Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: why the tangled web of Mitt’s mendacity has complicated his path to the Presidency

Barack Obama certainly looks to have a tough job on his hands getting re-elected. Quite apart from seeking to transform America into that living hell we all know to be European social democracy, the President has shrunk the US military and, perhaps most importantly, doubled America’s budget deficit from the $1.3 trillion figure he inherited in 2009.

At least that’s what Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney would have you believe. An underwhelming Super Tuesday all but confirmed Romney as the party’s nominee, though a pair of third place finishes behind Newt Gingrich and winner Rick Santorum in the South on Tuesday night complicate things somewhat . Yet this further elevation to his political status has seemingly done little to assuage Romney’s propensity for what can only be termed lies.

Mark Twain famously wrote that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. Romney isn’t renowned for his powerful speeches, but it appears this rule of three is one rhetorical device he is only too happy to employ on a consistent basis.

Firstly, Barack Obama would by any ordinary measure be considered a conservative in the raging socialist heartlands of contemporary Europe and anyone with an education such as Romney’s should know that. Secondly, the President has in fact tripled military spending. Thirdly, the statistic; since Obama took office the deficit has decreased from $1.3 to $1.29 trillion. A far cry, then,  from doubling to $2.6 trillion. It would be ridiculous to say that Romney does not know he is not speaking the truth. In fact, when confronted with any of his false statements his common retort is to dismiss having ever said them.

This is a sad state of affairs, and to ridicule Romney’s dishonesty does a disservice to how seriously it should be taken. Beyond misleading the public on his opponents, the reality of his own record is near indistinguishable from that which he claims. On issue after issue; from Reagan’s legacy to healthcare and from abortion to gun control, Mitt Romney has actively lied about the political views he once held.

Romney is trapped in a deceit of his own making. Fearing that the Republican base would not take kindly to a ‘Massachusetts moderate’, he has sought to rewrite his own history to clear a path to the Presidency. Though he seems likely to win the nomination, the bitter struggle he has had to endure in what is a pitifully weak field belies the fact that, in truth, he has only layered distrust upon distrust while at the same time alienating the independent voters he could once have relied upon.

His money and the weakness of his opponents will get him through the nomination, but his questionable record on everything, most notably the truth, should face greater scrutiny come the election.

Indeed, perhaps it already is. The relative complement of ‘flip-flopper’ has been replaced by pundits questioning whether “dishonesty is something fundamental in Romney’s character”, while bloggers have begun weekly updates ‘Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity’. Despite his struggles in Mississippi and Alabama, Romney’s campaign is unlikely to suffer the Southern decay so central to Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but the odor of Mitt’s mendacity is overpowering all the same.

 The spotlight of a Presidential election will bring such issues to the forefront of the public consciousness. Then, America must ask itself: liberal or conservative, pro-life or pro-abortion, Muslim or Mormon, does it want as its leader a man who lies to get where he wants?

In 2008 Obama fought a campaign based on what he called the audacity of hope. Romney has shown how far the audacity to deceive so crudely can get you. One can only hope it takes him no further.

‘O what a tangled web we weave, when we first we practice to deceive.’ Walter Scott speaks the truth.


Posted on March 14, 2012, in Foreign Affairs, General, Looking Forward, US Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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