Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Romney's Welfare Reform Lie

Romney is a liar, as we well know. It's SOP on the right these days, as we know too well...

Now he's deployed the bombast bomb to promote the lie more robustly.

What should Obama do? 

I say Judo 'em. Use their own evil rhetorical momentum against them. (Note: not really how Judo actually works...but no need to be fussy about that...)

The Romney camp is spending a lot of energy committing itself to the lie. The Obama camp, I suggest, should spend more energy emphasizing the fact that it is a lie than in rebutting the charge. After all, "Romney's charge is not true" aims, really, at just defusing the charge, fighting it to a standstill. "Romney is lying" entails that the charge is false, but aims higher--if it succeeds, it scores points against Romney, and, rather than just defusing his charge, strikes a blow against him--and a blow against his credibility at that.

Were I in charge of such things, I'd spend lots of resources on a campaign built around something like this:

Romney is a liar. He knows he can't win if he tells the truth about the President. You simply can't believe what he says. He's lying about his tax plan, he's lying about welfare reform, he's lying about military voting.

Not: his claims are false, but: they are lies. That's the proper term here, after all: lies. The claims aren't merely false, not merely inaccurate, not merely misleading--they are intentional falsehoods. They are lies, and need to be called that. Romney's a liar--in fact, it's the GOP apparatus that's really the liar--but "liar" is probably too harsh a term; its accurate, but you probably can't get away with using it. But from "he's lying about X," and "he's lying about Y" and, in fact, "he's lying about lots of things"...eventually "he's a liar" follows, and you don't have to say it.

Lay out the facts quickly, say, in the welfare reform case: Republican governors, including Romney, have asked for certain changes, Obama obliged, the changes give greater flexibility but don't undermine welfare reform...Romney is lying.

Now, some Obama claims and ads have also been false, and played fast-and-loose with the facts. The Obama team shouldn't bloody well being doing that, not only because it's wrong and sins against democracy, but also because part of their winning strategy here involves honesty. But, because of the double standard, one Obama lie is equivalent, in the mind of the media, to ten or so Romney lies. Ergo if team Obama lets itself cheat even occasionally, they forfeit their advantage...even if they remain rather more virtuous than their opponents.

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