Romney’s Dependency on Rightwing Cliché and Errors of Historical Fact Won’t Deliver Him (Political) Recovery

My experience has taught me that government works best when it creates the space for individuals and families to pursue success and achieve great things. Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in creating sustained prosperity and lifting people out of poverty. It is why our economy rose to rival those of the world’s leading powers — and has long since surpassed them all.

The dreamers and the entrepreneurs, not government, built this economy, and they can once again make it strong.

My course for the American economy will encourage private investment and personal freedom. Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty.

My five-point plan will deliver the economic recovery we’ve all been waiting for and the jobs millions of Americans still need. This can be more than our hope; it can be our future. And it can start this November with your vote.

Romney: I’ll deliver recovery, not dependency, Mitt Romney, USA Today op-ed, today

Of all the many oddities of Romney’s cartoonish campaign and cartoonish campaign persona, the strangest, I think, is his penchant for stating loopy conclusions based upon a single fact that does not even conceivably support the conclusion.  This tactic (if that’s what it is) has been the hallmark, the very essence, of his campaign.  

Last week I questioned whether Romney was a habitual liar or, instead, simply God-awful stupid.  In light of the events of this week—the infamous surreptitiously-filmed fundraising address about the 47% of Americans whom Romney will never be able to convince should take personal responsibility for their lives and their care and who correlate precisely with the 47% of the electorate who are Obama supporters, and his “doubling down” on those comments since release of the video—I think it’s clear that while some of Romney’s incessant wild extrapolations and conflations are part of bizarre campaign tactic, some of the most important ones are not.  They are, rather, the result of jaw-dropping stupidity—an apparent genuine inability to understand the meaning of single facts and to distinguish between entirely separate concepts. 

Not least of these, of course, is that Americans whose income is too low under the tax code for them to owe income tax necessarily don’t take personal responsibly for their lives and for their care, and that since the percentage of Americans who don’t pay income tax is about the same as the percentage of voters who, polls show, support Obama, virtually all people who don’t pay income taxes are Obama supporters, and virtually no Obama supporters pay income taxes.  Warren Buffett must have an income too low to require him to pay income taxes.

Also not least is Romney’s inability to distinguish between a plan—specifics, supported by empirical evidence—and ideological clichés that consist entirely of generic declarations and supposed results.  Placing bullet-point indicators in front of five such declarations doesn’t transform them into a plan.  If he actually has a plan—specifics, supported by empirical evidence—then he should disclose it.  Economic plans are, after all, not tax returns, although it’s no longer surprising that Romney can’t distinguish the two.

But most disconcerting is Romney’s out-of-nowhere, patently false insistence, repeated time and again, that “our economy rose to rival those of the world’s leading powers — and … long since surpassed them all” during a period of lower taxes on the wealthy than we have now—a period of a less-progressive tax code and more inequality.  In other words, during a time when we had, according to him, more economic freedom, than we do now.

It’s long past time for the Obama campaign to educate the public about 20th century American economic and political history.  And to challenge Romney’s intellectual capacity to recognize what facts he needs to know before making important assertions, proposals and decisions, and to understand what those facts indicate or don’t.

Until very recently, I had presumed that Romney was only pretending to think that ideological bromides were actual facts.  I know better now.  And the most effective ads that the Obama campaign can run will show Romney for the intellectual lightweight that he is.