Thursday, October 11, 2012

Will The Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up!


I felt badly for Obama during his debate with Romney and walked out (of my house) shaking my head and wondering how anyone could be expected to debate a congenital liar like Romney. And no one stopped him. Could anyone have? The media has rewarded him for his barrage of lies by crowning him the winner of the debate. They're encouraging him. One can only imagine what Biden is going to face tonight from Lyin' Ryan. I mean, he didn't get that name by admitting he chopped down the cherry tree. In his book about the crisis of authority, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, Chris Hayes goes into why the breakdown of authoritative institutions-- like, say, the media-- is a big problem for... well, civilization. He wasn't referencing the barrage of lies from Romney and Ryan. He was talking about the barrage of lies from Big Oil and their political allies about Climate Change.
The challenge of climate change forces us to stare into the dark void left by the collapse of traditional institutional authority. One democratic political operative I know calls this feature of modern public life "post-truth politics." Without some central institutions that have the inclination, resources, and reputational capital to patrol the boundaries of truth, we really do risk a kind of Hobbesian chaos, in which truth is overtaken by sheer will-to-power.

...Public opinion in the United States is nowhere near where it would have to be to produce the kinds of dramatic policy changes we must make if we are to cap carbon at a level scientists say is sustainable. In 2001, 75 percent of Americans believed in anthropogenic global warming; as of 2012, that number is 44 percent. The fundamental problem is that too many Americans simply don't trust the various forms of scientific and elite authority through which information about the threat of climate change is transmitted.

And this is the crux of the problem. As unreliable as elite authority has been over the past decade, we can't fix what needs fixing without it.
And Hayes makes a point of turning to some noted validators who no one is going to claim are defenders of the status quo-- Julian Assange and Noam Chomsky. Chomsky said, in a 2011 video about climate change, that "We're marching over the cliff for institutional reasons that are pretty hard to dismantle... The anger and fear and hostility in the country about everything carries over to this. If you look at polls, everyone hates Congress, they hate the Democrats, they hate the Republicans even more, they hate Big Business; they hate banks and they distrust scientists. So why should we believe what these pointy-headed elitists are telling us? We don't trust anything else, we don't trust them." Listen:

Weeks ago the Romney campaign declared-- quite publicly-- that they won't be constrained by fact checkers nor, obviously, facts.
[Romney pollster Neil] Newhouse brushed off the fact check as par for the course in political campaigns.

“People are always going to get Pinocchios for this stuff,” Newhouse said. “We stand behind those ads and behind the facts in those ads.”

Newhouse suggested the problem was with the fact-checkers, not the facts themselves: “Fact-checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs and you know what? We’re not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

So the etch-a-sketch campaign from hell continues and the extreme makeover chugs along. So yesterday, for example, Romney told the Des Moines Register editorial board that "There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” And how blatant of a lie is that? In the past, Romney has made it clear that he’d be "delighted" to sign a bill banning abortion and called Roe v. Wade "one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history," and has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn it. Last year he very unambiguously told National Review Online, in an OpED entitled My Pro-Life Pledge that "I support the reversal of Roe V. Wade because it is bad law and bad medicine” and on his own website quotes him saying "the 39th anniversary of one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history, when the court in Roe v. Wade claimed authority over the fundamental question regarding the rights of the unborn. The result is millions of lives since that day have been tragically silenced. Since that day, the pro-life movement has been working tirelessly in an effort to change hearts and minds and protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Today, we recommit ourselves to reversing that decision, for in the quiet of conscience, people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America." So which is it? Depends what day it is and which audience he's speaking to... of course.

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