Michael Tomasky on Mitt Romney’s ability to lie without shame or even apparent self-awareness.
We’re used to a politician who says, “You know, I once thought…” or something like that. Then our minds can kind of buy the idea that he’s flip-flopping. Most pols do this. It used to be thought by political consultants that pols had to do that part of it. But not Romney and his team. No acknowledgement, not an inch. A complete lie. And a real f-you, by the way, to voters who’d like to know why he changed his mind, except why bother, really, since there’s no substance there. He changed his mind to win, period.
The Romney campaign is a massive f-you to anyone who actually pays even partial attention to American politics. I honestly don’t know how politically-engaged conservatives can take Romney’s flip-flops without growing disgusted and voting for Gary Johnson or something. As much as they dislike President Obama, at least he isn’t the leader of their party. To have Romney take over the Republican Party for four or eight years ought to terrify anyone in the party who actually has a principle they are not willing to sacrifice. It’s not that Romney would govern as some moderate. It’s that he’s never made a promise he isn’t willing to break the moment it might confer him some advantage. He literally never means what he says. His word is worth absolutely nothing. And those are not attributes you want in the leader of any organization, whether it be the federal government or a political party.
To put it another way, one silver lining of Bush v. Gore was that it denied Joe Lieberman the advantages of incumbency in 2008. It’s quite possible that Lieberman could have used his clout and fame after eight years as vice-president to win the nomination of the party in 2008, and he could be running for reelection right now. That would have done strange and unpleasant things to the progressive movement in this country, and I am glad that I didn’t live in that alternate reality even if the reality I did live through in the Bush years was a living hell.
But Joe Lieberman isn’t a perfect corollary to Mitt Romney. It’s not that Mitt Romney would buck his party and endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016. He’s not some kind of secret moderate. He’s nothing. He’s whatever he thinks you want him to be at any moment. He’s not the most interesting man in the world; he’s the world’s least reliable man.
You can find various lists of Romney’s flip-flops on the Google Machine. Here’s one. They are never exhaustive because Romney creates one or two or three new flip-flops every day. No human can keep up, although people try.
Here’s what I’m saying. I’ve been watching this campaign for three years now, everyday, all day long. I know Mitt Romney really well at this point. And anyone who is thinking of voting for him should know that they are going to get to know him very well, too, if he is the president of the United States. And, you know what I can tell you with 100% confidence after watching Romney so closely all this time? You are going to hate a President Romney worse than anything you have ever hated in your life. Americans will begin counting the days until they can replace Romney within 90 days of his inauguration. No one likes Mitt Romney. There are three kinds of people. People who hate Mitt Romney. People who hate Mitt Romney but hate the president more. And people who have not spent enough time with Mitt Romney.
And most of the people in the second category are also in the third category.