Steve Benen over at the Maddowblog has been doing God's work over the past few months by chronicling, item by item, Mitt Romney's various lies. We're not talking about fudging the facts or engaging in political spin -- we're talking about saying stuff that flat-out isn't true and can be proven so with a couple of mouse clicks. His record, I think, is two-dozen whoppers in the span of a single week.
Well, today he takes a look at how the Romney campaign is getting away with abandoning all pretense of caring about actual facts -- and what it means for our political process from here on out.
Here's the salient quote, in response to the Romney camp's assertion that it keeps going with the thoroughly debunked claim that Obama is removing the work requirement from welfare because it's been really effective for them and, besides, it's "new information":
"The claims are 'new,' of course, because the Romney campaign made them up. Sure, it's 'new information,' in the same way it would be 'new information' if Obama said Mitt Romney sold heroin to children -- when one invents a lie, its 'newness' is self-evident. Romney pollster Neil Newhouse added, '[W]e're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.' ... It's important to realize there is no modern precedent for a presidential candidate rejecting the premise that facts matter. Mitt Romney is trying something no one has ever seen -- he's deemed the truth to be an inconvenient nuisance, which Romney will ignore, without shame, to advance his ambitions for vast power. If you don't find that frightening, you're not paying close enough attention... Romney is, in effect, issuing something of a dare -- he will ignore facts, thumb his nose at reality, and taunt truths with a childish question: What are you going to do about it?"
We're indeed in very dangerous territory when a man running for President of the United States and the people aiding him have zero compunction about lying outright if it means there's a political benefit to be reaped.
The same article quotes Greg Sargent, who makes a similar point to one I've made here many, many times:
"In this sense, the Romney campaign continues to pose a test to the news media and our political system. What happens when one campaign has decided there is literally no set of boundaries that it needs to follow when it comes to the veracity of its assertions? The Romney campaign is betting that the press simply won't be able to keep voters informed about the disputes that are central to the campaign, in the face of the sheer scope and volume of dishonesty it uncorks daily."
You may remember, I asked the same basic question but aimed it at news organizations like Fox News: What do you do when a supposedly respectable member of the news media refuses to play by the rules and simply airs whatever kind of thoroughly propagandistic nonsense it feels like? Fox has been doing that for years -- and maybe it was only natural that eventually the Republicans that the network speaks for in an official capacity got the hint and started doing the same.