Romney’s week of gaffs has steered attention away from the lie he told to the VFW recently, and the dishonest sound-biting of President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” quote. Gaffs can be forgiven more easily than blatant lies, and Romney’s untruthful jabs at the President will continue to reverberate through the right wing blogosphere while fact-checking of his statements gets lost among jokes about his diplomatic errors. And those errors will be excused by apologists who actually see it as a sign of strength for an American to go around the world insulting our allies and carelessly violating protocol, as long as the violator is a Republican.
But let’s not forget the lies. Mitt Romney blamed Barack Obama for a bi-partisan congressional budget agreement that will result in defense cuts. Remember, last year congressional Republicans threatened to shut down the government if they didn’t get tax cuts for the rich and cuts to vital services for the rest of us. Their willingness to cripple the nation’s economy in order to get their way prompted a downgrade in Standard and Poor’s U.S. bond rating, and despite S&P specifically citing Republican “brinksmanship” as the cause, Romney was one of the first Republicans to blame Obama for the downgrade. Still, Democrats and Republicans worked out a short-term budget deal with a rider that if they couldn’t work out a follow-on deal, across-the-board budget cuts would automatically kick in, including cuts to the military.
Those automatic, pre-negotiated, bi-partisan budget cuts are the ones Romney refers to as “the president’s”. I wrote earlier that across-the-board budget cuts was a bad deal for Democrats. The idea that cuts in the military balance out cuts for programs that help the poor and middle class is ridiculous. Democrats don’t actually want to defund the military, but Republicans don’t care about defunding the poor and middle class. The pressure that Romney is putting on the president and Democrats indicates that when Republicans agreed to the budget cuts, they were lying, and always felt they could scuttle the agreement by accusing Democrats of not supporting the troops if they adhere to it.
The other big lie was the sound-bite, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”. “That” was referring to an example of a bridge, a road, or some other improvement provided by the people as a whole, which is clear from the full quote. Romney can claim “soundbiting” for “I like being able to fire people”, but while the statement is less harsh in context, ( he likes being able to fire people because the ability to do so encourages performance ) at least nobody is being mislead about what the words, themselves, actually mean. Even though context softens his words, Romney does, in fact, like being able to fire people. Obama does not, in fact, believe that entrepreneurs don’t build their own businesses. Romney’s sound-biting of Obama’s speech isn’t just putting a negative slant on something Obama said, it’s making people think Obama said something that he didn’t say, and it demonstrates severe level of dishonesty. Romney is more honest than that when he just plain lies.
So by all means, let’s talk about Romney’s diplomatic blunders. They’re more than just funny, they’re an indication of Romney’s ability to represent the United States of America to our allies. But let’s not forget the more important fact: Mitt Romney isn’t just a bungler, he is a liar.