Ted Frier

Ted Frier
April 02
Ted Frier is an author and former political reporter turned speechwriter who at one time served as communications director for the Massachusetts Republican Party, helping Bill Weld become the first Bay State Republican in a generation to be elected Governor. He was Chief Speechwriter for Republican Governor Paul Cellucci and Lt. Governor Jane Swift. Ted is also the author of the hardly-read 1992 history "Time for a Change: The Return of the Republican Party in Massachusetts." So, why the current hostility to the Republican Party and what passes for conservatism today? The Republican Party was once a national governing party that looked out for the interests of the nation as a whole. Now it is the wholly-owned subsidiary of self interest. Conservatism once sought national unity to promote social peace and harmony. Now conservatism has devolved into a right wing mutation that uses divide and conquer tactics to promote the solidarity of certain social sub-groups united against the larger society while preserving the privileges of a few.


Ted Frier's Links

APRIL 9, 2012 9:15AM

Mitt Romney's Lying is the Real Voter Fraud

Rate: 3 Flag

Forget ACORN. If you really want to know who's defrauding millions of Americans out of their right to vote it's Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. And they've got lots of ways to do it.

One of the most popular is obvious enough. In those states where Republicans control both the governor's office and state legislature a systematic effort has been underway in earnest over the past two years to erect barriers to voting by those traditional Democratic Party constituencies such as the elderly, the poor and the young who might stand in the way of the Conservative Movement's drive for a monopoly of power.

But another form of voter fraud is less obvious. It involves stealing people's votes by - and let us not flinch from the word - lying to them.

In a glorious eight-minute dissection (what Fox News would surely call a shrill and unhinged screed) Rachel Maddow cites chapter and verse to prove her case that "the degree to which Mr. Romney lies, about all sorts of stuff, and doesn't care when he gets caught, may be the single most notable thing about his campaign."

Maddow Blog editor Steve Benen has been filing regular updates to what he calls his "Chronicles of Mitt's Mendacity."  And Benen is now up to Volume XII.

For example, campaigning in Wisconsin, Romney complained "The President put an ad out yesterday talking about gasoline prices and how high they are. And guess who he blamed? Me!"

Not true, says Benen.

Another Romney campaign ad argues that Obama "has managed to pile on nearly as much debt as all the previous presidents combined."

Not even close, says Benen.

In the same ad, Romney claimed "President Barack Obama named himself one of the country's four best presidents."

That's blatantly untrue, says Benen. And on and on and on it goes.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank was equally gob-smacked by the audacity of Romney's dishonesty.

Writing about Romney's most recent speech in Washington, Milbank judged as "incorrect, wrong, false and fictitious" Romney's serial falsehoods that: 1.) President Obama: was responsible for the "weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression;" that 2.) eliminating Obamacare would save "about $100 billion a year;" that 3.) Obama was "taking a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it;" and that 4.) the President had created an "unaccountable panel, with the power to prevent Medicare from providing certain treatments."

Milbank noted that Romney's speech earned no fewer than three "Pants on Fire" ratings from PolitiFact for his bald faced lies - just some of the more than 32 times PolitiFact has flagged Romney for similar fibs, falsehoods and fabrications.

Not only does Romney's lying seem gratuitous it's also epidemic on the right. In his New York Times column on Saturday, for example, Joe Nocera marvels at conservative efforts to pull the plug on the growing popularity of Chevrolet's electric hybrid Volt by flat out lying about the vehicle, which was recently named European Car of the Year and is coming off its best month yet with 2,200 cars sold.

Yet for months, the conservative propaganda machine has been mocking the Volt as "roller skates with a plug," says Nocera.

Nocera quotes the Volt's inventor, legendary auto executive Bob Lutz ("who is about as liberal as the Koch Brothers," says Nocera) as dismissing as "nuts" conservative criticisms of a car that he says makes "a significant achievement in the auto industry."

In his Forbes blog, Lutz counters what he called the "rabid, sadly misinformed right." Nocera also says Lutz "has largely given up" on conservatives after even his conservative intellectual hero, Charles Krauthammer, described the electric car as "flammable."

Although Lutz remains deeply conservative, Nocera said he's "become disenchanted with the right's willingness to spread lies to aid the cause."

With the nation now celebrating the 50th anniversary re-release of the classic movie To Kill a Mockingbird, Mitt Romney reminds me of that loathsome pair, Bob and Mayella Ewell, the father-daughter tandem who Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch described as "victims of cruel poverty and ignorance" who brought false charges of rape against the Negro tenant farmer Tom Robinson in "the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted."

Like Atticus's all-white, Southern male jury, Romney seems to assume that American voters will merely "go along" with his assumption - the "evil assumption" - that all Democrats lie, that all Democrats are immoral beings, that all Democrats are not to be trusted.

It should be noted that Atticus Finch lost his case before a jury that was more receptive to its own prejudices than to the truth. And if Mitt Romney also exhibits that "cynical confidence" his falsehoods won't be doubted, the reception he got from the Newspaper Association of America last week may explain why.      

There was Mitt Romney standing before a gathering of journalists, making a series of "incorrect and dishonest accusations," writes David Corn, and not once was Romney "hooted out of the room" by the nation's assembled press corps. Indeed, says Corn, "he faced no penalty" at all.

The nation's press, like Attitus' backward Alabama jury, has its own rigid and time-honored codes which prevent it from seeing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And among them, says Atlantic magazine's James Fallows, is the "false equivalence syndrome" - that  "objective-seeming" method of covering the news that unwittingly and inexcusably awards Republicans a license to lie because it compels the media to give equal credence to "both sides" in every dispute even when one of those sides just makes stuff up.

It has never been enough for a people to merely have the formal right to vote. That vote must also count for something when cast by an "informed" voter whose choice is an accurate reflection of the voter's genuine wants and beliefs.

While it may not be possible to plant democracy at the end of a bayonet it has always been possible to create the appearance of democracy using physical threats or force. We are all familiar, for example, with the cynical charade of right wing dictators and left wing revolutionaries whose legitimacy derives from their having been "elected" in a campaign when they were the only candidates allowed on the ballot, or chosen by voters who were manipulated and coerced.

It is also possible for partisans to manufacture an artificial legitimacy through lies and distortions of the critical information voters need to make an informed judgment on the important issues of the day - the bare minimum that's required in a democratic political system that claims to be founded on "consent of the governed."

And a party or a candidate that seeks political power by depriving voters of their rightful connection with reality is engaged in a coup d'etat every bit as real as if the overthrow had been carried out with guns.

But let's be clear. Lying is not merely a moral failing. In a democratic republic like ours whose legitimacy is rooted in popular sovereignty and consent of the governed the routine, almost promiscuous fabrication of basic facts by Republicans and Republican candidates like Mitt Romney is as much a theft of a citizen's right to vote as if that citizen was prevented from ever voting at all.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Ah, baltimore...

The end of FY 2009, the last budget under Bush, the Fed debt stood at almost 12 trillion, to point out the dishonesty or perhaps incompetence of your flawed statement.

If we assumed a steady revenue stream, instead of the crash-generated plunge in fed revenue, the debt level would be much lower under the Obama budgets. But alas, with the plunge in revenue comes increased debt. Who caused the plunge in revenue? Not Obama.

Even if we use your relevant-fact-absent regurgitation of dishonest Republican talking points as a guide, the debt would have increased by 4.5 trillion, or about a 27% increase. If we ass/u/me this was caused primarily by increased spending, we could as foolishly accuse Obama of ginning up the extra debt. However, when we honestly factor in the highly relevant and extreme drop in revenue caused by the absolutely incompetent actions during the zero-growth "Lost Decade" Bush years, we can easily see the cause of the increased debt. The cause has much more to do with lost revenue than increased spending.

You sure pop-off a lot for somebody who's too lazy to do the research needed to offer an honest assessment.

The whopper is yours. The irony makes exposing your gross miscalculation enjoyable.
amend typo to a 37% increase, or nearly half the total you arrived at by applying BS factoring.
And to carry forward your point, Paul, regarding Baltimore's assertions of Obama's profligacy, no president begins with a clean slate and is therefore duty-bound to carry forward his predecessor's programs and policies. To say that there has been a 65% increase in the debt (providing those numbers are accurate) "under the Obama administration" is misleading because it ignores the fact that policies adopted during the Bush administration now have impacts in the Obama years. The best way to account for this is to look at the major contributors of the deficit and debt and assign them to the president on whose watch they were passed. Doing it that way gives the lion's share of blame to Bush, who is responsible for the unfunded Bush tax cuts, unfunded Medicare Part D, unfunded wars as well as TARP and other bailouts whose costs naturally extended beyond his term. Charts I have seen show Obama only responsible for about $2 trillion of the debt, the largest piece the $700 billion stimulus, with Bush's total exceeding $7 trillion. Extrapolating the debt into out years needs to keep these original sources in mind.
Romney's ease of lying, and his expectation that his "followers" will line up regardless has some basis in his religious culture. Once he has formerly become the GOP nominee there will be more background about that. There is a saying in the LDS church that once the quorum has spoken (referencing the Quorum of the Twelve and Quorum of The Seventy which govern church policy and expound on matters outside the church) the thinking is done. Members line up faithfully and unquestioning once the Quorum speaks. Romney's status within the church and his mega wealth have combined to create this ultimate entitlement personality.
Of course Etch-a-Sketch can wipe the slate clean once he is nominated, so those lies won't count. They'll only live on the minds of some of the electorate, including at least on commenter here.

The sub-text of the lies is that had Romney or perhaps McCain been Pres, gas would be cheap, the budget would be balanced or nearly so, and no one would be worse off for it. As for the obsequious MSM, this has become a force of habit since 9/11.