics undercutting his economic claim, Bush would simply give a non-quantifiable answer. People are hurtin'. Democrats want to raise yer taxes. Or whatever. Dodging a question like that is not tricky.

But Romney does not, instinctively, want to dodge a question like that. He's not a natural bullshitter. His instinct is to align his position with the facts. Presented with facts demonstrating that the economy is clearly better than it was when Obama took office, he chooses instead to refine his critique.

The result is utterly dishonest, but the instinct underlying the result springs from a desire to engage intellectually rather than deflect the question with nonsensical talking points. I prefer straight-up dishonesty over bullshit. It's evidence of a logical mind at work. - Jonathan Chait


Rena said...

I really like (and agree with) your political posts.

Chimeradave said...

If I'd been the reporter I would have asked "What is your plan to create more jobs and lower unemployment?"

Criticism seems to be the main Republican talking point,, but they never get around to saying what they'd do different.

WCG said...

Thanks, Rena. Too bad there aren't 200 million more of you here in America. :)

John, we've already seen what the Republicans would do differently. After all, I don't think they're saying anything that wasn't a GOP policy position throughout the Bush administration.

Remember when tax cuts for the rich were supposed to pay for themselves, creating a huge economic boom? Well, they're still saying that. That's the thing with faith-based thinking: evidence means nothing.

And frankly, I was impressed that this NBC producer questioned him at all, or at least that she pointed out the facts, rather than just reporting whatever he wanted to say.

Even in politics, there are facts. Not everything is just opinion. But since reality has a notorious liberal bias, reporting the facts tends to get reporters in trouble with the right-wing.

Chimeradave said...

It just seems to me that since the media doesn't challenge Republicans they are a part of the problem.

I learned in journalism 101 that journalism was about getting the facts not about being wish-washy.

My professor didn't prescribe to the theory that the media were the "Watchdogs" of the nation, but he sure as hell wouldn't have wanted them to be the limp, powerless, pathetic, and worthless excuses for journalists that they have become.

WCG said...

Well, John, since I majored in Journalism in college, I agree with you completely. I kind of wonder what journalism professors say about things these days.

Admittedly, even back then, public relations was considered part of journalism. So maybe it's all public relations now, all about making money, no matter what you have to do for it.

Chimeradave said...

I majored in public relations (graduated in 2004) and I took many journalism classes because both programs were under the department of communications. But there was NEVER talk of the two professions being related.

In fact in my journalism ethics class we discussed many times that you had to have a strong sense of ethics and right and wrong in journalism (or PR) and if your boss asked you to do something against your ethics it was your responsibility to quit and find another job. Certainly this is not an easy choice in real life as no one wants to be unemployeed, but if you don't have ethics then you aren't a professional. End of story.

WCG said...

Ah, well, they were both in the College of Journalism when I went to school, John.

And re. ethics, it's all fine to teach that, but in the real world, ethics will seldom trump necessity. When you need a job, and especially when you have a family to support, it's really, really hard to choose ethics over a steady paycheck.

And human nature being what it is, it's very easy to believe what you want to believe. I'm sure people at Fox "News" have convinced themselves that they're doing the right thing, for one reason or another.

After all, it's probably easier to lie to yourself than to anyone else.