‘The best part is, it’s really easy to lie’

The title here comes from The Onion. It’s satire, but it captures the past week of political news better than cable news:

Romney Proudly Explains How He’s Turned His Campaign Around

AP photo.

For weeks many Beltway insiders had written off the Romney campaign as dead, saying the candidate had dug himself into too deep a hole with too little time to recover. However, with a month to go before ballots are cast, Romney has pulled even with President Obama, and the former Massachusetts governor credits his rejuvenated campaign to one, singular tactic: lying a lot.

“I’m lying a lot more, and my lies are far more egregious than they’ve ever been,” a smiling Romney told reporters while sitting in the back of his campaign bus, adding that when faced with a choice to either lie or tell the truth, he will more than likely lie. “It’s a strategy that works because when I lie, I’m essentially telling people what they want to hear, and people really like hearing things they want to hear. Even if they sort of know that nothing I’m saying is true.”

“It’s a freeing strategy, really, because I don’t have to worry about facts or being accurate or having any concrete positions of any kind,” Romney added.

Romney said he is telling at least 80 percent more lies now than he was two months ago. Buoyed by his strong debate performance, which by his own admission included 40 or 50 instances of lying in one 90-minute period, the candidate said he will continue to “just openly lie [his] ass off” until the Nov. 6 election.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Obama will move America to force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies.”

“It’s not bad enough that it was raining and cold. Now there were Nazis too.” (via)

“If they can see President Obama as a lazy, stealing, unaccomplished, incompetent black man, how do those same white folks see me, a bus driver, teacher, barber, doctor, attorney, home healthcare worker, or parent?”

“This is the whole deal. Romney lied through his teeth about his tax policy, which would give huge cuts to high income earners and big increases for most middle class families.”

Call it Etch-A-Sketch, call it the Gish Gallop, call it lies — it’s all about the same.”

Romney spoke for 38 minutes of the 90-minute debate and told at least 27 myths.”

“I’m hoping a President Romney will see the House GOP as labor. Then they’re really f—ed.”

“Approximately one in ten Americans wrongly believe PBS and its parent, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, gets about a third or even half of the entire federal budget annually.”

“Romney, reading a prepared text from a teleprompter … said President Obama ‘has not signed one new free trade agreement,’ despite the fact that’s blatantly, demonstrably untrue.”

“When it comes to lies and half-truths, Romney saves his best stuff for foreign policy.”

Mitt Romney agrees with you.”

Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XXXVII

A History of Dishonest Fox Charts


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  • *sigh*

    There is no desk large enough to withstand the magnitude of my headdesk.

  • Nat

    That’s what Drone-attack O-bomba does – he lies! Attack not only Republican winguttiness, but also American Imperialism – no matter whether it comes from the Dems or the Reps. You don’t want to be a Social-Imperialist, do you?

  • aunursa

    If Obama thought that Romney was lying, he should have taken charge and said it to his face … rather than whining the next day in a desperate attempt to explain away his abysmal debate performance.

  • aunursa

    Even Obama campaign representative Stephanie Cutter admitted that her boss lied when he claimed that Romney’s plan involved a $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy.

  • aunursa
  • Morilore

    His own abysmal debate performance was, in fact, that he failed to call Romney a liar to his face.


    How do people NOT realize this absurd crap is pure button-pushing?

    I suspect that for many it’s a gradual process.

    I mean, at any given moment, for any given person, SOME set of statements is too absurd to take seriously.

    But many people believe that just because someone on my team is a ridiculous extremist, that’s no reason for me to disbelieve the more reasonable voices on my team. And for many people the existence of the absurd crap — even if not actually believed — extends the range of what voices are considered “more reasonable.”

    And gradually, such people — and I have been one of those people at various times, and no doubt will be again if I don’t happen to be right now; it’s a common human condition — come to believe things that at one time would have seemed too absurd to believe.

  • aunursa
  •  Perhaps he should have. Certainly many people who claim to support him have said repeatedly that he should have.

    That being said, it’s certainly possible for me to care about who is lying about what, without reference to what does or doesn’t explain debate performances, or what those performances should or should not have been.

  • aunursa

    I expect the vice presidential debate on Thursday will go something like this…

    Paul Ryan: Our plan is to increase revenue by lowering tax rates.
    Joe Biden: Liar! Liar!  Pants on fire!

  •  None of that magically undoes any of Romney’s lies.

  • Carstonio

     Stop treating the election as though it were a competition and lies were simply a form of cheating. Totaling up the number of lies for each candidate, while useful, misses the larger picture. The issue is that Romney has been playing despicable Southern Strategy politics by using government assistance as a dog whistle,  his economic plan would push the nation further toward oligarchy, and his party’s stance on equality for women and for LGBT folks is barbaric.

  • CharityB

     Yes, but Obama lied too. That makes Romney’s lies… true?

  • If Obama thought that Romney was lying, he should have taken charge and said it to his face


    People who wanted to believe Romney will still believe Romney, even when evidence shows he’s lying. If anything, calling out his lies would serve to make those folks more committed to him.

    And that’s before we get into the racial politics of a black man looking “angry” or “uppity” in “attacking” a white man. 

    Calling Romney a liar, on national television, would have helped solidify Romney’s weak support with the base, and would have given closeted bigots a rallying point. 

  • Emcee, cubed

    Never actually watched Joe Biden in a debate, have you? It’s much more likely to go like this:

    Paul Ryan: Our plan is to increase revenue by lowering tax rates.
    Joe Biden: So you are planning to do something that has only worked a couple of times throughout history under very specific conditions that don’t exist at this point in time? And even when it did work that way, it only did so for a very short period of time? Your logic seems to be that every time the tax rate is lowered, it increases revenue. That has rarely been the case throughout history. [insert various points in history, including the Bush tax cuts, when this didn’t happen]

    Anyone who subscribes to the popular myth that Biden is a bumbling buffoon hasn’t ever actually watched Joe Biden speak. And definitely has never watched Biden debate. 

  • aunursa

    Oh, I’m sorry.  I should have realized I needed to include a sarcasm tag.

  • aunursa

    But the election is a competition, and both sides do lie.  The fact that Obama lies also (Hi Charity) doesn’t make Romney’s alleged lies true … but they expose the faux outrage of Obama’s supporters.

    As for the Republican Party’s alleged war on women, I would use the latest poll of women voters to show that by and large they don’t agree the … but election polls are too volatile until the final week.


    I should have realized I needed to include a sarcasm tag.

    So, dude, I try to read charitably, but now you’ve lost me.

    Your original comment was, to my mind, clearly sarcastic… but what it seemed to convey through that clear sarcasm was your expectation that Biden would devote the entire debate to accusing Ryan of deception.

    Emcee replied that no, Biden would spend the debate accusing Ryan of having wrong beliefs about the economy.

    And you replied by suggesting that your sarcasm had gone over Emcee’s head.

    Is all of this this somehow connected to some kind of narrative thread? At this point, I can’t even tell what you think Biden will do.

    Sarcasm has real limitations as a way of communicating ideas.

  • Carstonio

    The positions of people like Ryan and Akin would be sexist even if a majority of women disagreed. It’s not like a demographic group holds a vote to determine what is discrimination against that group. One doesn’t have to be a Obama supporter to be repulsed by Romney’s race baiting or troubled by how his policies would perpetuate and expand privilege. Instead of competition, a better word for your treatment of elections is as if they were games, and that resembles the rhetoric of many people who push the just world fallacy, people who fight tooth and nail against anything that would make the world more just.

  • walden

    Alright, let’s all take sides — your guy lied and he’s not a real Christian.
    Oh yeah, your guy lied and he’s not a real Christian.
    (The trouble is I actually end up siding with one of these)!

  • Also, aunursa’s claims sound a lot like people trashing Al Gore over the specifics of his claim that 43% of the Bush proposed tax cuts would go to the top 1%, who curiously never bothered to check up a year or two later to see if that was actually about right.

  • aunursa
  • The commission suggested lower rates and fewer deductions such that the federal government would garner more revenue.

    And by the time Congress got through with it, miraculously only the lower rates will survive and all the deductions will still be there.

    How about let’s cut the crap and stop trying to appease rich people?

  • LL

    Is it really satire if it’s true?

  • Moebius2778

    It would seem to me on the subject of lies, that there are at least three factors that are important:

    1) The accuracy of the lie.  If I claim that something is $5 million dollars, and it’s actually $6 million dollars, that’s not as bad of a lie as if I claim that it was $1 million dollars.

    2) The magnitude of the lie.  Claiming that someone has killed someone is in some ways a worse sort of lie than claiming that they were rude to someone (assuming that both claims are equally accurate.)

    3) The response to the truth.  How does the liar respond to the truth?  Do they apologize, do they shut up and never mention the lie again, or do they keep repeating the lie?  The last would seem to be the worst possible response.  (Well, worse in terms of respect for the truth.)

    There’s also intent, but that can get messy.

    But if you ignore those factors, you can end up with things like, “Flat Earthers say the Earth is flat.  Scientists say the Earth is a sphere.  Both are lying, but it exposes the scientists’ hypocrisy in calling out the Flat Earthers on their lies, and the scientists’ so-called claims to be searching for the truth.”  Which is stupid.

  • Fusina

    There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place
    for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask
    any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to
    correct any errors. Our political life is also predicated on
    openness. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and
    that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know
    that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what
    they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and
    science can never regress.
    As quoted in “J. Robert Oppenheimer” by L. Barnett, in Life, Vol. 7, No. 9, International Edition (24 October 1949), p.58

    Just something to think about.

    James Blish used a similar quote by Oppenheimer as a header for a chapter in his book “Cities in Flight” which I started reading today. Got me looking up quotes by him, this one is from http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_Oppenheimer. 

  • It seems that aunursa got himself a big bag of false equivalency and he’s gonna use it, dammit.

  • Magic_Cracker

    No shit! I love the smell of facepalm in the evening! You know that smell? That sweaty-hand smell? Smells like … fallacy.

  • Gotchaye

    I admit that I didn’t get very far, as I’m not inclined to trust Rich Lowry and NRO has really let itself go in the last five years or so.  I’d appreciate you calling attention to a less dishonest claim later in the piece if there is one, but my first thought is that Lowry seems to have forgotten that the debate transcript is on the internet.

    Here’s Lowry on why it was Obama and not Romney who was dishonest about Romney’s $5 trillion:

    But this isn’t even a close call. Romney wants to cut income-tax rates 20 percent across the board and make up the revenue by closing loopholes and deductions. This isn’t a tax cut; it’s a wash. It’s been Romney’s plan ever since he proposed it during the Republican primaries. It’s such a simple concept that only willful obtuseness keeps the president or his team from understanding it.

    Here’s Obama during the debate:

    Now, Governor Romney’s proposal that he has been promoting for 18 months calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of $2 trillion of additional spending for our military. And he is saying that he is going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions. The problem is that he’s been asked a — over a hundred times how you would close those deductions and loopholes and he hasn’t been able to identify them.

    When you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper income individuals can — are currently taking advantage of — if you take those all away — you don’t come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending. And that’s why independent studies looking at this said the only way to meet Governor
    Romney’s pledge of not reducing the deficit — or — or — or not adding to the deficit, is by burdening middle-class families.

    So Obama clearly understands that Romney wants to pay for the rate cuts with deductions.  Obama’s claim is that the rate cuts by themselves cost about $5T, and that it’s not actually possible to make that up by eliminating deductions without raising taxes on the middle class or adding to the debt.  Given that this has been the Democrats’ line on this since the DNC, I have a very hard time believing that Lowry really thinks he’s reporting Obama’s position accurately.

  • Anonymouse

    Also, Joe Biden has never ever been accused of being overly concise or curt…

  • Emcee, cubed

    No, he hasn’t, but he can be. There was a brilliant clip from one of the debates (I think it was a 2007 primary debate) where the moderator asks him if they can trust him to be concise and not overly verbose on the national stage. Biden say, “Yes.” There is about 5 seconds of silence, then the audience laughs. There is 5 more seconds of silence, and the moderators says, “Thank you, Mr. Biden.”

  • Gotchaye

     I think people have this intuition that there’s just one number that describes a person’s “speaking ability” and determines how good they are at anything like that, like D&D skills.  Teleprompters provide a 2d6 bonus.

    Joe Biden has a reputation for saying “irresponsible” things (scare-quotes because they don’t seem to actually hurt his side politically).  Even though these things are sometimes themselves persuasive, and are often uttered in the context of persuasive speeches, that’s what he’s known for, and lots of politicians are better on that particular axis.  So clearly he’s a bad public speaker.  Which means he’s a bad debater.

  • aunursa

    FactCheck .org: Obama accused Romney of proposing a $5 trillion tax cut. Not true. Romney proposes to offset his rate cuts and promises he won’t add to the deficit.

    CNN: Romney said he would offset that by closing loopholes and reducing reductions,” he said. “So if you take him at his word, our verdict [on Obama’s claim] that Mitt Romney would cut taxes on the wealthy by $5 trillion, the verdict is false.

     Washington Post: Given the uncertainty, the Obama campaign has assumed the worst about Romney’s plan — that it would mean higher taxes for middle-class Americans — even though, as Romney stated, there is no chance he would try to implement such a plan as president.

  • aunursa

    “If you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.”
    – presidential candidate, August 28, 2008

    “When he’s asked how he’ll cut the deficit he says he can make the math work by eliminating local public funding for PBS. Now, by the way, this is not new. This is what he’s been saying every time he’s been asked the question: ‘Well, we can cut out PBS.’ So for all you moms and kids out there, don’t worry, somebody’s finally getting tough on Big Bird. Who knew that he was driving our deficit?”
    – President Barack Obama, October 9, 2012

    Big Bird Obama campaign ad

    “These are tough times with real serious issues, so you have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird. I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs and saving our future.”
    – presidential candidate, October 10, 2012

  • Gotchaye

    I note that none of that applies to the debate, since Obama is clear in the bit I quoted on what he’s talking about.

    Also, of course, only the WaPo’s snippet there is anything resembling a fact check.  FactCheck.org just notes that Romney has said “nuh-uh”.  Yes, Romney has promised not to add to the deficit.  But he’s also promised the rate cuts.  And Democrats have been arguing that he can’t offset the cuts by limiting deductions.  It’s not “not true” because Romney disagrees with that.

    CNN is the same, and is even more obviously silly about it by acknowledging that it depends on taking Romney at his word.  Note that this is not about taking Romney at his word as to what policies he would pursue as president; it’s about taking Romney at his word as to what is true of the federal budget.  He doesn’t deserve deference on that.

    WaPo makes a reasonable point, which is that Democrats frequently cut down Clinton’s argument and don’t give the full “either it adds to the deficit OR it raises taxes on the middle-class”.  Of course Obama did that in the debate, so that’s not an issue there.  It’s also weird to insist on constant footnoting of everything.  In a widely reported-on speech, Clinton laid out the argument here.  Since then, on some occasions some Democrats have abbreviated it while clearly referencing the same idea.  Not everybody has several uninterrupted minutes to really lay this out.  It’s pretty obvious by now what Democrats are talking about when they mention a $5T tax cut and middle-class tax increases.  If the media thinks this is misleading they should be explaining the context, but given that Democrats are also giving the full argument else where (as Obama did in the debate), I see it as shorthand more than dishonesty.

  •  You do realize that all three of those are different ways to say “If you assume Mitt Romney isn’t lying, then you can conclude that he isn’t lying,” right?

  • P J Evans

     Hell, none of it is even convincing. It sounds like the stuff you see (usually misspelled, and with lots of CAPS and ‘!!1!!1!’) in news site comments.

    Personally, I like that Obama was able to make a joke about his performance at a fund-raising dinner.

  • Lori

    FactCheck & CNN simply take Romney at his word that he would offset his tax cuts by closing loopholes and ending deductions. This is deeply stupid. Obama’s point was that it’s not mathematically possible for Romney to do what he claims that he will do because there aren’t enough existing loopholes and deductions to cover the cuts. Romney can promise any damn thing he wants, but the numbers still don’t add up.

    The Washington Post’s comment is, if anything, even stupider. It boils down to “this is the plan that Romney has been claiming for the last year and half, but we all know it’s bullshit so it’s dirty pool to call him on it”. That’s a pretty good summation of what’s wrong with The Village.

  • The reason Obama is bringing up Big Bird (which is so fucking obvious, it HURTS to have to explain it) is that Romney’s plan to solve the budget deficit by eliminating PBS funding is like trying to pay off your credit card debt by only getting a medium, rather than large, popcorn when you go to the movies. It’s a complete and total non-starter and Mitt deserves the mockery he is receiving for it.

  • I’d like to point everyone in the direction of this comment by rikalous on my blog:

    Defunding PBS? Seriously? There are puppy-kicking supervillains who would be aghast at that.

    Also, my analogy was that saying you’ll fix the deficit by defunding PBS is like saying you’ll drain a great lake by removing one drop of water.

  • AnonaMiss

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson likened it to trying to clear space on your hard drive by deleting a .txt file.

    Someone on my Facebook feed added that it’s the text file containing all of your class notes for the semester.

  • People like that in Canada always like to invoke that nebulous “government waste” and have been doing so for the last 20, 25 years. One would think people would wake up and realize there is no more fat in the budget to cut, considering all the squeezing the fiscal warriors have been doing to Canada’s budget.

    We were spending $170 billion in 1992. Today, it’s $240 billion.

    That’s just barely in pace with the Canadian inflation rate over the last 20 years! There has been effectively no net increase in federal spending in real terms in this country, and the politicians keep crowing there’s fat to cut?

    Here’s a fluff one-liner from the budget update:

    “In Budget 2011, the Government reiterated its commitment to generate
    ongoing savings from operating efficiencies and improving productivity
    by announcing a review of departmental spending. The results of this
    review are presented in this budget.”

    *rolls eyes*


    At least thank God the government here isn’t fetishizing tax cuts like a dog trying to hump a lamppost. Or a Republican doing same.

  • Carstonio

    I wish I could find a quote that Fred or another Patheos writer used recently – it was about creationists turning arguments into issues of authority and identity instead of evidence. That’s exactly what you’re doing in the political arena. Your post is essentially, “Those supposedly liberal media outlets disagree with you, so there!” Not even trying to refute the contention that Romney’s budget arithmetic doesn’t compute without higher taxes on the middle class, or the contention that trickle-down economics benefits mostly the very wealthy.

    It’s almost like your politics is not about convictions or ideas at all but solely about allegiance. I can’t speak for anyone else but I have no such allegiance – I would gladly vote for a Republican who favored more progressive taxation, stronger financial and environmental regulations, marriage equality, single-payer health care, sex education that covers birth control, and in general rightly recognized that the world is not a just place and that government’s role includes redressing injustice.

  • aunursa

    The response from the Democrats to the debate is “Mitt’s lying.”  The burden of proof is on Obama and his supporters to prove that Romney is lying.  The fact-checkers noted that Obama has not proven his claim. 


    The burden of proof is on Obama and his supporters to prove that Romney is lying. 

    I’m not quite sure what “burden of proof” means in a case like this.

    I mean, I understand what it means in a court case: the justice system has a bunch of power, and it constraints itself to only use its power against people when a certain burden of proof has been met by the prosecution.

    But to my mind, during elections it’s not someone else’s responsibility to prove something to me to some standard. It’s my responsibility to figure out which if any candidate I
    ought to support.

    And it’s your responsibility to do the same for your own vote, and so on down the line.

  • aunursa

    I don’t recall ever suggesting that FactCheck, CNN, or the WaPo are liberal media outlets.  I cite them because with respect to fact checking politicians’ assertions, they are regarded by the overwhelming majority of political observers as unbiased and authoritative judges.

    Your claim to be free of allegiance is as silly as the Big Bird flap.  I would gladly vote for a Democrat who favored a free-market system, parental rights, minimal government interference, repeal and replacement of the PPACA, strong support for Israel, and recognition that the role of government does not include rewarding losers and punishing winners.*  I’m not aware that such a creature exists any more than your fantasy Republican.  But that hasn’t stopped me from voting for Democrats as recently as last June.  And it won’t stop me from voting for Democrats in 27 days.  Which of us is a slave to allegiance?

    * GIBSON: You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax… But actually … in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all?
    OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

  • Lori


    The fact-checkers noted that Obama has not proven his claim.  

    Did you even read what you pasted into your post? That is not what they said.

    As for proof of Obama’s claim, it’s called math. Add up the revenue value of all the loopholes and deductions that exist right now. Compare them to the revenue value of the tax cut Romney is proposing. The two numbers are not equal. B is in fact substantially larger than A. There is no way for Romney’s plan to be “revenue neutral”, which is what he as repeatedly claimed it would be.  The supposedly respectable “fact checkers” you quoted simply glossed over that in favor of saying “Mitt says it will totally be fine”. The stupid, it burns.

    I know that you have good reading comprehension skills, as you regularly display them in the LB threads. Politics seems to rob you of them, along with a good chunk of your logic skills. You should work on that.

  • Carstonio

    I’ve voted for many Republicans on the local level, because for years the Democrats here were “good ol’ boy” social conservatives who were in the pockets of the local developers.

    The terms “winners” and “losers” need to be banished from this debate. Life is not a competition. No one deserves to be wealthy and no one deserves to be poor, meaning that there’s no correlation between one’s character and one’s position in life. Often people who work hard, treat others well and behave ethically end up impoverished anyway, and often people who lie, cheat and steal end up wealthy anyway.

    When I say that government should work toward a more just society, I mean that it should work toward equality of opportunity. We don’t have that now, because of the privilege that comes from certain personal characteristics over others. Legalizing same-sex marriage is about making society more just for citizens regardless of orientation. Single-payer health care is about the principle that care is a right and not a privilege.

    Also, what do you mean by “parental rights”?

  • aunursa

    Confirmed: Big Bird ad a flop across the entire political spectrum

    Matt Lauer: Robert [Gibbs], I’m glad you said it’s about real issues, because — I have to be honest with you — I was a bit surprised that the campaign released this Big Bird ad yesterday. I mean, is that the kind of political ad that a campaign releases when it feels that it has ideas and solutions on its side? Or is that the kind of political ad a campaign releases when it simply wants to get attention?

    Washington Post: Does Romney want to kill Big Bird?
    The former Massachusetts governor might have been more specific about what areas he wants to cut besides two items — the health care law and PBS funding — that excite the Republican base. Similarly, it is just as silly for the Obama campaign to claim that Romney would use this minor bit of funding to help pay for tax cuts. Romney may have been off base in suggesting PBS funding has much to do with the deficit, but that’s no excuse for the Obama campaign to declare that means the demise of a popular children’s character. According to the financials of Sesame Workshop, Big Bird should do just fine, with or without public funding.
    Four Pinocchios

    Chris Matthews:  The Obama campaign released this ad going back to Romney’s line about Big Bird. This, I think, is Mickey Mouse… Please answer this question: Is that the right way to go into this crucial last month, to be focusing on Big Bird?

  • Still, it’s reasonable to expect the maker of an assertion to have the onus of backing it up.