Monday, December 26, 2011

Mittspeak Through the Looking Glass

I know it's nonsense, ma'am. But that's not a bug, it's a feature, trust me.
I thought I'd never figure out why Mitt Romney says some of the things he does. Even those of us who loathe him know he's smart, maybe even Obama-smart. So the only conclusion we can draw is that he knows that he pushing nonsense, but it's calculated nonsense. That's why what he's says can only be classified as lies.

Oh, every once in a while he tells the truth, you know, he's says he loves his wife, and that's undoubtedly true. Give a guy a break. But let's look at couple of statements and compare them to the truth. Of course, I'm not in search of his true statements. They're out there somewhere I suppose, but with Romney they're generally meaningless. Only his lies have any real flare to them. They're in Mittspeak:
Just a couple of weeks ago in Kansas, President Obama lectured us about Teddy Roosevelt’s philosophy of government.  But he failed to mention the important difference between Teddy Roosevelt and Barack Obama.  Roosevelt believed that government should level the playing field to create equal opportunities.  President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes.
In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing—the government.
The truth is that everyone may get the same rewards, but virtually everyone will be worse off.
(h/t Jonathan Chait)

I was going to boldface the lie part until I realized the whole thing was a lie. But let's look at the most serious one (besides the fact that Obama never said anything remotely like the above), and that's the last line. "The truth is that everyone gets the same rewards, but virtually everyone will be worse off."

Now, why would he say that? It defies logic. If the government took JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's millions away and left him, say, $5 million, and spread the rest of it around, we'd all get some, right? Let's say if we did that to all of the 1%-ers and gave their money away -- again let each one keep $5 mil -- to the 99%-ers, we'd all get a tidy little bonus, even if the government took a taste to pay for cutting the checks.

I'm not necessarily advocating this, but logic dictates that it would work that way, that the 99%-ers would get a tasty little bundle in their Christmas stockings. So why does Mitt say virtually EVERYBODY will be worse off? I'll take a stab at it: He wants every poor schlub to feel that they are going to be personally damaged by Barack Obama. The last thing Mitt Romney wants anyone to know is that with income redistribution, A TON OF PEOPLE are going to have a bunch more money.

Also, Obama has never suggested anything even remotely like this, other than a return to the tax rates of the Clinton Era -- already drastically reduced from the Eisenhower years -- and only for those making $250 grand a year.

The above passel of lies, tied in a bow of Mittspeak, could be differently inspired from the way I described. But they are lies nonetheless.

Here's His Mittness in New Hampshire in September:
The level of regulation in America, every [sic] the regulators, the government, come up with new regulations. And they send them out. The rate of regulatory burden has increased four-fold since Obama has become president. Four times the amount of regulation coming out per year as in the past. And so businesses say, ‘gosh, I’m not sure I want to invest in America.’
Both Steven Benen of Washington Monthly and Think Progress point out that Romney corrected the record through a spokesman only to repeat the lie months later.

The fact is that Barack Obama has issued fewer regulations than George W. Bush had at a similar point in his presidency, in fact 4.7% fewer.

We can't, however, blame Mitt Romney for this. He's got no choice. The truth is not red meat to his base -- if he even has one -- so he's got to make stuff up. Where am I wrong here?

I just thought of something: Mitt Romney is favored nationally by 23.5% of Republicans. Even with all his Mittspoken notions, he can't get many of his own to like him. And there's more: Gallup has Barack Obama at 47%-45%, his first posiitive reading in half a year. And in the current composite of polls Obama is beating Romney by 2%. All those lies for nothing. Poor Mittens.

On second thought, maybe you'd better not.

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