Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I have previously posted about the phenomenon of Post Truth Politics: Lies Are Now The Truth.
Jamelle Bouie at the Plum Line blog explains today, Why Romney keeps lying about Obama and welfare:
It’s been three weeks since Mitt Romney first took fire for asserting that the Obama administration “gutted” work requirements in welfare. When the first ad was released, PolitiFact took the lead in debunking its claim that under Obama’s plan, “they just send you your welfare check,” giving it the highest rating of “Pants on Fire.” FactCheck.org followed suit, and the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler offered a similar denunciation, giving the ad “four Pinnochios.”
But this didn’t deter the Romney campaign. The following week, they released another ad using a similar message. Independent observers again hit Romney’s dishonesty, and a key Republican architect of welfare reform [Ron Haskins] said that “there’s no plausible scenario under which [the change] really constitutes a serious attack on welfare reform.”
[President Bill Clinton, whose signature welfare reform bill bears his name, also said Romney is lying].
It’s almost certain that Team Romney has heard these complaints, and just doesn’t care about them. Not only has Romney made this a key part of his stump speech — promising to “return work to welfare”— but this morning, he released yet another ad making the same claims.
Unlike the other spots, this one cites an independent source — the editorial page of the Richmond-Times Dispatch. In an editorial released last week, the Dispatch agreed with Romney’s assessment of the welfare changes, saying: “if you want to get more people to work, you don’t loosen the requirements — you tighten them.”
Yeah, about that Richmond-Times Dispatch editorial. Ed Kilgore at the Political Animal blog has the scoop on this editorial. Tripling Down on the Welfare Lie:
But no: there’s a new ad, which dares defend its accuracy via (a) a completely empty editorial from the ever-partisan Richmond Times-Dispatch that in turn appears to rest its trust in the accuracy of the ads on (b) the opinion of Daily Caller columnist Mickey Kaus. Yes, it’s Mickey Kaus’ ultimate fantasy: being the indirect author of a multi-million dollar assault on his old enemies among social policy liberals.
If you actually go read the Kaus column that appears to have become via the Richmond papers Mitt Romney’s ex post facto justification for his ads, even Mickey admits that its central charges are “overstated and oversimplified.”
Now back to Jamelle Bouie:
The problem with this editorial, and Romney’s citation of it, is that Politifact Virginia — a joint venture of Politifact and the Times-Dispatch itself — debunked this claim as false at the beginning of the month, when it was made by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell:
McDonnell said the Obama administration is “unwinding” welfare-to-work requirements.
But a new Obama program does not end welfare-to-work mandates. To the contrary, it strengthens the requirements by granting waivers to states seeking to make the work requirements more successful. The waivers would be granted to pilot programs that are individually evaluated; HHS is not proposing a blanket national change to welfare law.
We rate McDonnell’s statement False.
The verdict from fact-checkers, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, is unanimous: Romney is outright lying about the Obama administration’s change to welfare. Why would Romney continue use the claim if it’s been proven false?
The first answer has everything to do with the press. Reporters aren’t equipped to deal with constant dishonesty, and one-off fact checks aren’t enough to stop a lie from gaining currency. The Romney campaign is capitalizing on both facts to push a false narrative and embed it in the political conversation. So far, judging from the non-response of most reporters, it’s working.
The second answer is much more cynical. As Greg Sargent noted when the first ad debuted, this is a clear attempt to resurrect the politics of resentment. It’s no accident that Romney uses this line when speaking to groups of working-class white voters; it’s meant to conjure images of “young bucks” and “welfare queens” who abuse the system and take from more “productive” Americans. Indeed, when you consider the extent to which this attack came out of the blue — no one was talking about welfare before Romney began this assault — and the fact that Romney’s White House bid depends on record levels of support from white voters, it’s hard not to see it as a blatant attempt to pander to the racial anxieties of downscale whites.
Which is why it’s worth pointing out this lie whenever it surfaces. . . It’s an ugly move that should be condemned in the harshest terms possible.
Steve Benen raises the larger question for our feckless corporate media villagers in The post-truth campaign continues apace:
And then there's an even larger question: shouldn't this be a scandal?
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the political world's strange standards. If a super PAC puts a video online with a dubious timeline, it's a multi-week scandal, and evidence of a campaign stuck in the gutter. If Vice President Biden uses a poorly-worded, off-the-cuff metaphor, it's a multi-week scandal, and proof that 2012 has become excessively ugly.
But if Mitt Romney gets caught repeatedly making an unambiguous, racially-charged lie, it's seen as somehow routine.
Why do gaffes and unaired web ads dominate the political world's attention, while shameless lying leads to shrugged shoulders?
* * *
So why does Romney keep repeating the lie? Because he thinks voters are idiots and he's certain political journalism isn't equipped to deal with a campaign predicated entirely on falsehoods.
This remains, in other words, a test. The fact that Romney feels confident in his ability to lie with impunity -- effectively taunting reality -- suggests the American political system is failing this test badly.
As I have said before, it is time for the media villagers to shut down this Big Lie propaganda campaign. This is not how we do things in America.
President Obama in a White House press conference today reminded our media villagers of this. Obama to media: Romney’s whole campaign is based on lies:
Obama was questioned sharply by a reporter who pointed to the Priorities USA ad featuring the dead woman and the Obama campaign’s pressure on Romney to release his tax returns, and asked whether he regretted his campaign’s tone. Obama responded, in part:
“I don’t think that Governor Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad. But keep in mind, this is an ad that I didn’t approve; I did not produce; and as far as I can tell, has barely run. I think it ran once. Now, in contrast, you’ve got Governor Romney creating as a centerpiece of his campaign this notion that we’re taking work requirement out of welfare. Which every single person here who’s looked at it says, it’s patently false...
“Everybody who’s looked at this says what Governor Romney is saying is absolutely wrong. Not only are his Super PACs running millions of dollars worth of ads making this claim; Governor Romney himself is approving this and saying it on the stump. So the contrast I think is pretty stark. They can run the campaign that they want; but the truth of the matter is, you can’t just make stuff up. That’s one thing you learn as president of the United States. You get called into account.”
I’m pretty sure this is the first time Obama himself has charged that virtually Romney’s entire campaign is based on a “centerpiece” that’s flat out false.
I'm still waiting for the D.C. media villagers to "call into account" Willard "Mittens" Romney for his "big lie" propaganda campaign that is nothing more than a racist dog whistle in the politics of resentment for the poor (read minorities).