Let’s do a little exercise. I am going to provide you with some couplets. They are things Mitt Romney said at different times about the same subject. And I want you to try to explain to me how they do not contradict each other. Ready? Here goes.
‘It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.’
‘I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.’
Now, a cynic might think that a coward occasionally wishes he had courage, and that someone who counter-protested draft resisters at Stanford might have a little lingering guilt about using a religious exemption to avoid being drafted. Otherwise, the two comments cancel each other out and one must be a lie.
‘This is a completely airtight kennel mounted on the top of our car.’
‘They’re not happy that my dog loves fresh air.’
Here, a cynic might note that putting your dog in an airtight kennel will result in asphyxiation after a few hours and that is why no one manufactures airtight kennels. They might also point out that a dog that loves fresh air would probably not love being asphyxiated on the roof of Mitt Romney’s car. But what he meant was that the kennel protected the dog from the worst of the wind and that it only evacuated its bowels all over the back windshield of the car because it’s what dogs do when they’re having a good time.
Ready for another one?
‘I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.’
‘I did not see it with my own eyes.’
Cynics, being cynics, might point out that you can’t see things with other people’s eyes. To see things, you must use your own eyes. But those would be very gullible cynics because George Romney never marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.
‘I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.’
‘I never really called myself pro-choice.’
This is somewhat like ordering a hamburger and then telling the waitress who delivers your meal that your didn’t order beef on a bun. The first statement was obviously time-limited, and the second one was probably untrue.
‘I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life.’
‘Any description of my being a hunter is an overstatement of capability.’
I’d like to supplement this couplet with an additional quote: ‘I’m not a big game hunter… I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will.’
When you call yourself “pretty much” a lifelong hunter, you mean that you are not a lifelong hunter. This became clearer during his subsequent statements.
“We’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent. Including the top one percent.”
“I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.”
He said the first in a primary debate and the second in the first presidential debate. This one can’t be salvaged.
Feel free to create your own couplets.