In an interview this week, erstwhile First Lady Ann Romney claimed that the Obama campaign’s insinuation that her husband lied during his successful debate was nothing more than the poor sportsmanship one might see among kids playing in a sandbox. This might, of course, be a valid argument if her husband, republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, didn’t actually lie.
But he did.
Lots of times.
On tax policy alone, Romney’s mendacity was breathtaking. He claimed not to have proposed a $5.0 trillion tax cut when the mathematics of his stated plan for a 20% across the board tax cut equals $4.8 trillion. He claimed that the deficit won’t go up in spite of those tax cuts plus the extra two trillion he wants to spend on defense – more than the Pentagon has even asked for and his stated intention not to raise taxes on anyone. Some observers counted 27 misstatements, quarter-truths, obfuscations and flat out prevarications offered by Romney over the 90 minute debate, including his assertion that his health care finance proposal covers pre-existing conditions. He neglected to mention that you’re covered only to the extent that you already have insurance.
Throughout the summer, the Romney/Ryan mendacity ticket put out lie, after lie after “Pants on Fire” lie, from the President’s handling of waivers under welfare reform, to the President’s approach to diplomacy, to the President’s spending on the military. Those don’t even count the “Mostly False” and “False” statements from the Romney campaign. In fact, Politifact states so far that over 40% of Mitt Romney’s statements fall within the categories of “Mostly False” and “Pants on Fire”. He has either misrepresented to the American people or to the federal government (a felony) his specific role at Bain Capital.
Mitt Romney was for a woman’s right to her own reproductive health care decisions before he was against it. He was for nationally-based health care finance reform – including the individual mandate – before he was against it. He was in favor of civil rights for same sex couples before he was against it. He was for gun control before he was against it. He was for a ban on assault weapons before he was against it. That his policy stances are driven by short-term objectives instead of core principles should be disqualifying to any reasonable person looking to cast a ballot on November 6th.
The Mormon cultural proclivity of “lying for the Lord” has been acknowledged by persons both inside and outside of the faith and may be the reason behind Mr. Romney’s stunningly apparent reflex for falsehood.
“Newsweek/Daily Beast reporter Jamie Reno published a provocative interview this week with Sue Emmett, a direct descendent of Brigham Young and a former LDS Church member, that plumbs controversial aspects of Mormon faith and culture, including the status of women in the faith and a tendency among some Mormons to manage the way they speak with non-Mormons about complicated aspects of our history and religious practice.
Flagging concern about how this highly managed communications style has impacted the Romney campaign and might shape a Romney presidency, Reno quotes a former LDS Church employee, who states, “Every Mormon grows up with the idea that it’s OK to lie if it’s for a higher cause.””