Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mr. Flim-Flam Man

Yesterday, Mitt Romney launched his first attack ad against President Obama -- and quickly revealed his inner Flim-Flam Man. It contains a blatant lie and Romney knows it's a blatant lie. Take it away Steve Benen:
In October 2008, a month before the president was elected, then-candidate Obama spoke in New Hampshire and told voters, "Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, 'If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.' In Romney's new attack ad, viewers only see Obama saying, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." The obvious point is to deceive the public -- Romney wants voters to think the quote reflects Obama's current thinking, not McCain's three years ago. Romney, in other words, is choosing to mislead voters and hoping they don't know the difference.
The sad truth is that "they" will not know the difference. But it's not because people are stupid. It's just that few pay attention to the details of politics and, for most, 2008 was a century ago. Still, I'm not sure which is worst: Our perennially uninformed citizenry or the character of a man (Romney) willing to exploit the ignorance of said citizenry. An informed nation assisted by a free, responsible press is the best defense against the political flimflammery currently in vogue. But it doesn't help when one major party treats Americans like "children whose memories evaporate instantly," as Andrew Sullivan put it, and "who are only beguiled by the cliches of lost eras."

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